Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It is a great honor and privilege for me to take over the Presidency of ISIN.
But, more than that, I feel the responsibility to carry on the outstanding job of our Past-President Dr. Jay Shils. The privileged perspective of the ISIN’s President on the field of Intraoperative Neurophysiology must translate in a special commitment and dedication to the Society. This is the spirit that has inspired our past Presidents and this is the spirit with which I would like to continue my service to ISIN.
ISIN is nowadays the leading international society in the field of intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring (IONM). The Society has grown significantly over the past two years, and not simply in the number of its members.
Let me just briefly mentioned two major achievements. Between 2011 and 2013 we have completed the first Cycle of the Educational Courses, a very successful event, which has seen the participation of trainees from all over the world. Since 2012, Clinical Neurophysiology is the Official Journal of our Society and very recently Dr. David MacDonald, one of the ISIN Past-President, has been appointed Associate Editor of the Journal. These are certainly goals we should all be proud of, but there is much more that needs to be done.
It is my strong feeling that the Educational Courses are needed but the three-year Cycle format is not enough to meet the high demand for education and training in the field of Intraoperative Neurophysiology. Colleagues from some areas of the world do not have chances to attend educational courses held abroad mainly for the lack of financial support, and the travelling fellowships that ISIN will continue to offer will never be enough. So, additional educational courses should be planned in these geographical areas to meet the local demand and translate into facts the ISIN motto “No one should be left behind”.
Proper training cannot rely on teaching courses only. Hands-on experience in the operating room is mandatory to acquire the expertise needed in order to provide the best care to our patients. One of our goals is therefore to create opportunities for people willing to build up a career in the field of IONM. Funded fellowship and a network of “accredited” training centers is one way to go and we are willing to explore in deep this pathway to make progress in our field.
One of the most critical aspects in the future of Intraoperative Neurophysiology relates to the definition of credentials. “Who should do what” is a key question in our field as it has to do with training, professionalism, job opportunities, medico-legal aspects and, above all, the quality of IONM. To establish credentials at an international level is particularly demanding but, at the same time, a challenge that ISIN cannot drop.
The Scientific Committee, currently chaired by dr. Karl Kothbauer, will take the responsibility to shape the scientific program of the 5th ISIN Congress, held in Rio de Janeiro in 2015. Publishing high quality papers in the field of IONM and actively participating to the Biannual Meeting are two ways to contribute to the development of neuromonitoring. ISIN will continue to foster an attitude towards technological innovation, original research, rigorous scientific methodology, open mindedness, and a translational approach to neurophysiology. But IONM also means controversy : From evidence based medicine to cost-effectiveness of IONM, from the advent of automated IONM system to the issue of remote monitoring the debate will continue and ISIN should play a leading role in this discussion.
Finally, it is my auspice that in the next couple of years ISIN will continue to implement the dialogue and collaboration with other scientific societies such as the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology (IFCN), the American Society of Neurophysiological Monitoring (ASNM), the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (ACNS) just to mention a few. As a Neurosurgeon, let me share with you the hope for a closer relationship with neurosurgical societies as well.
Speaking on behalf of the entire ISIN Board, I think that the most rewarding experience for all of us has been the excitement and enthusiasm circulating around the ISIN in these past years. We will do our best to keep these up in the years to come and would like to thank all of you for your support, and encourage your active participation in the Society’s life.
My warmest wishes to you and your family for a beautiful and prosperous 2014.
Francesco Sala, MD