Continuity with innovation

Greetings to my esteemed friends and colleagues.

First of all, I thank you all for trusting me and electing me as President of the ISPN. I was very proud to receive the Poncho from my dear friend Wolfgang Wagner during the 47th Annual Meeting in Birmingham and I intend to wear it with the due reverence. When I look back and behold my predecessors, I feel myself as a dwarf amidst giants. This reminds me of an old aphorism about giants and dwarves attributed to Bernard de Chartres in which the latter can see further, not because of their knowledge or acuity, but for being well supported by the shoulders of the first. In this sense I wish to honor all who preceded me and built this Society.

The mission of the ISPN is to improve the well-being, health and welfare of children requiring neurosurgical care. ISPN is an organized and consolidated Society whose activities of its various committees are quite eloquent. ISPN’s values are mainly focused on education and this is recognized by our membership. ISPN courses and other scientific and educational activities such as Visiting Fellowships and International Fellowships are aimed at improving the worldwide health of children. In a great number of low and middle-income countries (LMIC), pediatric neurosurgeons are scarce and thus, general neurosurgeons and even pediatric surgeons perform most procedures. Consequently there is a need to concentrate educational activity in the so-called Bellwether Procedures without however neglecting more complex practices. For this, our Course’s Faculty should be expanded and diversified. One has to consider that neurosurgeons of LMICs have an unique experience in dealing with some diseases and that a bulk of these cases are mostly unfamiliar to those living in more developed countries. This should be considered as a valuable material for teaching.

Education and communication should walk together and the advances in Internet have made long distance education a reality. In recent years, we have witnessed a growing importance of mobile applications that are becoming an indispensable tool in our meetings and courses, and their use should be encouraged and expanded. ISPN should also expand its existing platforms and invest in web-based seminars (Webinars) and video platforms. Therefore, a proper logistic has to be defined.

It is known that ISPN is engaged in efforts to improve pediatric neurosurgical care around the world. Our Liaison Committee is expected to build and maintain connections with international organizations such as Intersurgeon and the G4 alliance. An active lobby is needed to act on prevention and treatment of diseases such as infections, trauma and CNS malformations.

ISPN’s membership increased since 2013 and is now stabilized with a higher annual renewal rate, when compared to 2018. The suggestion is to grow our membership by attracting young neurosurgeons, including those from LMIC. To achieve this goal, a more effective adherence to the aforementioned online media could play an important strategic role.

In summary, my vision of ISPN for 2019-2020 is to add to the many things that have already been done over consecutive successful administrations. One has to look to the future without forgetting the past and do not lose, along the way, what we have built. This means continuity of the good initiatives associated with the improved use of modern tools. I look forward to meeting you all in Singapore next year, with Wan Tew Seow as the Chairperson of the 48th ISPN Annual Meeting.

With warmest regards,

José Francisco M. Salomão
ISPN President 2019-2021