Among the new offerings at next spring's AAN Annual Meeting — being held April 10–17 in Toronto — are four new innovative programming types from the AAN Education Committee. Interspersed among the more than 180 CME events in 20 general and specialty topics throughout the meeting's eight-day agenda, these new programs include the Morning Report, Neuro Flash, Neurology Skills Pavilion, and Specialists in Focus: Child Neurology.
In an interview with Neurology Today, AAN Education Committee Chair Cynthia L. Comella, MD, professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, offered a preview of new offerings and CME at this year's meeting.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE TO THE CALL FOR PROGRAM PROPOSALS THIS YEAR?
The Education Committee was delighted to receive many applications for educational programs for the Toronto meeting. Because we receive more proposals that we have time or space for, we had to select among the most innovative and interesting proposals — and this was a difficult task. We relied on the priorities set by the AAN, its sections and historical data for selecting the programs for this year's meeting, and have developed a program that we strongly feel will meet the needs of the neurologist in training, fellows, general neurologists, and neurology subspecialists.
TELL US ABOUT THE PROCESS FOR SELECTING COURSES.
The process begins with proposals from the AAN membership as well as the Academy committees, subcommittees, and sections. The Topic Work Groups, consisting of members of the section, topic experts, general neurologists, and a representative from the Education Committee and/or the Annual Meeting Subcommittee, meet and prioritize the suggested programs based on the needs of the meeting attendees and the entire AAN membership. This final list of recommended programs is presented to the Education Committee at its meeting in June. These recommendations are reviewed by the Committee prior to selection of the final educational program. The time constraints preclude inclusion of every program, but the Education Committee does its best to address the educational needs of the AAN membership, and will often reconsider programs not initially selected for presentation at future meetings.
HAS THE COMMITTEE IDENTIFIED NEW PRIORITIES FOR CME THIS YEAR?
The Committee will be participating in a strategic planning exercise in January to identify specific goals for education. We'll be discussing the programs for the AAN annual meeting and regional conference, as well as activities related to Maintenance of Certification, including the performance in practice requirements. The strategy and planning meeting will not be a public meeting, but will include representatives from all the leadership positions that are relevant to education. The results of the strategy and planning meeting will be summarized as a working document for the Education Committee.
TELL US ABOUT THE MORNING REPORT AND NEURO FLASH PROGRAMS.
The Morning Report program is an innovative program that will simulate morning rounds: the faculty present specific cases and ask the audience to provide input regarding diagnosis, work-up, and treatment. We think this is a powerful method to reinforce current and acquired knowledge. Neuro Flash is also an interactive program, featuring quick updates on clinical topics in the form of three half-hour, case-by-case talks, and a question-and-answer session.
WHAT WILL BE OFFERED AT THE NEUROLOGY SKILLS PAVILION?
The Neurology Skills Pavilion is tailored for all neurologists, young and old, who would like to gain additional skills or improve current skills in a particular procedure or therapeutic area. The pavilion will have four to five individual workstations, each demonstrating a particular skill or facet of an examination. For nearly four hours the attendees can rotate through these workstations in small groups, participate in demonstrations, and speak directly with the expert faculty stationed at each workstation. For example, there may be a workstation dealing with specific types of eye movements in the neuro-ophthalmology pavilion.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPECIALISTS IN FOCUS: CHILD NEUROLOGY PROGRAM.
The Education Committee worked collaboratively with the Science Committee to develop a “meeting within a meeting” that would address the needs of the child neurologist. Although this program will hold appeal for the general neurologist as well, the goal is to provide the latest updates and scientific progress in a subspecialty area in a coherent, intensive two-day program.
The child neurologist can expect to learn the latest developments in an efficient and integrated way. The program includes Advanced Topics in Pediatric Neurology I: Neurodegenerative Diseases, a half-day program, followed by an Integrated Neuroscience Program with a child neurology focus later that afternoon. That is followed the next day by Advanced Topics in Pediatric Neurology II: Neuro-oncology, another half-day program. Specialists in Focus: Child Neurology is offered in addition to the regular child neurology programming geared toward the general neurologist.
In future years, we will focus on additional specialty areas where there is a need to provide this type of integrated program.
ARE THERE ANY UPDATES BEING OFFERED FOR THE BASIC SCIENCE EDUCATION PROGRAM CURRICULUM FOR RESIDENTS THIS YEAR?
The Education Committee continues to build on the excellent work accomplished during the leadership of Ralph Jozefowicz, MD, who established the basic science curriculum. The curriculum, intended to help neurology residents learn the basic sciences on which clinical neurology is founded, may also be an additional resource to help residents as they prepare for the AAN Residency In-service Training Examination. The basic science curriculum courses will be taught in two half-day programs and are open to all annual meeting attendees. The focus for this year is on neuropathology — the first program is an overview of neuropathology and the second is related to its clinical applications.
Our plan going forward is to partner the basic sciences program already established for neurology residents with a clinical correlations course that will highlight the applications of the basic science. In this way, the attendees will have the opportunity to understand the clinical and translational applications of the basic sciences, bringing to life the concepts presented.