By Wade Smith, MD, PhD, FNCS
A 'See You Soon' and a 'Farewell'
Dear NCS Members,
As I write my final message as NCS President, I’m looking forward to connecting with you all at the NCS 19th Annual Meeting — in both our Chicago and virtual venues. On behalf of the Board of Directors and Annual Meeting Committee, I am pleased to share that NCS will be moving forward with our Annual Meeting as planned, with both in-person and virtual participation options. Offering two ways to attend is a fantastic opportunity to reconnect personally and professionally for the first time in nearly two years. It is our goal to deliver a meaningful experience filled with top-notch learning, innovation and networking opportunities, no matter how you choose to attend.
We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic and Delta variant continue to create uncertainty. These factors were of utmost importance as we moved forward with our decision. For background, NCS leadership has carefully monitored federal, state and city guidelines and mandates. We have kept in close communication with our speakers, presenters and registrants to explore their continued desire to participate, as well as any new concerns for attendance. After careful conversations that involved considerations of all the implications of various options, NCS chose to move forward, with confidence, to allow those who want to attend the in-person option of our meeting in Chicago.
Your freedom to choose your desired way to attend is a key priority for us. I encourage you to visit the NCS Annual Meeting website to review what the in-person and virtual meeting experiences will look like. Because your safety is our top priority, please bookmark the Health and Safety webpage for the latest policies for our gathering, including NCS’s partnership with CLEAR, mask requirements, and providing proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email the NCS staff. I cannot wait to strengthen my passion for our practice alongside all of you in Chicago and online.
I look forward to closing this chapter of my NCS journey with you at the Annual Meeting. It has been an honor to serve as your president of the society. It was a wonderful opportunity to provide leadership during hard times and come out with a more healthy and robust society upon completion. Since I co-founded the society nearly 20 years ago, I had planned to go through the officer’s rotation in the future. What happened between the society’s founding and the time I entered as secretary is truly astonishing. We took a society that was physician-centered and male-dominated to a society full of diversity in gender, ethnicity and training to become a truly multidisciplinary organization. These changes were based on high-quality leadership that listened to our members and made consistent, incremental changes. As the volunteer hours rose exponentially, we created a robust society that has a tight committee structure, planned rotations of members, a solid board of directors, established the Curing Coma® Campaign, and now a foundation that will accelerate our fundraising. We have created an educational products structure that serves our membership and the world of clinicians, nurses and pharmacists, and the income from our products greatly helps us remain independent.
I have grown personally during this process. The NCS headquarters staff has become a second family. Our growth and integrity is virtually guaranteed by this team of professionals. Time and time again, I have been impressed with their style of providing perspectives as our members continue to innovate and strive for higher achievements. I know that our officers, executive committee and board of directors have high standards, and I am comforted to know our staff has our backs. In particular, I wish to thank Executive Director Sharon Allen for her calm, intelligent and creative leadership that has helped us weather the storms of recent. I thank her for my education on diversity. In addition, I wish to thank Pique Founder and CEO Becca Stickney, who shared the vision of ENLS® and who has managed a magnificent process of disseminating educational materials to the world.
I am proud that NCS focuses first on the patient and on our medical professionals, as well as researching the causes of the diseases we treat and contemplate each day. A close friend of mine once said, “The problem with you doctors is that you are not scalable.” Well, perhaps this is true when working one-on-one with patients we encounter daily, but it is far from the truth as we create a society with the goal to scale our profession to the world and our research that solves problems for everyone. We should all be proud of what we have created, and I look forward to seeing what follows.
Wade Smith, MD, PhD, FNCS
President, NCS Board of Directors
Professor of Neurology, UCSF