Dear Colleagues,

I was thrilled to receive the presidential Poncho from my long-time friend and Past-President, Dr. Paul Steinbok at the Gala Party of the 39th annual meeting in Goa, India on October 19, 2011.

This Poncho was first given to Professor Anthony Raimondi, under whom I studied in Chicago, by Professor Raul Carrea. I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Carrea in 1973 in Kobe, Japan when Professor Matsumoto hosted a preparatory meeting for the 1st ISPN which was held in Tokyo. Knowing the colorful history of the ISPN and the significance of the Poncho, I am honored and humbled to serve as your 40th  President.

This year is quite symbolic as the ISPN is celebrating its 40th annual meeting.  The ISPN was founded in 1972 in Chicago and as stated earlier, the first meeting was held in Tokyo one year later. At that time, I was a naïve junior resident at Kobe University Hospital under Professor Satoshi Matsumoto who was the first meeting Chairman, therefore I had the privilege of attending and serving as support staff for the meeting held October 12-13, 1973. Since that time, pediatric neurosurgery has gained its identity as a distinct subspecialty. We owe much to our predecessors for their outstanding leadership which advanced our specialty to the current level it is today. It is now our turn to continue the legacy and bring pediatric neurosurgery to the next level.

Dr. Chandrashekhar Deopujari and his team organized an absolutely terrific meeting in Goa this past October. The meeting was well attended by 475 delegates from 45 countries. Pre- and post-congress courses on Epilepsy and Pediatric Neurooncology, respectively, and the Nursing Symposium were also very successful. We truly enjoyed the well-organized conferences and Indian hospitality provided by Dr. Deopujari and his staff.  The scientific program directed by Dr. John Kestle, Chair of Scientific Committee covered entire spectrum of pediatric neurosurgery in its highest standard.

The Mission of the ISPN is to improve the health and welfare of children requiring neurosurgical care throughout the world by providing scientific research and close international cooperation, irrespective of class, color, creed or economic condition. To that end, ISPN has accomplished many things during this past 39th year.

Our improved website has afforded us better communication among ourselves as well as the general public. We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. William Harkness, who chaired the Communication Committee these past few years, and made untiring efforts to update the website. Through the ISPN website, we now have an Online Guide to Pediatric Neurosurgery. This fantastic, time consuming project, was spearheaded by Dr. Rick Abbott, and unveiled shortly before the Goa meeting.

ISPN Scholarships support the attendance of neurosurgeons from underprivileged counties at the annual meeting.  Continuing in this light, the Traveling Fellowship in International Pediatric Neurosurgery, was approved this year in order for neurosurgeons in underdeveloped counties to be exposed to advanced clinical training. ISPN also supported 5 teaching courses located in Hong Kong (China), Hyderbad ( India), Moscow (Russia), Al-Khobar (Saudi Arabia) and Shanghai (China) through the great effort of the Education Committee, Co-Chaired by Drs. Gianpiero Tamburrini and Chandrashekhar Deopujari.  Lastly, thanks to the diligence of Il-Woo Lee, the former Membership Committee Chairman,  34 new active members joined our society.

In order to attain our goals and mission of the ISPN for the coming year, I am fortunate to have a very competent executive board and am looking forward to working with them. Our executive board  has a policy of transparency and is readily accessible. Any comments or recommendations are welcome and encouraged by myself, the officers and/or committee chairs. I strongely encourage you to become actively involved so please do not hesitate to contact us.

We are heading to Sydney, Australia for the 40th Annual meeting taking place September 9-13, 2012. Dr. Charles Teo, the Annual Meeting Chairman and his team are very delighted to host the meeting in this exciting vibrant city. They are working relentlessly to make the meeting exceptionally successful. The pre-meeting symposium focusing on the Brainstem Lesions will be held in Palm Cove, Queensland. The terrific ISPN scientific program is being coordinated in conjunction with Dr. Teo and Dr. John Kestle. Also, several fabulous social events have been planned and organized for your enjoyment. Please join us to meet new friends and renew old friendships, while learning together during this fantastic meeting “Downunder”.

Yours Sincerely

Tad Tomita

ISPN President 2011-2012