August 2017

Dear ISPN Member,

The ISPN annual meeting 2017 is only two months away and so this seems to be the ideal time to update you on what has been happening in the Society and what will be happening in the build-up to our meeting.

The New ISPN Website


The new ISPN website has been launched and we want you to check it out and give us feedback on things you like or suggestions for how we can make it even better! Adrian Caceres and the team from Kenes, our PCO, need to be congratulated on a splendid job. It has some amazing new facilities which I hope that you will find interesting. Probably most significantly we have the facility to translate the website content into 10 different languages at the touch of a button! So now you can view the website in Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and of course English. This makes our content accessible to an increasing number of people globally which is of course one of our primary goals.

The Guide has undergone a transformation as well. We are again deeply indebted to Rick Abbott for his continued enthusiasm as Editor in Chief but he has also rejuvenated the editorial board and much of the content is under review. The structure and content management system has also been changed and in the coming months you will see changes in some areas and completion of content in others.

ISPN Educational Courses

Photo of the Attendees and Trainers at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa course

So far this year we have had courses in Buenos Aires Argentina, Shanghai China and Pietermaritzburg South Africa, with courses planned in Brazil in August, Malaysia in September and Minsk, Belarus to close off the year in November. We have already arranged courses for 2018 in Bangladesh, Egypt, China, Chile and we are returning to Myanmar for a second time. In addition, we will probably have a course in East Africa and Eastern Europe.

I was able to contribute to the course in South Africa which was a great pleasure for me as it was held in Pietermaritzburg, the town where my Grandfather was born and died and I was able to visit our family grave there, as well as several other points of family interest.

The meeting, which was organised by Graham Fieggen, was excellent in all respects and is a continuation of the strong ISPN educational commitment to Africa.

I am also particularly pleased that we are holding a meeting in Bangladesh next year which came about as a direct result of conversations I had with colleagues at the Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery conferences last year.

ISPN Annual Meeting 2017 Denver, Colorado

The plans for our 2017 annual meeting are now well advanced. Mike Handler and his organising committee have now finalised the programme for the Pre-Congress Epilepsy symposium and it looks really exciting. I would like to encourage all of you who have an interest in Epilepsy to attend as it has a Star Studded cast! Included are Patrick Chauvel, Chico Cardinale, Helen Cross, Jorge Gonzales-Martinez and William Gaillard, as well as contributors from the UK, USA, Argentina, Italy, Canada and Brazil. The emphasis is on invasive recording and particularly Stereo EEG, which is an area more and more centres now have experience of and so this is an ideal opportunity for the Epilepsy Surgery community to get together and compare notes.

In the meeting itself, Tony Figaji and the scientific committee have put together a really outstanding programme with sessions that should be of interest to all and with time for discussion. Of major interest to all will be the session on Global Neurosurgery for Children for which we have an invited group of individuals with un-paralleled experience from whom we should all be able to learn and hopefully become inspired to contribute more to our specialty on a Global scale.

Another exciting innovation for this meeting will be an App which you will be able to download in advance of the meeting. This app will not only be a source of information about the meeting and our venue but also contain much, much more! You will be able to contact other attendees of the meeting through the app and also we are going to create interest groups so that you can reach out to like-minded colleagues. Also, we will be setting up a Notice Board concentrating on the main theme of the meeting which is Global Neurosurgery for Children.

Finally, you will be able to provide feedback to speakers, take part in voting and submit questions to speakers live during the meeting. We will hopefully have this app available well in advance of the meeting so you will have the opportunity to see all that it has to offer and familiarise yourself with it and plan your schedule before you arrive in Denver.

The Earlybird Registration expires on August 14th so do not delay. REGISTER NOW!!

But also remember to bring one of your nursing team.

ISPN Photo Competition

Would you like to win a free registration for the ISPN annual meeting in Denver? Of course you would and it’s dead simple! Just enter our photo competition! We desperately need new material for the website and so are offering a prize of free registration to the best photo or group of photos. We would like as many people as possible to provide fresh pictures covering different aspects of our speciality and also with ethnic diversity. Please help by going to the photo competition section on the website.

The deadline has been extended to August 12th so that the result will be known prior to the Earlybird deadline on the 14th of August.

Global Neurosurgery for Children Survey

All of you should have now received an invitation to take part in this survey which aims to establish a database of knowledge about facilities for Children with Neurosurgical conditions globally. I would like to thank all of you who have contributed already and urge those of you who have not done so to complete the survey as soon as possible. We will be presenting the data at the Denver meeting but it will only have value if we get as many contributions as possible. At the time of writing this message we have had responses from around 250 in nearly 60 countries worldwide. This is clearly a great response BUT we can do better!

We will continue to work with the Global initiative for Children’s Surgery and the next meeting of this group is in India in January 2018. Also we are collaborating with colleagues at the University of Alabama in Birmingham to develop an electronic platform for collaboration between centres in different countries or continents in the areas of treatment, education, training and equipment. I sincerely hope that this work will be ongoing in the future.

This will be the main topic of my Presidential address in Denver and I hope that you will find this work as exciting as I do and agree that it potentially takes the ISPN into a new era of collaboration and Global Influence.


In summary, there is lots going on in the World of the ISPN. We have a fantastic meeting planned for you in Denver so register soon, earlybird registration finishes on August 14th. Visit our new website for all the details!!


Best wishes,


William Harkness FRCS
ISPN President 2017

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


The 44th Annual meeting of the ISPN took place from October 23-27th in Kobe, Japan and I think all who attended would wish to thank Prof Mami Yamasaki and her organising committee for a splendid meeting. The scientific programme was outstanding but it was a great shame that Prof Graham Fieggen, our Scientific Chair, was unable to attend due to the political problems in South Africa. Nonetheless, we were able to communicate with him via Skype on a number of occasions to reassure him that in his absence Tony Figaji was doing an excellent job! Running our meeting has been facilitated by our PCO, Kenes, and we must thank the Kenes team for all their hard work not only for making our meeting a success but also with helping to improve the running of our organisation.


At the Gala dinner it was my great honour to receive the ISPN Poncho, the symbol of ISPN Presidency, from my dear friend Prof Dra Graciela Zuccaro, our first female President. During her very successful Presidency Graciela has begun a number of initiatives to increase the profile of our organisation, especially in those countries where children do not have timely access to paediatric neurosurgical care. Our website, our ‘window to the world’ which is so important in projecting the ISPN message, is being refreshed and updated and we are hoping to expand our membership in World Bank defined Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). It is my intention to continue Graciela’s work and to work in liaison with Graham Fieggen, who was elected President Elect at the Kobe business meeting. The intention is that the initiatives started by Graciela should continue and be expanded to run through several presidential terms and therefore give the ISPN a sense of continuity in it’s endeavours.


One of the major roles of the ISPN is to provide teaching courses in different parts of the globe, in order to achieve our educational mission. We have just run a very successful course in Myanmar, one of the world’s poorest countries, with a population of 54 million but only 50 neurosurgeons! The enthusiasm shown by those attending was inspiring and we hope that we will be able to return in the future. Attending the meeting were a number of Surgeons who have created educational links with Myanmar and I think that we can learn from their experience and from the experience of our own members in expanding the practical help that we can provide to those working in very tough conditions.


During the business meeting of the Executive Board of the ISPN in Kobe we pledged to increase our annual expenditure on education and 6 educational courses are planned for 2016-2017. We welcome applications to run educational courses in 2018 and these should be addressed to Prof Federico Di Rocco, our Educational Chair. Some of the educational material from these courses will be uploaded onto the website so that this can supplement the material available through The Guide, our electronic resource developed by our former President, Prof Rick Abbott. It is also our intention to explore other technology to expand our educational mission.


The ISPN is a very active organisation and I encourage all members to become involved in the society’s activities. If you would like to contribute to the Educational courses, then please contact Federico. We also need help with the website and The Guide so please contact Adrian Caceres, our Communications Chair, or myself. If you have any questions relating to the ISPN, it’s role, function or mission, then please contact me.


For those readers who are not ISPN members I would strongly encourage you to join. Details of membership and its benefits are on the website but perhaps the most important thing is that you will be joining the most active and forward looking global organisation for Pediatric Neurosurgery. I look forward to welcoming you as a member and I also hope to see you at our 45thAnnual Meeting in Denver Colorado, USA from October 8-12th2017.


With very best wishes,William Harkness

William Harkness FRCS

ISPN President 2016-2017