Dr. R. Michael Scott's Presentation on the Formation of the ASPN


Why was the ASPN formed?

 The ASPN got its start during a meeting in Europe in the mid-70s. Fred Epstein, NYU, Luis Schut, CHOP, Harold Hoffman, Toronto, and Don Reigel, Pittsburgh, had attended a neurosurgical meeting in Europe at which the European pediatric neurosurgeons were planning the formation of the European Society of Pediatric Neurosurgery. These four American pediatric neurosurgeons became enthusiastic about forming a similar organization in the United States, and Don Reigel became the driving force behind its organization. He felt that plan could not move forward without the involvement of the leading pediatric neurosurgeons in the country at that time, and he traveled to Chicago to get the buy-in of Dr. Anthony Raimondi, then the chief of the department at Northwestern and Children’s Memorial.  Several dinners, to which the leading pediatric neurosurgeons in the country were invited, were held to discuss the reasons for the formation of a new society, which in the end came down to how one identified a pediatric neurosurgeon. The group answered the question succinctly: "You know one when you see one."

Don Reigel then called 17 leading pediatric neurosurgeons to the University of Pittsburgh to formally organize the group and write its constitution.  It was planned that the ASPN would identify pediatric neurosurgeons, invite them to join the society if they fulfilled the criteria that were set up in the Constitution {“He or she must have an outstanding record in the field of Pediatric Neurosurgery”}, and hold annual meetings. Although there was a Pediatric section of the AANS already in existence since 1973 – the first subsection of the AANS – it was a relatively large group with many members who were interested in pediatric neurosurgery but who did not restrict their practice to it, and the time was right for the formation of the ASPN, which immediately became a select and elite society. 

I was invited to be a member in 1980, and I recall it as one of the greatest honors of my life -- to be recognized as a “pediatric neurosurgeon” by a group of senior colleagues whom I respected and admired.

The founding members were:

Loren Amacher, London, Ontario; Derek Bruce, Philadelphia; Howard Eisenburg, then at Galveston; Fred Epstein, New York; Francisco Gutierrez, Chicago; Bruce Hendrick, Toronto; Harold Hoffman, Toronto; Robin Humphreys, Toronto; David Klein, Buffalo; Robert McLaurin, Cincinnati; David McLone, Chicago; Mark O’Brien, then Atlanta; Anthony Raimondi, Chicago; Donald Reigel, Pittsburgh; Martin (Pete) Sayers, Columbus, Ohio; Tim Scarff, Maywood (Loyola) Illinois; Luis Schut, Philadelphia; and Joan Venes, Dallas. 

[I am indebted to David McLone for many of these historical details]

R. Michael Scott, M.D.
Fellows Family Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery
Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue; Hunnewell 2
Boston, MA 02115

American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons Governance Guidelines

The members of the leadership of the ASPN, upon acceptance of their leadership position, agree to follow and uphold the guidelines for the Conflict of Interest, Whistleblowers policy and Document Retention and Destruction policies.

Conflict of Interest Policy

The Mission of the ASPN is to improve the lives of children and adults affected by pediatric neurosurgical conditions, through excellence in clinical care, scientific discovery, education and advocacy. The written Conflict of Interest policy exists to ensure that the ASPN pursues its mission without undue influence from industry, or other organizations or individuals. As a society of pediatric neurosurgeons, the ASPN fully supports and abides by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Governance Conflict of Interest Policy. 

Conflict of Interest is defined as a situation in which a person has competing loyalties or interests- financial, personal, or professional- that makes it difficult to fulfill their duties impartially. A financial conflict of interest exists when an ASPN member, or a member of their immediate family, has a financial interest in a company or its product that influences the ASPN member’s decision-making and participation in the ASPN. A personal conflict of interest is a friendship or discord that could influence the ASPN member’s decision-making regarding the ASPN.  A professional conflict of interest is a professional relationship or competition that could influence the ASPN member’s decision-making and participation in the ASPN.  Each ASPN member is expected to appropriately notify the Executive Committee and Scientific Program Chair of the Annual meeting of any conflicts of interest as they arise.

Whistleblower Policy

ASPN members are expected to uphold the highest ethical standards at all times.  If someone has a reasonable suspicion that an ASPN member’s actions fall short of this high ethical standard, the ASPN leadership will acknowledge, investigate and, if substantiated, deal the concerns appropriately without retribution.

Document Retention and Destruction

Documents related to the governance, financial status and other significant matters will be retained and not destroyed for an appropriate period of time as dictated by relevant laws and guidelines.