Author: Ganesh Rao
Philanthropy is a critical part of the mission of any non-profit professional organization. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) has a strong commitment to philanthropy and our philanthropic endeavors reside within the CNS Foundation (CNSF). The CNSF exists alongside the CNS as its own non-profit organization. As such, the CNSF has its own board and bylaws. This allows the CNSF to maintain a separate mission with a relatively narrow scope, making it much more focused on achieving its goals. These goals include the NINDS/CNSF Getch K12 Scholar Award, the CNS Guidelines effort, and its own philanthropic efforts. The NINDS/CNSF Getch K12 Scholar Award was created to honor the memory of the late Christopher Getch, MD, President of the CNS in 2010-11. “The “Getch”, as we call it, is actually a research grant funded in-part by CNS through a donation to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). This $200,000 two year grant is awarded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to a burgeoning surgeon/scientist who has recently completed training. We recently expanded our funding of the K12 award every year, which represents an additional per year commitment to help more promising surgeons/scientists to achieve their scientific goals. This award is supported by the generous donations from our members. The NINDS has recognized the K12 program as an important step toward independent funding for the surgeon/scientists in our field as many recent awardees have gone on to secure much larger independent research grants. Be sure to read Steve Korn’s article on page 6 to learn more about the impact. We are proud that one of these grants is associated with the CNS.
The CNS Guidelines effort has been a major contribution to the neurosurgical literature. CNS practice guidelines are available for nearly every subspecialty of neurosurgery. Guidelines not only provide a synthesis of the best available medical literature, but also help our Rapid Response Team (part of the Washington Committee) respond to dropped coverage from payors and other threats to coverage for procedures that are supported by the evidence. The CNSF supports guidelines including the complex infrastructure needed to create them. In other words, contributions to the CNSF directly support our ability to get reimbursed for the procedures we are performing.
Finally, the CNSF also supports other philanthropic efforts around the world. We are entering into agreements with international partners to allow neurosurgeons, particularly trainees, to come to the US to observe important neurosurgical procedures. These relationships allow us to expand the reach of the CNS worldwide.
I encourage you to make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to support these efforts. Although the scope of the foundation is focused, its importance to neurosurgery cannot be overstated. Your support of the CNSF is crucial to creating the next generation of neurosurgical leaders, developing guidelines to protect our practices, and fostering international collaboration.