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