Landing on our Feet

“For in order that a man may do well, whether in the works of the active life, or in those of the contemplative life, he needs the fellowship of friends.”

Thomas Aquinus

Welcome, my friends and esteemed colleagues.

As the Covid pandemic seems to wane and we begin to emerge from isolation, we not only mourn those who are no longer with us, but we look forward to returning to our new normal, somewhat wiser and stronger.  In so doing, we must give both respect and thanks to those who have worked so hard to deliver us from these difficult times and not only have kept our cherished Society alive, but have continued to advance our cause.  Lao Tzu once said “a leader is best when people barely know he exists”… In the past two years, under the leadership of President Salomão, not only has the ISPN increased its membership by twenty percent, we have added innovative educational offerings through the “Clash of the Titans” series, we have conducted educational courses in developing countries around the world at a time when travel was severely restricted, and we have conducted two very successful virtual meetings in which we recorded four times the attendance of what we have had in the past.  Due to our strong partnership with Kenes, the Society was able to successfully re-negotiate contracts and commitments, allowing our coffers to replenish and grow at a time when other societies have withered on the vine.

Through the pandemic our world has become a smaller place and we have grown closer, sharing in our experiences and expertise around the globe as first one continent and then another was stricken with challenges unlike any we have faced before.  Sharing both science and technology allowed both the rapid development of novel vaccines and therapies and the global deployment of effective treatments in record time.  Likewise, internet-based, low-cost educational forums have allowed physicians and caregivers alike to disseminate emerging information both rapidly and effectively.

True to our mission, the ISPN has continued its work to improve the well-being, health and welfare of children requiring neurosurgical care despite the pandemic.  The Guide, our online e-book, has catalogued over 6,000 viewings per month and we thank Rick Abbott and his committee for keeping The Guide both current and available to anyone in the world at no cost.  Likewise, Child’s Nervous System, under Ezio Di Rocco’s excellent editorship, has continued to grow and gain in impact factor, disseminating the latest in peer-reviewed studies to our membership.  In the near future, the membership will also receive an online survey in which I hope to gather information from each of you about how the past two years has affected your practice, your patients and your family.  Please be sure to return your completed survey, the results of which we will share when we see you in Singapore.

Through these dark times, we came to realize the importance of fellowship, fraternity and personal exchange.  Not only have we missed the in-person anecdotes gained from in-person scientific meetings, but we have learned how much we have previously benefitted from visiting over coffee between scientific sessions, sharing experiences over cocktails or breaking bread together in the evenings.  We have missed the value of building personal relationships developed over time by spending days together and furthering our life-long friendships.

In donning our sacred Poncho, I have felt a tremendous sense of the importance the history of this Society conveys.   In reading the names of our forefathers inscribed on the Poncho, those who conceived of this great Society and worked together to lead us to where we are now, approaching a half-century later, it gives me tremendous pride to hold your confidence in my leadership ability and for you to have positioned me amongst those upon whose shoulders I stand.

In this coming year, we members of the ISPN have much to look forward to.  Thanks to Wolfgang Wagner and his Nominating Committee, our Executive Board is populated with the best and brightest from around the world who are committed, at great personal sacrifice, to another year of hard labor on behalf of this Society.

In closing, I consider myself fortunate to step into President Salomão’s shoes at a time when a new sun is rising.  I’m eternally grateful to Francisco and his Executive Board for carrying us through these last two years with such grace.  I look forward to seeing each of you in person in Singapore this next year.  Wan Tew Seow has now had three years in which to prepare his city for your visit, with plans to make this 48th convening of the ISPN not only exciting, but historical.

Please plan to bring a friend, a colleague, a partner or a new young pediatric neurosurgeon with you so that we can share not only in our ideas, but in our collegiality.

My warmest regards,

Rick Boop
ISPN President 2021-2022