From the Editor-in-Chief: What's New and Coming on

June 23, 2011


Electronic resources have become an essential part of our lives. While many of us grumble about being forced to adopt electronic health records (EHRs), they can be life-saving tools, as physicians in Joplin, MO, recently discovered when the St. John's Regional Medical Center was destroyed in a tornado. For the 183 patients who were evacuated to neighboring hospitals, EHRs, which had only gone live only two weeks earlier, were accessible from a remote server. The neurologists there contrast this rare strike of luck to their office records, which had not yet been converted, and have been unavailable while working from a makeshift clinic since the disaster.

The editors and staff at have been striving to provide digital resources that help you in every aspect of your practice. The new Google-powered search engine has made a vast improvement in search function on and has been bolstered by a new taxonomy system which has been rolled out over the past year. Managing Editor, Gail Johnson, has recently become certified as a website usability expert and will be re-evaluating and improving the member user experience along with our neurologist editors in the upcoming months.


For Education Editor and Distance Learning Subcommittee Chair, A. Gordon Smith, MD, the guiding principal in the revision has included a focus on user needs and incorporation of more visually stimulating interactive content including videos of the annual meeting. Other changes in the works include a searchable fellowship directory to be rolled out in the spring of 2012, the addition of new mobile resources, expansion of the digital resource library, and development of online CME modules, a priority over the coming year.

In May, an online course development workshop led by Peter R. Bergethon, MD, was held in Minneapolis. A group of online course faculty nominated by Education, MEM, and Practice Committees attended. Each participant committed to developing a course by early 2012 and to assist in mentoring another group of faculty next year. Milestones have been established, and Distance Learning Subcommittee members are facilitating course development. Procedures for course development, review and assessment are in the works.


Science Editor, Jose Merino, MD has been busy developing funding pages of the Science section of He hopes these will go live by the end of this summer, and intends to expand on sections and links as they are identified. The project is a massive undertaking that includes sources of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as non-NIH funding, and funding for international projects and trainees. Dr. Merino is also expanding the research ethics pages, and research careers and training, as well as research resources web pages.

Practice and Technology

Practice and Technology Editor, Neil A. Busis, MD is working with his newly reconstituted editorial board and staff to make the Practice section of indispensable to members. The focus is on creating resources such as Academy practice guidelines even easier to access and adding new resources to help neurologists successfully qualify for incentives and avoid penalties in the new electronic prescribing, electronic health records and physician quality reporting system. New practice online CME programs are being developed and downloadable versions of the popular practice management webinar series are now available. Dr. Busis is also working with staff to make the Membership section of better meet member needs.


AAN staff has created a Community for those Sections that were not already being represented by one of the original 11 Communities. We now have 36 communities with more than 7,000 community members. These communities serve as a place where Section members can connect with others and share ideas and information within the forums. Each Community is linked to the current Section web page where an official record of business, such as meeting minutes will be still be located.


The Advocacy section of has launched a new interactive North America map with links to each state's resource page including the state neurosocieties. New health policy resource pages have been created that provide tools for members to learn how the AAN advocates for neurologists and to inform members of actions on Capitol Hill, as well as provide tools to help members make their voices heard.


The Patient Site has an updated home page design and features timely physician-written articles as well as a rotating banner for featured products and content. In response to numerous requests from the public, the Find-a- Neurologist Tool has been enhanced and people can now search for a neurologist by subspecialty. Dr. Daniel Hoch is Editor of for Patients and Caregivers.

As always, we welcome your input and would love to hear from you. If you have any suggestions for improvement select the Contact Us link at the top of the page, or if you'd like to comment on a story, just click the "Submit a Comment" link.

Orly Avitzur, MD, MBA