AAN Testifies at Senate Committee Hearing on Concussion in Sports

November 17, 2011


Catherine M. Rydell

AAN Leadership Update

Catherine M. Rydell, Executive Director & CEO"
November 2011


  • Jeffrey S. Kutcher, MD, founder and chair of the AAN Sports Neurology Section, testified on October 19, 2011, at a US Senate committee hearing on concussions in sports and the marketing of "anti-concussion" or "concussion-reducing" sports equipment. Legislation to strengthen regulations on helmet manufacturers introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) is expected to be marked up by the Senate Commerce Committee soon. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also mentioned the Academy during the hearing.

  • The AAN has named 30 neurologists to attend the esteemed Donald M. Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum, January 12-15, 2012, in Austin, Texas. The trainees will be joined by 10 advisors, all of whom were selected from previous forums based on their advocacy leadership experience to receive advanced mentorship training and work with the 2012 trainees. Graduates of the Forum learn how to make a difference in their local, state, and national governments, hone their communication skills, and develop an advocacy action plan to try to solve health care challenges where they live and practice.

  • BrainPAC has surpassed its fundraising goal of raising $200,000 for 2011. A new feature that allows AAN members to contribute to BrainPAC while paying their annual membership dues has initially proven successful, generating more than $8,000 from 80 donors to date. BrainPAC sponsored a reception at the AAN Fall Conference in Las Vegas. US Rep. Joe Heck, DO (R-NV) spoke to attendees. Heck, an emergency physician, was elected to Congress in 2010 with the support of BrainPAC. Heck talked and took questions about the current congressional environment and the concern about the physician payments being threatened, not only by the Deficit Committee but also the looming Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) cut of almost 30 percent facing physicians on January 1, 2012. Heck is very supportive of AAN efforts to recognize cognitive care and is now citing the promotion of primary care at the expense of cognitive care as an example of a key problem in the current health care debate. In other advocacy news, Michael J. Amery, Esq., the AAN's legislative counsel in Washington, DC, has been recognized as one of eight “effective association lobbyists” by Association TRENDS magazine.

Medical Economics

  • New accountable care organization (ACO) regulations make forming an ACO more attractive and reflect more options for specialists. In response to extensive stakeholder input—including comments from the AAN—the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made significant changes to the regulations, including the option to choose an initial no-risk path and the opportunity to retain a greater share of savings. Beneficiaries now can be assigned to an ACO through services provided by a specialist, and a quality measure is included to measure beneficiary access to specialists. Neurologists and other specialists who can demonstrate cost-effectiveness—especially with high-cost patients with chronic conditions—will likely enjoy greater bargaining power with ACOs.

  • The Practice Management courses held at the 2011 AAN Fall Conference in Las Vegas were a success, with topics focusing on coding and reimbursement, CMS incentive programs, and preparing for upcoming regulation deadlines. The courses had a strong attendance consistent with years past and lively attendee interactions with course directors.

Clinical Practice

  • The Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) Toolkit training was offered on October 14-15, 2011, to 25 program directors, program designees, and practicing neurologists. As of fall 2011, over half of neurology programs in the United States have been reached by this important training. The training will be held again in fall 2012, likely at the new AAN headquarters.

  • Professional Risk Management Services, Inc. (PRMS), manager of The Neurologists’ Program malpractice insurance, has awarded the AAN a $40,000 grant for the Patient Safety Colloquium at the 2012 Annual Meeting.
  • The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Measure Development work group, co-chaired by Robert G. Miller, MD, FAAN, and Benjamin Brooks, MD, will meet on November 11, 2011, in Chicago. The comment period for the AAN-developed quality measures for distal symmetric polyneuropathy is open until November 14, 2011. Please review and comment on the measures.

Annual Meeting

  • The 2012 Annual Meeting Registration and Advance Program will be mailed to all members in mid-November.

  • The newly redesigned online registration system for the 2012 Annual Meeting went live in early November. Register for the meeting, book your hotel, and plan your itinerary in one convenient location. The new system lets you search for your favorite programs; continuously build, view, or modify your itinerary (including personal meetings and social events); and quickly see all of the FREE programs and events included with your registration.

  • For the 2012 Annual Meeting, the AAN will partner with the following organizations on the Subspecialists in Focus programs: the American Epilepsy Society, Peripheral Nerve Society, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, The Movement Disorder Society, and the Child Neurology Society.


  • More than 2,700 abstracts were submitted for the 2012 Annual Meeting. The abstracts are being reviewed and processed.

  • The Presidential Plenary speakers for the 2012 Annual Meeting are: Presidential Lecture, Mark F. Mehler, MD, FAAN; Robert Wartenberg Lecturer, Ralph L. Sacco, MD, MS, FAHA, FAAN; George C. Cotzias Lecture, Robert B. Darnell, MD, PhD; Sidney Carter Award in Child Neurology Lecture, Rose Mary N. Boustany, MD.

  • A total of 62 applications were submitted for the 2012 Clinical Research Training Fellowships. Funding is available for 15-16 fellowships.


  • A new audio program inspired by Continuum® content is expected to launch at the 2012 Annual Meeting. With monthly issues with two hour-long episodes, the Continuum Audio program will include interviews with Continuum authors and experts in the field and offer four CME credits per issue. Content will focus on cases included in Continuum articles, as well as ethics and practice issues related to the topic and the practice management problem. Aaron E. Miller, MD, FAAN, will serve as the Continuum Audio editor, and associate editors are Ralph Jozefowicz, MD, FAAN; Steven L. Lewis, MD, FAAN; and S. Andrew Josephson, MD.

  • Michael J. Fox has agreed to an exclusive interview with Neurology Now® for its December/January issue. A public relations campaign will be launched in December with advertising and media outreach.

  • The Editorial Search Committee for Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology® is requesting that AAN members submit the names of eligible candidates for Editor-in-Chief of the Academy's premier self-study continuing medical education program. The application deadline is November 30, 2011.


  • A record number of people—505—attended the Fall Conference in Las Vegas. The conference also drew a record number of exhibitors.

  • Faculty for NeuroLearn, the AAN’s new online education offering, continue to develop their courses for anticipated launch in early 2012. Several faculty participated in a workshop held at the Fall Conference and the others will attend a workshop on November 12 to refine their courses, understand next steps, and schedule their courses for production.

  • Online registration for the RITE was implemented this year for the first time, and the registration deadline has been changed from December 31 to December 1 due to conflicts with completing the registration process during the holiday season.


  • More than 200 junior members participated in the AAN’s first Neurology Career Week October 10-14. They were able to view webinars on employment topics, interact with exhibitors in the Online Job Fair, and have their interview skills evaluated by a personal coach via Skype.

Business Development

  • Chris Becker has joined the Academy as director of business development. Becker, who will work on business development opportunities across all AAN organizations, is the former president and CEO of Marathon Multimedia and chief strategy officer at Learners Digest Inc. Top priorities for Becker will include developing ICD-10 products and services, an overall webinar strategy, and patient brochure funding models.

Public Outreach

  • The Los Angeles Times, MSN, and U.S. News and World Report were among the many media outlets covering the launch of the Academy’s newest guideline on treating essential tremor.

  • U.S. News and World Report and dozens of other media outlets picked up the story about the AAN Foundation’s newest video PSA to cure brain disease. The video was created using entries from the 2011 Neuro Film Festival.

  • The AAN is once again a supporter of the National Memory Screening Day on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, an annual initiative of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.


  • As of September 30, 2011, 1,830 grants/gifts/dues from AAN members, the public, foundations, associations and corporations have provided $3,264,072 toward a goal of $4 million to support research, education, brain health and public awareness to help cure brain disease. This goal will provide:
    • 15 practice research or clinical research training fellowships or clinician scientist awards to launch vital new research
    • Forty scholarships to the Annual Meeting for second-year neurology residents who otherwise would not be able to attend
    • Permanent endowed research funds for Neuro-Infectious Disease, Calvin Calhoun, Sr. Disparity Research in neurological education, research and patient care; Multiple Sclerosis, Susan S. Spencer, Epilepsy Research, and Mitchell Max Neuropathic Pain
    • Continuing medical education courses at the Annual Meeting
    • Minority scholars, visiting professors and mentors