Looking Forward: Underpinnings for a More Impactful SNACC
Deepak Sharma, MBBS, MD, DM
Time seems to have flown by as I reflect and realize that this is my last message as the SNACC President! What an amazing journey it has been from being a resident member of this wonderful organization to being able to serve as an elected official. This year as the president was nothing like I had planned given the unexpected challenges we had to face. Yet, I am truly grateful for this opportunity to serve. I am proud of the leadership team that stood together and supported me to ensure we continue to advance the mission of SNACC even when faced with adversity.
I certainly wished to have accomplished more for SNACC than we did but I am sure future leaders will take our organization farther. As I think of passing the gavel, I ponder about the underpinnings for our organizational success. Following are what I believe to be some of the key areas to focus on in the coming years.
Growing Membership and Global Presence
The success and the impact of any organization depends largely on a strong membership. In coming years, we will need to work together to expand the membership of SNACC globally in all domains of perioperative neuroscience. While our membership continues to grow steadily, the growth has been rather slow. Having a large, diverse membership representative of all aspects of perioperative neuroscience is essential for SNACC to have a stronger voice and a broader impact. We have started some key initiatives this year to expand our global presence although a lot more needs to be done.
Despite being an international organization, our footprint in several parts of the world is small. We need to partner with our colleagues across the globe and join forces to realize our vision. I hope in the coming years we will have neuroanesthesiologists and neuroscientists from all departments across the world represented in SNACC. To this end, we will need to review our strategies for member recruitment, retention and engagement and will need to expand member benefits to attract the best.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
As we expand and grow, we must sincerely embrace diversity, inclusion and equity as our core values. No branch of medicine and no field of science can realize its best potential without the contributions from a diverse pool of talent. Diversity means much more to SNACC than many other organizations given the geographic distribution and professional backgrounds of our members. We need to do more to empower our diverse membership to meaningfully contribute toward the growth of our society as well as our specialty. We will need to ensure equity and growth opportunities for our members. There is a clear need to invest more into mentorship and sponsorship to facilitate leadership development. SNACC has started some key initiatives in these domains but, again, there is a long way to go!
SNACC members have made huge contributions to advance neuroscience in anesthesiology. As an organization, SNACC has had a meaningful impact in clinical guideline development and educational advancements. However, as a society, we clearly will need to do more to support research. The William Young Research Award has helped support talented young investigators. In the near future, SNACC will need to be able to fund larger and/or more research awards and support larger projects with high impact. We will also need to support multiple investigators by providing other types of career development awards. We should aim to become a major funding organization for perioperative neuroscience research.
Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology (JNA)
For the advancement of any subspecialty, it is essential that it have its own high impact journal. We are very fortunate at SNACC to have our outstanding journal, the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology (JNA). I am very pleased with the close collaboration and excellent communication between SNACC and the JNA. The society and the journal have recently started new initiatives together such as the JNA podcast and the Twitter Journal Club, venturing into newer domains to reach a wider audience.Working together to enhance the visibility and impact of JNA must be a high priority for SNACC. We strongly support the vision of the editor-in-chief, Prof. Martin Smith and I urge all SNACC members to strongly consider submitting their best research for publication in JNA.
Fellowship Training and Leadership Development
Thanks to the vision and perseverance of Dr. Andrew Kofke, the International Council on Perioperative Neurosciences Training (ICPNT) is now a reality. In the coming years, I am very hopeful that ICPNT will positively impact and support the training of future neuroanesthesiologists all over the world. Beyond clinical neuroanesthesia training, it will be imperative for SNACC and ICPNT to support mentorship and leadership development to prepare true leaders for the future.
It became very obvious to me during my term serving on the Executive Committee that financial strength is crucial to allowing us to take our society to the next level. SNACC currently has limited revenue stream. For SNACC to become an impactful funding agency supporting and driving impactful research and to foster career development and other opportunities for members,we will need to generate more financial resources. We will require more resources for the effective functioning of our committees and task forces. For these and many other important initiatives, we will need to identify newer revenue streams and ways to secure financial support. Our fundraising efforts need to yield bigger results and explore other options including philanthropic support. I request help and inputs from all our members in efforts to make SNACC financially strong.
Despite the significance of our mission and the critical nature of our work SNACC unfortunately, like many other anesthesia organizations, has a limited visibility within the general public. For our message to be more broadly reachable and identifiable and for SNACC to be more effective, we will need to work on building a public image of our organization. This will help to meaningfully connect not only with our patients but also with funding and philanthropic organizations.
Collaborations with Other Organizations
SNACC has been actively working on expanding their global presence in neuroanesthesia. Nevertheless, moving forward, SNACC will need to explore building alliances and partnerships with other organizations with a mission similar to ours. Collaborations and formal relationships with professional societies of neurosurgery, neurology, neuroscience, and those related to other specialties of anesthesia will help us be more effective.
While I mentioned this in the end, I believe this is the most important and likely all-encompassing priority for SNACC. We need a formal long-term strategic plan covering all above priorities to guide us systematically over the coming years. The board of directors had voted to proceed with strategic planning this year which unfortunately did not happen due to COVID-19. I hope this will occur in the near future.
Listed above are just some of my ideas for areas that SNACC should focus on in the future and I am sure there are other ideas and approaches to help us succeed. Please feel free to share your thoughts with the leadership team – we need your input!
It has been a huge honor to serve SNACC and I will always remain grateful for this opportunity. I look forward to continuing to serve as a dedicated member of this wonderful organization. I am very happy to pass on the responsibility to a very able successor and good friend, Dr. Chanannait Paisansathan. I wish her the very best.