The CNS Foundation Update: Supporting the Next Generation of Neurosurgical Leaders and Sustaining the Future of Practice Guidelines

Daniel K. Resnick
Michele L. Hilgart

The CNS Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization, was founded in 2012 for the purpose of supporting the creation and dissemination of neurosurgical practice guidelines and the promotion of domestic and international educational programs that enhance the quality of neurosurgical care. Now, just three years into its existence, the CNS Foundation hit its stride with three exciting new projects.

First, the CNS Foundation partnered with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) to fund the NINDS/CNS Getch Scholar K12 Award, which promotes high quality, novel, creative research, and innovative investigation for early career neurosurgeonscientists. This award provides two years of funding to help launch a dual, clinical-research career for neurosurgeons who possesses the unique clinical and research skills that identify them as the next generation of neurosurgical leaders. The NINDS/CNS Getch Scholar may use the award to launch a faculty career at his or her residency institution, or to begin a faculty clinical/research career at a new institution. The mentored training associated with this award will prepare the recipient to combine an outstanding research career with a clinical neurosurgery career and advance the understanding and treatment of neurological disorders. The award opened for applications in August 2015.

The CNS Foundation also awarded two fellowship awards for 2015- 2016 through its existing CNS Fellowship program. A CNS Foundation Education Fellowship of $10,000 was awarded to Lucy He, MD, a resident currently in her fourth year of training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, while a CNS Foundation Innovation Fellowship of $10,000 was awarded to Louis Savastano, MD, a resident currently in his third year of training at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Foundation also launched a new Guidelines Fellowship program designed to cultivate the next generation of experts in evidence-based practice guidelines development. Fellowship awardees under this new program will travel to select evidence-based medicine centers to pursue specialized training in statistical methodology and guidelines formulation in a given subspecialty area of neurosurgery. Upon completion of their training, awardees will serve on the CNS Guidelines Committee helping to develop and update practice guidelines. The CNS Foundation is currently in the process of securing funds for this new program; the Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves was the first organization to contribute, committing a $10,000 grant to support a fellow in spine guidelines development. The awards are expected to open for applications in 2016.

At the summer meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors, the Foundation awarded a grant to the Congress of Neurological Surgeons that will allow the CNS to produce guidelines more efficiently. The grant funds the implementation and deployment of technology that will significantly improve the workflow for professional guidelines development and ultimately, over time, allow the CNS to produce more guidelines within the available resources. This grant was funded through individual donations to Guidelines Development and Foundation general funds.

The CNS Foundation continues to exhibit strong financial performance, collecting $16,440 in individual donations, $20,000 in corporate grants, and $13,100 from fundraising events in 2015. We are excited about the progress that has been made this past year toward improving the quality of neurosurgical care worldwide and preserving access to quality care here in the United States. We are confident that Dr. Nate Selden and the Foundation Board of Directors will successfully build on this momentum in 2016.