WASHINGTON — In front of a crowd of hundreds of neurologists and related medical professionals, outgoing American Academy of Neurology President Timothy Pedley, MD, delivered a Presidential Plenary speech with a singular, overwhelming theme: togetherness.
The session, held during the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Washington, D.C., placed great emphasis on the importance of unification among neurologists and medical professionals to create a better future for both those practicing neurology and those receiving neurological care.
Faced with a gradual decline in both physical numbers of neurologists and interest in neurology, Pedley spoke passionately about the growing need to renew engagement among existing neurologists, attract new minds and skill sets to the specialty, and be more resourceful in order to accommodate the growing need for these practitioners as the patient population ages.
Pedley particularly emphasized the growing number of neurology subspecialty societies, and how interest in such organizations may drive further segmentation of neurology practitioners and create a loss of interest in larger, more general organizations like the AAN as opposed to greater collaboration between them.
“I believe that there is a critical need for the AAN to expand and interact more effectively with our colleagues who belong to neurological subspecialty societies,” he said. “Such partnerships might not only be cost effective but also serve the important role of reminding all of us, no matter what our subspecialties may be, that most of us are first and foremost neurologists.”
Pedley went on to introduce an initiative that will serve to create a council of neurological subspecialty societies, or CNSS, to further collaboration between subspeciality societies and the AAN on advocacy, guidelines, position papers and more.
Addressing the shortage of neurologists, especially in light of the growing neurological needs of an aging population, Pedley spoke out in support of greater investment and collaboration with advanced practice professionals (APPs), an umbrella term that includes nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, and nurses, who can help address the patient-care burden by providing neurological care in both neurology practices and hospital services.
“These APPs add valuable and important clinical dimension to both inpatient and outpatient care centers, and they are consistently rated high in both patient and family surveys,” he said.
Pedley further spoke of a drive to get more APPs involved with the AAN by creating a specific membership category for neurology APPs. The AAN education committee is also working on introducing new education tracks and materials designed specifically for the neurology APP audience.
The crowd, who audibly responded to Pedley’s call for greater utilization of APPs, appeared uplifted by the session’s resounding focus of collaboration, growth, and support of the specialty, each other, and patients.
- Presidential Plenary Session. Presidential Lecture. Presented at: American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting 2015. April 18-25, 2015; Washington, DC.