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  • Give the Gift of your Time: Volunteering with the CNS

    Authors: Ganesh Rao, MD
    Martin Stippler, MD

    The Congress of Neurological Surgeons was founded on principles of community, collaboration and volunteerism. Sixty-eight years later, volunteers continue to be the lifeblood of this organization with hundreds of neurosurgeon volunteers dedicating their time each year to CNS courses, educational products and standing committees. These individuals develop educational content, teach live and online courses, review journal articles, develop practice guidelines, write and vet SANS questions, build cases for Nexus, and impact the CNS in so many other ways. Their passion and enthusiasm ensures that the CNS remains vibrant, innovative and relevant across all neurosurgical practice settings.

    In return for their generous contributions, volunteers gain valuable opportunities to connect with colleagues and mentors, hone their leadership skills, and contribute to projects that align with their passions. If you have not yet volunteered with the CNS, we encourage you to consider whether any of these opportunities align with your talents and interests.

    CNS Standing Committees –

    Though many standing committees require assignment by the CNS President, some of our most valuable committees welcome CNS Member volunteers.

    Education Division

    Volunteers on the CNS Education Division plan, build and review educational content, ranging from webinars and online courses to Neurosurgery Watch and the Case of the Month. Two special committees also fall under the umbrella of the Education Division:

    • SANS — CNS’ Self Assessment in Neurosurgery (SANS) exam has evolved from a broad general exam to a modular series of subspecialty exams, offering 70 hours of CME. With 25% of questions being refreshed annually, volunteer members of the SANS Committee dedicate hours to writing and vetting exam questions and supporting materials.
    • Nexus — Nexus, CNS’ online case-based repository of neurosurgical operative techniques and approaches, features more than 300 cases across subspecialties. Each case efficiently highlights the approach and alternatives, walks through the procedure step by step, and covers the outcomes, pearls and pitfalls. More than 220 volunteer neurosurgeons have submitted cases to Nexus, all of which are vetted by our 16-member Editorial Board.
    CNS Annual Meeting, Scientific Program Committee

    Each year, the CNS Annual Meeting offers more than 45 hours of CME content, including clinical presentations in the General Scientific Sessions, morning and afternoon breakout sessions, and ticketed courses like Subspecialty Symposia, Luncheon Seminars and Dinner Seminars. The content is planned by the Scientific Program Committee, featuring surgeons from each subspecialty area, and taught by more than 500 volunteer neurosurgeon faculty.

    Congress Quarterly Editorial Board

    The volunteer editorial board for Congress Quarterly is responsible for planning and gathering articles for four issues per year. Editorial board members also conduct interviews, draft articles and write up cases for our Images in Neurosurgery feature.

    Neurosurgery and Operative Neurosurgery Editorial Review Board

    Volunteer members of the journals’ editorial review boards are selected by Editor-in-Chief, Nelson Oyesiku, and serve a three year term. Although there are not any positions currently open on either editorial review board, those interested in participating in the future are encouraged to reach out to the CNS Editorial office for details. Members may also register as an ad hoc reviewer and will be assigned articles to review.

    Opportunities for Residents –

    CNS Resident Fellows

    The CNS recognizes that the future of neurosurgery depends on the development of neurosurgical leaders. The CNS Resident Fellows program offers neurosurgeons-in-training an extensive array of volunteer opportunities. Residents serving as CNS Resident Fellows engage fully in the CNS leadership structure, are exposed to committee processes, and gain a deeper understanding of all roles in the organization. Residents serve for a two-year term and are assigned to a CNS Standing Committee. Applications for the 2020 cohort are due by September 2, 2019.

    Sergeant at Arms

    One of our longest standing volunteer programs, the Sergeant at Arms program offers a great first foray into volunteering at the CNS Annual Meeting. Sergeants at Arms are each assigned to a Subspecialty Symposium or Luncheon Seminar, where they help scan attendee badges and welcome attendees to the course. These volunteers also receive a complimentary ticket to the course. Residents can express their interest in the Sergeant at Arms program during Annual Meeting registration.

    To learn more about volunteering with the CNS or to express your interest in participating on CNS Standing Committees in 2020, contact the CNS at

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