Martin Rakusa, Ayaz M. Khawaja* and Johann Sellner**
Dept. of Neurology, University Medical Centre Maribor, Slovenia, *Dept. of Neurology, University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, Birmingham, AL, USA, ** Dept. of Neurology, Christian Doppler Medical Center, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria
The 68th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) was held from April 15th to April 21st, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada. Again, major efforts were directed towards activities aimed at addressing issues faced by residents and fellows during their training. This year, a new format of Experiential Learning was introduced. There, the upcoming generation of neurologists could obtain comprehensive information on training, research, writing papers and grant proposals. Notably, activities went beyond the support for career mentoring in academic medicine. Additional offers included breakout sessions on patient advocacy, health insurance issues affecting the patients, billing and coding, coping with medical errors and difficult diagnoses, transferring to the private practice, various networking events, and neurologist burnout, amongst many others. The activities were well-received and also attracted the interest of medical students planning a career in neurology.
Major issues on international Resident and Fellow activities were discussed during the international round table at the Navigating Your Career area. The IWGYNT meetings are held under the auspices of the International Working Group of Young Neurologists and Trainees (IWGYNT) chaired by Tissa Wijeratne (Melbourne, Australia). Successful meetings had been organised since the introduction of this round table by former IWGYNT president Walter Struhal (Austria) in 2011 and were hosted at the AAN annual meetings by board members of the Consortium of Neurology Residents and Fellows (CNRF). Importantly, discussions on worldwide resident and fellow activities undertaken at the IWGYNT meeting at the AAN conference in 2015 paved the way for publication of a paper within the Global Perspectives of the Neurology journal (official publication of the AAN) (1). This year, the CNRF was represented by Ayaz M. Khawaja (Chair), Logan D. Schneider (past-chair), Eugene L. Scharf (chair-elect) and Abhimanyu Mahajan (upcoming chair-elect). The IWGYNT was represented by Johann Sellner (Austria) and Martin Rakusa (Slovenia). The main topic of the round table was the advancement of residency training and assessment of training goals. The participants representing North America, European Union, United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, and Australia discussed the spectrum of neurology training in a global context. Moreover, CNRF board members presented their survey on residency and training in the USA (2). We also presented the results of a recent cross-sectional survey in Europe using the US survey as template (3). In further discussion, we talked about problems, which may prevent neurologists from moving between countries. The attendees were intrigued to learn that the board examination for medical subspecialties is recognised within countries of the European Union despite the fact that residency programmes are not uniform in length and content. On the other hand, neurologists in North-America cannot freely move between the states. They have to initiate a new licensure process for every state they wish to practice in, which is a process that can several months to completion. Other licensing and board certification requirements are imposed for relocation from USA to Canada due to differences in residency training structures, although relocating from Canada to USA is similar to changing states within USA. .
Officers from CRNF expressed their wish to establish stronger international connections. To this end, the CRNF is working on an initiative to assign contributors from amongst the young neurologists to contribute to the new neurology blog Without Borders . Their interests are everyday practice in different countries of the world including resident achievements and potential problems encountered during training.
Speakers of the International Resident and Fellow Roundtable at the 68th AAN Annual Meeting. From left to right Johann Sellner, Ayaz M. Khawaja, Martin Rakusa, Eugene L. Scharf, Logan D. Schneider and Abhimanyu Mahajan.
- Rakusa M, Struhal W, Gak S, Tanprawate S, Balicza P, Khawaja AM, Schneider LD. Voice of young neurologists around the world. Neurology. 2016 doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002317.
- Jordan JT, Mayans D, Schneider L, Adams N, Khawaja AM, Engstrom J. Education Research: Neurology resident education: Trending skills, confidence, and professional preparation. Neurology. 2016 doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000002463.
- Györfi O, Moarcas M, Balicza P, Macerollo A, Struhal W, Sellner J. European junior neurologists perceive various shortcomings in current residency curricula. Acta Neurol Scand. 2015 doi:10.1111/ane.12533.