President’s message—November 15, 2016
My two-year term as president of ASNR began last week at the end of our Board of Directors meeting when George Wittenberg graciously handed me the reins. George has done a fantastic job and he has left ASNR on a real high. I want to thank him publically for his leadership and vision (and his beautiful bow ties) over the last two years, during a challenging transition for our organization. My goal as president is to leverage the momentum George and previously Krish Sathian generated to move us to the next level of what I know we can achieve. Our membership is growing as we become more visible to the basic and clinical research communities in neurorehabilitation. Our temporal and scientific alignment with the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) both distinguishes us from other societies within the field of rehabilitation and at the same time it highlights our uniqueness in being able to foster bi-directional translation across bench and bedside and beyond to community. We have plans for several important initiatives, one of which is strategic planning. Krish undertook the last strategic planning session in 2014—he graciously offered his services as we launch the next one planned for 2017. There are two other important initiatives in the works including a website re-design which will complement our visibility and educate our sustaining members and potential new members about who we are, the exciting work we do, and how they can help make a difference. In addition, we will be re-visiting a possible name change to be more inclusive of our Canadian members in North America and with an eye on attracting more international members. That said, and as Michael Selzer reminds us, we are an official subsidiary of the larger umbrella organization—the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation (WFNR), and we share a common Scientific Journal in the outstanding journal, Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair (Editor-in-Chief, Randy Nudo). There are many pros and cons to a name change that I will make sure we weigh carefully in the coming months. Finally, and in the spirit of not letting any grass grow, we are already planning for the 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting that will be held in Washington D.C., prior to SfN—so mark your calendars! On the train back to LA from San Diego, I was in communication with NIH and specifically NCMRR about procuring a conference grant for our 2017 meeting. For the last several years, we have received support for our Annual Scientific Meeting from the NIH R13 conference grant mechanism. These conference grants are used to provide travel awards and diversity fellowships to our underrepresented minorities, many of whom, are trainees and students. Our fellows, students, and trainees are a special part of our annual conference and we will continue to encourage their participation. I am delighted that Catherine Lang has agreed to chair the program committee for the annual meeting, taking over from Tom Carmichael. Tom and his committee, including Catherine engineered the current meeting format that elegantly blends Symposia, Oral Abstracts, poster sessions and the now famous, “Controversies” closing session using an unopposed format for a packed two-day conference. Catherine and her committee are moving forward with ideas about expanding our thematic focus-- so stay tuned, but most of all, we welcome your suggestions and comments. Let us know what is on your mind. Remember to fill out the post-conference survey—we value your feedback and we do listen to you for our future planning.
Best wishes for a healthy and fulfilled holiday season!
--Carolee Winstein, PhD, PT, FAPTA, FAHA
Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and Department of Neurology
University of Southern California, Los Angeles