The American Association of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (ASSFN) serves as an affiliate joint section of the AANS and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) and remains deeply involved in a variety of educational, organizational and advocacy activities on behalf of North American functional neurosurgeons and our patients. It gives me enormous pride and pleasure to be the current president of the ASSFN.
The ASSFN recently held a very successful Biennial meeting in Chicago, in June. The 2016 ASSFN meeting showcased the progress and current state of stereotactic and functional neurosurgery with a stellar list of invited talks and concurrent sessions. Konstantin Slavin, MD, FAANS, was the meeting chair, and Joshua Rosenow, MD, FAANS, served as the local host. The topics covered were wide-ranging, including the most current approaches to the treatment of movement disorders, epilepsy, pain and neuropsychiatric disease. At the meeting, Ron Alterman, MD, FAANS, was elected secretary treasurer, Robert Gross, MD, PhD, FAANS, was elected vice president, and I assumed the role of president, following our now past president Aviva Abosch, MD, PhD, FAANS.
Members of the ASSFN/Stereotactic & Functional Section have taken great advantage of the recent BRAIN Initiative from the Federal Government. The Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA) has been a very generous supporter. One such initiative is the SUBNETS program to develop a closed-loop, next generation neuromodulation device for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and substance abuse. Another is the RAM project to develop a neuromodulation device for enhancing memory. Members of the section are deeply involved in these projects and gave presentations at the recent ASSFN meeting on progress toward what are likely to be the next generation of neuromodulatory treatments for many new indications.
There are currently 375 members of the ASSFN, including 36 residents and fellows. This number is the highest it has been in years and reflects growing interest in our burgeoning multidisciplinary field. Society membership is now open and free to medical students. The Section is financially healthy and investigating ways to support our priorities in training, research and advocacy. One such example is the Roy Bakay Fund, which supports trainee research in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery and is run through the Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF). We continue to work towards expanding our international footprint, and our section leadership was broadly represented on the program of the World Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery (WSSFN) Meeting in Mumbai, India, in September 2015. In return, we encourage and actively solicit participation in our Section sessions from the leadership and members of our international partner societies.
As part of ongoing efforts to promote the training and education of residents, fellows and neurosurgeons in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery, the ASSFN held its 3rd Annual Hands-on Training Course in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, which moved from Atlanta to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and was sponsored jointly by the ASSFN, NREF and AANS. Industry sponsorship was generous, and we were able to offer the course free to residents. Registration was capped at 31 people, with a waiting list generated for the next course scheduled for November 2016.
Finally, ASSFN leadership continues to look for ways to broaden and deepen the engagement between our society and our current key industry partners with respect to our shared priorities of (1) patient care and access, (2) advancing the field through research, (3) training the next generation of practitioners and (4) the formation of joint task forces to tackle the obstacles associated with each of these priorities. A nascent registry effort in our subspecialty, sponsored by industry, is one such example.
Emad Eskandar, MD, MBA, FAANS