CNS Membership: A Community of Neurosurgeons

Michael Y. Wang, MD, FACS

As the CNS surpasses a historic membership roster of 9,000 doctors under the leadership of 2015 President Nate Selden, I would like to take a moment to reflect on our organization. I have had the wonderful opportunity over the past three years to meet and speak with a large number of neurosurgeons about the values of CNS membership. While the benefits of membership are clear and obvious to the vast majority of neurosurgeons, I have also been challenged to delineate how CNS membership benefits each and every neurosurgeon. This has not only been an educational process for me, but also has given the CNS the opportunity to respond to the needs and concerns of our membership. While the CNS responds organically to our changing healthcare environment, the benefits of membership can be artificially divided into several categories, including: 1) Education, 2) Advocacy, 3) Community, and 4) Outreach.

First, the CNS serves as the major innovator in neurosurgical lifelong education. Whether through the engagement of our in-training colleagues, SANS, MOC, webinars, or our national and satellite meetings, a central charge of the organization has been to ensure that neurosurgeons continue to be informed about the most relevant and contemporary information they need to serve their patients.

Second, the CNS continues to defend neurosurgeons through advocacy. I believe that nearly all practicing neurosurgeons face almost daily assaults in the arenas of patient access to care, reimbursement, and fear of litigation. Through the Washington Committee, the Rapid Response Team, and the Public Relations Committee, the CNS is there to defend you and your patients. However, these activities require resources and funding, and a large share of your membership dues serves this noble purpose.

Third, the CNS is a community of neurosurgeons. We practice a unique and evolving art. As such, having a community of likeminded individuals is psychologically and developmentally critical. Very few people understand what we do, and sharing our experiences, whether through our online community or in person at our communal gatherings, is both cathartic and necessary.

Finally, the CNS serves as a venue for outreach. Whether it is to potential trainees through our programs for medical students, to mid-level providers, to related medical subspecialties through our sections, or to our international colleagues, the CNS serves to connect us all so we can best advance the field of neurosurgery.

Let me conclude by pointing out the changing nature of our practice environment. It is anticipated that in the coming years we will see great transformations to our practice environment. How will we prepare when we don’t even know what is coming? In these coming years, the CNS will face great challenges in order to serve and meet the needs of its membership.

Resident Membership
Residents account for 20% (1,796) of total CNS membership, with 1,587 North American residents and fellows, and 210 International Vista resident members. On completion of residency, North American neurosurgeons are promoted into the Transitional Membership category, before converting to full Active Members. There are currently 280 Transitional Members. The annual trends in North American resident and fellow membership are provided in Figure 2, with the notable inflection point corresponding to the granting of complimentary ACGME resident membership in 2011.

Another Successful Collaboration: 2015 EANS/CNS Educational Initiative Joint resident educational programs broaden the training experience of US residents and promote international collaboration in neurosurgery.

January - Uppsala, Sweden – Vascular Course
Christopher M. Holland, Emory University
William Stetler, Jr., University of Michigan
Jesse J. Savage, University of Virginia
Luis E. Kolb, Yale University School of Medicine

August - Lisbon, Portugal -- Functional Course
Kalil G. Abdullah, University of Pennsylvania
Alexander Ksendzovsky, National Institutes of Health
Kai J. Miller, Stanford University
Hilarie C. Tomasiewicz, New York Presbyterian Hosp./Weill Cornell

The CNS Welcomes DO Neurosurgeons
In a historic move forward for the field of neurosurgery, the CNS Executive Committee approved DO neurosurgeons for Active Membership in a unanimous vote in January 2015.

This initiative is the result of collaboration between the CNS and ACOS, and offers a unique opportunity to AOBS/AOA certified neurosurgeons.

Thank you, Military Neurosurgeons!
This year the CNS was honored to announce new benefits for its Active Duty Military member neurosurgeons, including complimentary annual CNS member dues. The CNS also offered complimentary registration for the CNS Annual Meeting, complimentary access to five live webinars, and a SANS Neurotrauma module (with use of discount code).

Additionally, the CNS minimum CME credit hour requirement and Annual Meeting attendance requirement is waived for deployed military members during term of deployment.

To learn more about CNS Active member benefits, visit, email or call 847-240-2500.

To learn more about CNS Active Duty Military member benefits or to register, contact us at or 847-240-2500.