Advancing Our Mission and Staying Focused in Challenging Times!
Deepak Sharma, MD, DM
We are all dealing with one of the greatest public health emergencies in recent years. Many of us are actively involved in caring for patients with COVID-19 and preventing the spread of the disease. I hope you all and your dear ones are safe and healthy. You will receive this message about a month after I write this and I hope by that time, the situation would have improved. SNACC is an international organization and our members are from across the world. We are obviously at various stages of being impacted by COVID-19 and my best wishes are with all of you. The COVID-19 pandemic is a special challenge for anesthesiologists as we work close to the airway and often manage emergent respiratory failures. I extend my sincere gratitude to all of you who are working on the front line to contain this pandemic. I am proud to be a part of this community. I salute your commitment and dedication.
SNACC leadership is closely watching the situation and anticipating the impact on our activities. I am also in communication with the leaders of other subspecialty societies through a forum created by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) to discuss COVID-19 society related issues and topics including meeting cancellations, staff/travel issues, etc. Please be assured that the entire leadership team is working very hard and I am so grateful for this collective wisdom! In order to give the highest priority to the health and safety of all our attendees and participants, we have decided to not hold the annual Neuroscience Symposium (scheduled for San Francisco in May). We are following recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and relevant healthcare/state authorities to ensure everyone’s safety. However, we are currently exploring the possibility of organizing this meeting on-line. The Board of Directors and ICPNT meetings will also be conducted online.
As we go through this difficult situation, it is critical that we do not lose the sight of our long-term vision and mission. We are continuing to work on planning another scientific and educational conference – our 48th Annual Meeting this year in Montréal (September 11-13). We sincerely hope that the meeting will proceed as currently planned. I am grateful to Dr. William Armstead, the program chair this year for an outstanding program. We have an excellent lineup of speakers, with many new experts speaking at SNACC for the first time. The program planning committee has made sure to include sessions of interest to everyone – scientists, clinicians, educators and trainees. We will also have plenty of time for socializing and networking. Look for more details in the future weeks. We have also finalized the venue for our 49th Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington (September 9-11, 2021).
In January this year, we hosted a SNACC panel at the Annual Meeting of ISNACC in Chennai, India. Our panel on ‘Precision Medicine’ included three excellent speakers – Drs. James Hecker (Seattle, USA), Alana Flexman (Vancouver, British Columbia) and Nicolai Goettel (Basil, Switzerland). Professor Martin Smith, Editor-in-Chief of our journal and our ex-president delivered the prestigious Harivir Singh oration. Several others from our society were present at the meeting. I am excited about the flourishing collaboration with ISNACC and I hope we will have similar collaboration with other societies as well. Our panel at the IARS meeting this year organized by Dr. Arnoley Abcejo on ‘Future Forward Topics in Perioperative Basic Neuroscience’with Drs. Ines Koerner, Creed Stary and Shaun Gruenbaum has unfortunately been cancelled along with the entire IARS Annual Meeting due to COVID-19.
I want to thank Drs. Phillip Vlisides and George Mashour and their task force for updating the SNACC guidelines for ‘Perioperative Care of Patients at High Risk for Stroke During or After Non-Cardiac, Non-Neurologic Surgery’ and to all SNACC members who provided input/feedback. We now look forward to these updated guidelines being published in JNA. Under the leadership of the new chair of the Communications committee, Dr. Arnoley Abcejo, and social media subcommittee lead Dr. Kathryn Rosenblatt, SNACC hosted its first Twitter Journal Club jointly with JNA earlier this year. The journal club was very successful and a unique learning experience. I personally enjoyed participating and learning from colleagues across the world. I want to acknowledge Dr. Ib Adedugbe for her outstanding contribution in coordinating the journal club as well as Professor Martin Smith and JNA for making the article open access for everyone. I look forward to the next Twitter learning session and invite you to join Twitter and follow @SNACCNeuro, @snaccprez and @JNeurosurgAnes.
We have strategic planning discussions for SNACC and I will keep you posted as we move forward. The Trainee Engagement subcommittee under the able leadership of Dr. Shobana Rajan has now been appointed as a full committee given the rapidly expanding scope of its activity. I also want to welcome Dr. Abhijit Lele as the new chair of the Clinical Affairs committee and thank Dr. Michael ‘Luke’ James for his leadership of this committee for the past few years.
As you can see, despite the challenges, we are busy and rapidly moving forward in several domains. Our key to effectiveness and success is our diversity and inclusivity, key values of our organization, which allow us to learn from diverse perspectives of our expert clinicians, educators and scientists. We are fortunate at SNACC to benefit from the expertise of our members representing diverse experiences, backgrounds and geographic locations. We will continue to advance our mission together with your input. Please do not hesitate to email me directly if you have any feedback or suggestions. I would love to hear from you.
In conclusion, I once again wish you all the very best as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic together. I am sure with collaborative efforts we will come out successful. Thank you all very much.