AAN Education Programs: Meeting the Challenges of a Changing Environment

January 3, 2012


Dr. Bruce Sigsbee

Education always has been a core effort by the AAN. The challenge has been and continues to be providing programs that meet the diverse needs of the membership, from those new to neurology to those who are world-recognized experts in their area of interest, from those in academics to those in a solo private practice, etc. Dr. Cynthia Comella, the chair of the Education Committee, consented to summarize the ongoing efforts and initiatives of the committee as it attempts to meet these varied desires.

Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN
President, AAN

“For also knowledge itself is power.” ¬†Francis Bacon, Mediations Sacrae (1597)

The AAN Education Committee is devoted to providing basic and clinical neuroscience education to AAN members who are constituted largely of neurologists, as well as other physicians, physicians in training, and allied health professionals. Our vision is to offer educational programs that empower neurologists to meet their educational needs at all stages of their career in a variety of innovative formats. With the changing environment of regulatory demands, subspecialty development, and the rapid growth of medical knowledge, the challenge for educational programming is formidable.

The Education Committee has focused on being proactive in developing programs that can assist AAN members in addressing this dynamic and sometimes unpredictable environment without losing sight of the basics of neurologic education. The members of this committee and its subcommittees have developed several initiatives that will address these needs:

  1. Learning Across Your Lifetime is an educational initiative designed to meet the needs of neurologists at all stages of their career, from medical training, residency and fellowship, early, mid, and late career. This program makes customized recommendations for, and allows you to access, appropriate educational resources for your particular interest at the level of your current career stage.

  2. Maintenance of certification (MOC) is an initiative from the American Board of Medical Specialties. All neurologists certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology since October 1, 1994, are required to complete the four components of MOC every 10 years in order to be recertified. The components are: 1. Professional standing (licensure); 2. Continuing medical education and self-assessment; 3. Cognitive expertise (board examination); and 4. Performance in Practice (PIP). In order to be indispensable to our members, the AAN and the Education Committee have developed a variety of resources to assist neurologists in meeting these requirements. Among these are resources for CME, including educational programs at the Annual Meeting, regional meeting, and a new initiative that already has begun to develop innovative online educational programs developed by experts trained in the art of effective web-based education. In addition, NeuroPI consists of performance improvement modules that specifically assist members in completing the PIP component of MOC as well as providing 20 hours of CME credit. There are currently two modules available, with additional modules coming soon. Recently, the AAN website has developed NeuroTracker, an online tool that will be very useful in tracking your progress in MOC, eliminating the need to figure out where you stand. All of these programs are designed to benefit our members by making the MOC process less confusing and complex.

  3. For the AAN Annual Meeting, the Education Committee has developed the following new educational programs designed to increase the diversity of available educational activities and to bring to both the general neurologist and the subspecialist a variety of useful programming types. These new innovations include Morning Report, which simulates neurology rounds with interesting cases; Skills Pavilions, which provide detailed teaching related to a topic or procedure; and Neuroflash, which provides the most recent updates related to a topic. In addition, identified program topic tracks have been incorporated into the registration process. This allows a participant to plan a specific curriculum of study throughout the meeting without having to sort through the whole program.

  4. In collaboration with the Science Committee, the Education Committee has developed the Subspecialty in Focus program, which integrates science and educational content, highlighting collaboration between the AAN and the subspecialty societies. This program presents high-level educational programs and the latest in science as an integrated neuroscience program dedicated to a specific subspecialty. There will be six subspecialty programs presented in New Orleans that can be selected on the 2012 AAN Annual Meeting website: peripheral neurology, cerebrovascular disease, aging and dementia, epilepsy, movement disorders, and child neurology.

  5. The AAN Fall Conference is held annually in Las Vegas. The Education Committee continues to incorporate new innovations to make this activity one that has true value for the practicing neurologist. The conference provides updates relevant to practice in a variety of subspecialty areas. The expert faculty presents using case-based examples where appropriate, and provides ample opportunity for questions following each presentation.

  6. Finally, the Education Committee has been working to enhance educational opportunities for our international members. Neurologic education is, indeed, a global effort, and programs that address the needs of different regions of the world are considered to be an important future goal of the Education Committee through collaborations with the International Subcommittee.

In summary, there are many new opportunities available for our members that will address the dynamic qualities and challenges of modern educational needs. I invite you to visit the Education page of AAN.com at www.aan.com/go/education to explore these opportunities and take advantage of the resources available to you.