AAN.com Welcomes New Education Editor

March 4, 2010


A. Gordon Smith, MD, has been named the new Associate Website Editor for Education. An associate professor of neurology and pathology at the University of Utah, he directs that institution's Peripheral Neuropathy Center, Cutaneous Innervation Laboratory, and Therapeutic Botulinum Toxin Clinic. His research interest is diabetic neuropathy and the role of metabolic syndrome and obesity in neuropathy pathogenesis. He graduated from Mayo Medical School and completed a neurology residency and fellowship in neuromuscular disease at the University of Michigan.

Smith serves on the Education Committee of the American Academy of Neurology and was previously a member of the Annual Meeting Subcommittee. He is a board member of the Peripheral Nerve Society (PNS), and developed and maintains the PNS website. Smith has served in a number of capacities in several organizations, including the American Association of Neuromuscular Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM), for which he is a member of the Digital Media Committee, and the American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, for which he serves on the Grant Review Committee.

Smith is dedicated to the mission of the AAN: "to promote the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care and enhance member career satisfaction." In particular, he believes the Education Section of AAN.com must be an indispensable tool for achieving this mission by supporting educational needs throughout the lifetime of a neurologist, from medical school to retirement.

Vision Statement

By A. Gordon Smith, MD, AAN.com Associate Editor for Education

The title "Doctor" has its origin in the Latin word "doctoris," which means teacher. Regardless of what kind of practice in which we are engaged—be it academic, clinical, research, community, or in industry—one of our core responsibilities is to teach and in turn to learn. While specific learning and teaching tasks evolve through one's career, education remains a constant priority. As residents we must master a foundation of knowledge and technique. Throughout our careers me must keep up-to-date on new discoveries and maintain our certification and licensure. Our clinical interactions focus on learning from our patients and, in return, on teaching them about their disease and treatment. We must teach the next generation of neurologists; retiring neurologists have accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge that can be taught to those beginning their career. The overall vision for the AAN is "to be indispensable to its members." One of the most important priorities in achieving this vision is to support these educational priorities throughout a neurologist's lifetime. The Education Section of AAN.com is a central component of this effort.

The American Academy of Neurology recognizes the importance of lifelong learning and has been the most important clearinghouse for neurologic education for many years. The 2010 Annual Meeting includes 50 scientific sessions and six poster sessions. There are more than 180 CME events. The AAN holds regional meetings and workshops. Neurology® is the most widely read neurologic journal. There are a number of print and online learning opportunities including Continuum®, Quintessentials®, the Digital Resource Library, and webinars covering timely topics. There is support for medical students, residents and fellows, and program directors. These resources represent a breathtaking compendium of learning opportunities. However, the enormity of this resource can be daunting, and accessing the resources needed at any single point in time can prove challenging. My vision is for AAN.com to become the primary means for fulfilling the individual educational needs of neurologists at each stage of their career. My goal is to provide specific resources that are accessible at the point of need. A major priority for the coming year is development of online CME offerings that take advantage of the tremendous library of AAN-developed educational tools.

One of my mentors told me that when we talk, whether it is to a patient colleague or student, we hear the voices of our best teachers in what we say. I believe that learning is a community-based endeavor, and that the crowd does indeed have wisdom. We all have something to learn from one another. AAN.com is developing online communities of neurologists with shared interests and priorities—these communities promise to allow us to share our knowledge in a highly dynamic and responsive fashion. It is an exciting time to be joining the editorial team at AAN.com. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the outstanding AAN staff and other editors, but I am most energized by the prospect of interacting with other AAN members. I look forward to your suggestions, advice and emails. It will be a tremendous learning experience.

Author Disclosure

Within the past year, Dr. Smith received compensation for his role as a consultant for Allergan, Merz, NeurogesX, and Baxter Bioscience, as well as for serving as an expert witness on several cases involving peripheral nerve disorders. In the same period, he received a research grant from the NIH (NIDDK) and the American Diabetes Association.