In 1971, Jacques Rougerie held a small meeting in Paris just prior to the second meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ESPN) meeting that was attended by officers of the ESPN and other interested parties including Anthony Raimondi. A number of North American neurosurgeons had submitted papers to be read and had applied for membership. A debate ensued on whether or not to convert the ESPN to an international society and it was decided not only to maintain the ESPN but to also explore founding an international society.
The energy for this stemmed from a shared belief that there was much to be learned about the craft of caring for children with neurosurgical illnesses and that by meeting to share gained knowledge a more rapid evolution of our specialty would occur.
In 1972, Anthony Raimondi hosted a reunion in Chicago attended by eleven neurosurgeons. These were the founding members that created the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN):
- Raul Carrea (Argentina)
- Maurice Choux (France)
- Steen Flood (Norway)
- Bruce Hendrick (Canada)
- Wolfgang Koos (Austria)
- Satoshi Matsumoto (Japan)
- Jean Pecker (France)
- Anthony J. Raimondi (USA)
- Jacques Rougerie (France)
- John Shaw (UK)
- Kenneth Till (UK)
Following the foundation, Jacques Rougerie was appointed President Pro Tem, Anthony J Raimondi Secretary pro Tem and Joseph Ransohoff Treasurer Pro Tem. Raul Carrea was appointed By-Laws Chair, Maurice Choux Membership Chair, Anthony J Raimondi Education and Publication Chair, Raul Carrea liaison to the World Federation of Neurological Surgeons and Satoshi Matsumoto as the Program Chair.
It was decided that the Society’s first meeting should be held the following year in Tokyo with Satoshi Matsumoto being its host.
Finally, it was agreed upon that the name of the society should be the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery.
ISPN Annual Meeting
At the meeting in Tokyo in 1973, Jacques Rougerie was elected President of the Society.
This meeting established the tradition of the meeting being held at interesting venues throughout the world being loyally attended by members from the world’s five continents. There was also an unstated guideline that the meeting could not be held in the same location twice. Over the ensuing years the meetings were characterized by stimulating debate over papers delivered by members and guests on the latest topics of interest to pediatric neurosurgeons. Each meeting is highlighted by a gala dinner where the office of the presidency is passed onto the president-elect.
In 1979 Anthony Raimondi added the tradition of the passing of the Poncho, the Society’s symbol for its presidency.
The second meeting of the Society was held in London and it was at that meeting that the Society’s secretary and Chairman of the Education and Publication Committee, Anthony Raimondi, announced the creation of Child’s Brain, the official journal for the ISPN. In 1985 the Society chose the name Child’s Nervous System as its new official journal after irreconcilable differences arose between the ISPN and the publisher of Child’s Brain. The ISPN has proudly maintained editorial control over its journals and have utilized them to advance the specialty of pediatric neurosurgery for over three decades.
The ISPN Poncho
The Poncho has been a symbol of the presidency of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN) since Anthony Raimondi presented it to the Society in 1979.
At the time Dr Raimondi had embroidered the names of those who had served as president of the Society to that time and subsequently requested “the poncho thereafter be passed from one president to the next, annually, to impart solemnity and add depth to the office”.
During the presentation Dr Raimondi described the history of the poncho in his possession. In 1973 at a neuroradiology symposium held in Chicago Drs. Carrea and Raimondi debated the merits of Dr Raimondi’s Columbian ruana (or poncho) verse the Argentinean poncho of Dr Carrea’s home country. Dr Carrea presented a poncho to Dr Raimondi at their next meeting a year later to underscore his side of the debate. Several years later the camaraderie between Drs Raimondi and Carrea deepened when President Raimondi was unable to attend the 1978 meeting in Jerusalem because of a family tragedy. Dr Carrea, the then President-Elect filled in for Dr Raimondi. Dr Raimondi was forced to return the favor the following year at the ISPN’s meeting in Chicago, filing in as president because of Dr Carrea’s untimely death. At that meeting Dr Raimondi presented the poncho to the society in remembrance of Dr Carrea asking that it become the symbol of the Society’s Presidency in honor of Dr Carrea.
Every president since has received the poncho from the retiring president at a gala dinner to celebrate the passing of the office. The retiring president’s duty has been to embroider the name of the incoming president on the poncho. As the years have gone by the poncho has filled with names. In 2002 then President Shizou Oi presented the Society with a second poncho so that the tradition could continue.