American Association of Neurological Surgeons

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American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Logo of AANS.tif
TypeProfessional association
HeadquartersRolling Meadows, Illinois
Region served
Over 8,000
Executive Director
Kathleen Craig

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) is a scientific and educational association focused on advancing the specialty of neurological surgery. The organization has over 8,000 members around the world.


Attendees at the first meeting of the Harvey Cushing Society in Boston, 1932.

Founded in 1931, the AANS was originally known as the Harvey Cushing Society, named for the brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing. The creation of the society was spurred initially by R. Glen Spurling and William P. Van Wagenen[1] who, with Cushing, acknowledged the need for a venue in which younger neurosurgeons could exchange ideas on the specialty. Membership to the Society of Neurological Surgeons, the specialty's key organization during this period, was closed to younger men at this time. Spurling and Van Wagenen enlisted the help of Temple Fay and R. Eustace Semmes in the creation of the group, and on May 6, 1932, the Harvey Cushing Society held its first meeting in Boston.[1] Twenty-three people attended, many of whom were Cushing's colleagues and neurosurgical trainees.

Other charter members of the society were Gilbert Anderson, Paul C. Bucy, W. Edward Chamberlain, Leo M. Davidoff, Louise Eisenhardt, Edgar Fincher, John F. Fulton, W. James Gardner, William J. German, Franc D. Ingraham, Franklin Jelsma, Edgar Kahn, Roland Klemme, James G. Lyerly Sr., Eric Oldberg, Tracy Putnam, Frederic Schreiber, Merril C. Sosman, and Frank R. Teachenor.

Significant dates[edit]

  • 1942 – The AANS adopts new bylaws requiring active members to be certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS).
  • 1944 – The first issue of theJournal of Neurosurgery is printed. An editorial board had been established in 1943, and Louise Eisenhardt was named editor-in-chief.
  • 1967 – At its annual meeting in San Francisco, the Harvey Cushing Society changes its name to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). The group also revamps its membership requirements, now noting that only board-certified neurosurgeons could be considered for active membership. Associate memberships are available for those in related neurological disciplines. This same year, the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship is established to provide educational funding to medical students.
  • 1969 – The association observes the 100-year anniversary of Harvey Cushing's birth by holding its annual meeting in his birthplace of Cleveland and issuing a commemorative stamp via the United States Postal Service.
  • 1976 – A headquarters office is established in downtown Chicago. The office moves to Park Ridge, Illinois in 1984, and subsequently to its current location in Rolling Meadows, Illinois in 2000.
  • 1988 – The United States Postal Service issues an official Harvey Cushing stamp on June 17 as part of its "Great Americans" 45-cent stamp collection.[2]


The AANS is composed of board-certified neurosurgeons from around the world as well as medical students, neurosurgical support staff, and physicians in associated fields of practice.

Legislative advocacy[edit]

Throughout its history, the AANS has taken stances on a number of key legislative issues affecting neurosurgical professionals and their patients. Efforts include patient safety and quality improvement, tort reform, and issues relating to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. In addition to a professional staff office in Washington, D.C., the AANS maintains a member-driven Washington Committee to advocate for a number of causes. Washington staff maintains the Neurosurgery Blog which highlights the latest legislative activities affecting health care and the neurosurgical specialty.


Since 1944, the AANS has published the Journal of Neurosurgery. In addition, the quarterly AANS Neurosurgeon focuses on "issues related to legislation, workforce and practice management."[3] Each issue is centered on different themes, and past themes include humanitarian neurosurgery, neurosurgeons as patients, stereotactic radiosurgery, and neurovascular neurosurgery.

Patient information and public outreach[edit]

On its website, the AANS presents information relevant to patients regarding a number of neurosurgical ailments and treatments. In addition to its efforts during National Neurosurgery Awareness Week (which is held in conjunction with the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting and heightens public awareness on topics such as stroke), the AANS also spearheads Neurosurgery Outreach Month every August, touting the importance of concussion and head-injury prevention at the start of a new school year and season for student athletes.


The AANS offers its members a number of educational opportunities, mostly through courses held around the country at various times of the year. Topics include practice management, oral board preparation, maintenance of certification, and resident education. Course offerings also extend to mid-level practitioners such as nurses and physician assistants.

Annual meeting[edit]

The AANS has held an Annual Scientific Meeting every year since its 1932 inception, except for 1945 when that year's gathering was cancelled due to World War II. Programming includes presentations of neurological studies, seminars, and workshops for practitioners at all levels, and keynote speeches. Past speakers[4] include H. Ross Perot (1987), Colin Powell (1995), George H.W. Bush (1999), Tom Brokaw (2001), Benazir Bhutto (2002), Henry Kissinger (2003), Ken Burns (2004), Walter Isaacson (2013), and Chesley Sullenberger (2013).

Neurosurgical Research and Education Foundation[edit]

Established by the AANS in 1981, the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation provides funding for training in the neurosciences and support for career neurosurgeons. Through grants and awards, it supports residents and young neurosurgical faculty in conducting basic science, patient-oriented, clinical and outcomes research, as well as outcomes studies that protect and support neurosurgical procedures for all practicing neurosurgeons. It also funds North American and international fellowships in all neurosurgical subspecialties.

Neuropoint Alliance[edit]

As an effort led by the AANS with cooperation of other organized neurological associations, the Neuropoint Alliance was founded in 2008 to collect, analyze, and report clinical data from neurosurgical practices. Services include clinical trial management, study design, and survey facilitation.[5] Its first nationwide effort was the National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b Mathews, Marlon S.; Linskey, Mark E.; Binder, Devin K. (2008-02-29). "William P. van Wagenen and the first corpus callosotomies for epilepsy". Journal of Neurosurgery. 108 (3): 608–613. doi:10.3171/JNS/2008/108/3/0608. ISSN 0022-3085.
  2. ^ "1988 45c Harvey Cushing, M.D. - Catalog # 2188 For Sale at Mystic Stamp Company". 1988-06-17. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
  3. ^ "AANS Neurosurgeon – About". Archived from the original on 2014-05-31. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
  4. ^ "2009 AANS Annual Meeting - Housing". Retrieved 2014-05-31.
  5. ^ "NPA N²QOD". Retrieved 2014-05-31.
  6. ^ "NPA Home". Archived from the original on 2014-06-30. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
  7. ^ "Spine Patient Data Gathering of the Future: Q&A With Drs. Anthony Asher and Matthew McGirt of N2QOD". 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2014-05-31.

External links[edit]