Letter from the Chair

August 2, 2011


Dear Section Members:

I am pleased and honored to begin this term as the new Chair of the History Section and look forward to continuing the work started by my predecessors, Dr. Peter Koehler and Dr. Douglas Lanska.

Examining the history of neurological discovery and the lives of neurologists continues to inspire my career. Some of the approaches to diagnosis and neurological care and the challenges we encounter in practice or in research were also faced by those before us, and consideration of the experiences of these forebears provide us with perspective on our current practices. My personal interests have been in the evolution of models of higher cognitive function in the domain of aphasia and other neurobehavioral syndromes. I have also been interested in the role, scope, and differences in reception of different methodologies used in the study of neurology (e.g. the case studies, clinical pathological correlations, group studies, the experimental method).

Members in the AAN history section come with varied interests in history, and part of the richness of this section comes from these differing interests. I would like to encourage you to bring whatever your interests may be to our section meeting and participate in our section activities. Even if you have not previously been involved, you are heartily welcomed to increase your participation at any time.

Please also feel free to submit any research or work in the area of history to the annual meeting. We encourage and allow multiple submissions from the same author if you have been involved in multiple projects. You may also submit your work for consideration of the McHenry History award which is given annually to recognize a valuable contribution to history of Neurology. Finally, if you are interested in designing a course on the topic of history or speaking on the topic of history, you are welcome to discuss your topic to the education committee in our section which may be able to find further help or suggestions.

As the chair of the section for History of Neurology I hope to be able to facilitate continued interest in history at the AAN and make the section a place where your interests in history can be furthered.

Some of you may be aware of the individual activities and ongoing projects we have been promoting, but below is a brief description of a few of them to provide and update and reminder. If you have questions or wish to personally become more involved in any of these activities, feel free to contact myself or any of the appropriate people as listed below.

  • * Oral History project: We are collecting oral histories from prominent neurologists or persons in allied fields who have had an impact on Neurology. A permanent record of these interviews will then be made available by the AAN of these records. Contact person: Peter Koehler; PKoehler@neurohistory.nl

  • * AAN Educational Courses: This is one of the main activities of the section. Each year we offer a section-sponsored half day course on a topic in history that is likely to be of broad interest to neurologists. In 2012 the focus will be on the origins of the neurological examination. Various members of the section have also organized a yearly course on archival film of Neurology. New this year Doug Lanska has proposed a seminar on intersections between war and neurology. Contact: Ed Fine; efine@buffalo.edu

  • * H. Richard Tyler Award: This award offers travel funds and a research stipend to visit the rare books collection at the University of Washington at St. Louis. This collection which contains and contains over 3000 classic textbooks and monographs, many of which were donated by Dr. Tyler. This research stipend award may also be used to travel to the AAN offices and archives of historical materials. Interested applicants are to submit a hypothesis, proposal for use, and objective. Contact person: Susan Corcoran; scorcoran@aan.com

  • * Section Meeting: The AAN meeting is always a busy time, but we encourage you to try to come to the History section meeting. This is a place where you can meet other people who have been active in the section and discuss some of the ideas and interests in history and neurology. We usually make plans for future courses and initiatives and discuss way in which to promote the relevance and levels of participation in the history field. If you want to become more involved in the section it is essential to come to this meeting. To find out about the meeting time for the section meeting, be sure to consult your AAN meeting guide when you register. The section meeting times are usually available at the time of the meeting in the detailed events guide. We are trying to plan a meeting time this year that will have the least amount of conflict with other sections.

  • * Lawrence C. McHenry Award: For this award you need to submit a paper on history of Neurology in advance of the meeting to the Lawrence M. Henry Award committee. The winner is selected based on the originality of the work and the clarity in which the ideas are expressed, and is intended to honor excellence in research in the history of neurology. The deadline for the 2011 submission is November 1st, 2011. We have had excellent submissions in the past several years, and it is always difficult to select a winner. We have had very close runner ups, and we have encouraged people to submit the same paper the next year if they did not get the award the first time, if they did not receive the award with their first submission. Contact: Erin Jackson; or ejackson@aan.com

  • * Abstracts and Oral Presentations on the History of Neurology: Please submit your work in the form of history abstracts for the annual meeting. These abstracts can concern topics of any type related to the history of neurology. Also consider encouraging students, residents, or fellows to submit on a historical topic related to their specialty. The more abstract submissions we receive the more we will thrive as a subsection at the AAN. The abstracts submission deadline is Oct. 24th for the 2012 meeting.

  • * History of Neurology Community: This is an electronic forum on the AAN website where articles on history and neurology can be posted and discussions can take place. To make this forum more relevant, we would like to encourage members to submit any of their recent or major publications to the website manager or you can link the abstract of your article directly. Posting publications of our members will let others know more about the scholarship and activities of the members. By reviewing these articles, interested people may learn who in the section has similar interests. Articles have been posted to this forum before, but these have not always been the most relevant to history or our section, and for this reason we would like to showcase more of the articles from our members. The site is password protected through the AAN and accessible only to members of the AAN or those who purchase a membership to the section. We will try to work with the AAN so that they may secure copyright exemptions from some of the leading journals to make posting as easy as possible. Contact person: Heidi Roth; hroth@neurology.unc.edu

  • * The Historical Exhibit Initiative: We have plans to propose a History Exhibit at the AAN Meeting at a future historical milestone year. This project is still under development with regard to the target year.

  • * Building the AAN Book Collection: Donations to the AAN Collection of books is encouraged. If you know someone who is retiring or interested in donating books to a repository where they will be well cared for and used, please encourage them to consider donating to the outstanding collection of books that has been established at the University of Washington. Contact: Elan Louis. Louisel@sergievsky.cpmc.columbia.edu.

  • * Councilor Positions: There will be two councilor positions open on the executive committee History section in 2012. This is another way to get involved in the section. If you are interested in one of these it would be great to meet you at the section meeting in 2012 and we would encourage you to present yourself there at that time. Also, feel free to contact any of us with interest prior to that time.

  • * FYI: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders is having a history issue: You may want to consider submitting an article for publication. Editor in Chief, John A Talbott, has planned to dedicate an anniversary issue to topics in the History of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is soliciting articles, and is particularly interested subjects from 1974 to the present. The review articles are supposed be between 4400 and 8800 words. The deadline is Dec. 1, 2011, and articles can be submitted online by going to: www.editorialmanager.com/jmnd

I look forward to the opportunity to help facilitate the activities of our section in the coming year; and I welcome and appreciate your involvement.

Heidi L. Roth, M.D.

Executive members of the History Section:

Past Chair
Peter Koehler, MD, FAAN
Term of Office: 2011-2013

Edward Fine, MD, FAAN
Term of Office: 2011-2013

Christopher J. Boes, MD
2nd Term of Office: 2010-2012

Douglas J. Lanska, MD, FAAN
Term of Office: 2011-2013

Frank R. Freemon, MD, PhD
1st Term of Office: 2010-2012