Enews March 2018

Chair’s Message

The NREF Board of Directors met recently, and are pleased to report on these accomplishments:

Endowment continues to increase, notably with nearly 900 individual neurosurgical donors to the Honor Your Mentor funds. To date, we have collected $2,888,000, with pledges of over $4,226,000.

The Cushing Circle of Giving contributors pledge at least $25,000, which can be payable over several years. This program continues to grow in leaps and bounds, now totaling 128 individuals and 38 institutions.

We emphasize good stewardship by offering several new clinical fellowships, new awards directed by the Joint Sections of Spine, Tumor and Cerebrovascular are being distributed and spinal clinical studies are being finalized for publication this year with NPA’s QOD Spine.

We continue to develop relationships with affiliated foundations, such as B*Cured, who raises funds for brain tumor research, and the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research program. B*Cured provides $50,000 toward adult or pediatric tumor research annually and the Chuck Noll Foundation distributed $278,000 in its first year. Visit their website for more information.


  • A new Rhoton $40,000 fellowship was established.
  • The American Academy of Neurological Surgery has donated $50,000 for research this year, in addition to their annual contribution of $40,000.
  • New NREF Pubic Board Member Flagg Flanagan, CEO of DiscGenics, was introduced. 
  • The Medical Student Summer Research Fellowships were increased a couple of years ago from 20 to 25, thanks to the support of Dr. Aaron Cohen-Gadol, who is donating royalties.
  • The Neurosurgical Society of America (NSA) has pledged to become a Cushing level member.
  • We now have established NREF Post-residency Clinical Fellowship directed grants, with Globus Medical providing the initial contribution of $225,000 for Spine Fellowships.

We learned with great sadness of the passing of Dr. Charles Wilson. Donations in his memory can be made to the Charles Wilson Honor Your Mentor Fund at https://www.nref.org/en/Honor-Your-Neurosurgical-Mentor/Charles-B-Wilson.

We would also like to acknowledge the Bagan Family Foundation for their recent contribution to their endowment with the NREF. Dr. Merwyn Bagan and his family have funded a number of Research Grants and Young Clinician Investigator Awards over the years through the funds generated from this endowment, and we are grateful.

As always, thank you for your generous financial support of education and research for the neurosurgical community. With your help, we will continue to grow stronger, supporting the needs and purposes of the specific funds established by Sections, institutions, state and regional societies, affiliated organizations and private donors.


Regis W. Haid Jr., MD, FAANS

NREF Chair

NREF Year-End Raffle Winner

Congratulations to Dr. Mark and Mrs. Julie McLaughlin, winners of the 2017 NREF Year-End Raffle, who will enjoy dinner in the exclusive Chef’s Tasting Room at the award-winning restaurant, August, during the 2018 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans. Bon Appetit!


In Memoriam

Charles Byron Wilson, MD, FAANS(L), passed away on February 24, 2018, at the age of 88. A lifetime of influential achievements in the field of neurosurgery gained him the respect of his peers worldwide.

Donations in memory of Dr. Wilson can be made by visiting the Charles B. Wilson Honor Your Mentor Fund page. All donations will support funding for brain tumor research.

To learn more about Dr. Wilson and his extraordinary career, the UCSF Department of Neurosurgery offered this remembrance.


New Honor Your Mentor Funds Launched

The NREF established Honor Your Mentor (HYM) Funds in 2014 to celebrate the work, influence and mentoring of its neurosurgical peers. In 2014, there were six HYM funds and pledges totaled $177,195 from 37 donors.

Today, there are 40 HYM funds with pledges totaling over $4.2 million from over 890 donors, including these newly established funds

The Christopher I. Shaffrey fund was established to promote research in spinal deformities.











The Shelly D. Timmons fund will support leadership development for all young neurosurgeons.








The Hoi Sang U fund will support research into the molecular mechanisms of neurosurgical diseases with a focus on neurotrauma, neuro-oncology or aging.


Click here to view a list of current HYM Fund honorees or to make a donation.






Visit NREF at 2018 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting

Traveling to New Orleans next month for the 2018 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting?

If so, we hope you will stop by and visit the NREF in Booth #2139. We will be distributing copies of the limited edition Rhoton Collection® calendar, curated by Cushing Circle of Giving member, Jeffrey M. Sorenson, MD, FAANS.

And if you need a break from sessions and meetings, make a donation to the NREF and you can enjoy a spirited game of bags! Winners will receive a custom NREF apron – just in time for barbecue season!





Two New Cerebrovascular Traveling Fellowships Awarded

Congratulations to the inaugural recipients of the Joint Cerebrovascular Section Traveling Fellowship: Andrew Phillip Carlson, MD, MS, FAANS, and Peter Kan, MD, FAANS. The award presentation was made on January 23 at the CV Section meeting in Los Angeles.

This new fellowship will allow a practicing, CAST-certified neurointerventionalist (of any specialty) to visit a high-volume cerebrovascular center for a one-week observership.


NREF Development Committee member, Adam S. Arthur, MD, MPH, FAANS, of Semmes-Murphey Clinic in Memphis, Tenn., in collaboration with members of the AANS/CNS Cerebrovascular Section, developed this valuable fellowship to help facilitate the spread of information from experienced centers and operators to those with less experience. According to Dr. Arthur, “this type of observership, while once common, has become more difficult to arrange in the press of modern practice. However, the rapid evolution of the field and the increase in the number of cerebrovascular centers has created a need for this program.”

The Université de Montréal will host Dr. Carlson, while Dr. Kan will be at the Barrow Neurological Institute.

The fellowship has also received enthusiastic support from the corporate community to provide the funds for two fellowships in 2018 and the monies for future awards. “The NREF is grateful to Medtronic and MicroVention, who continue to step up, supporting the NREF in its mission to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders in medicine receive cutting-edge experience to expand their knowledge and ultimately improve patient care,” stated NREF chair, Dr. Regis Haid.

Cushing Circle of Giving Growing By Leaps and Bounds

Honoring Dr. Harvey William Cushing, a pioneer in brain surgery and the father of the specialty, the Cushing Circle of Giving is a lifetime giving society, recognizing members with pledges or cumulative donations of $25,000 or more to NREF.

Four years ago, this society included 35 individual members and no institutional members. Today, the Cushing Circle has 128 individual members and 38 institutional members.

We extend our sincere thanks to the newest members of the Cushing Circle:

  • Jeffrey P. Blount, MD, FAAP, FAANS
  • Mrs. Elise Lapeyre Connolly
  • Martin M. Henegar, MD, FAANS
  • Stephen M. Pirris, MD, FAANS
  • Shonda & Timothy C. Ryken, MD, FAANS
  • Martin H. Weiss, MD, FAANS(L)
  • Neurosurgical Society of America
  • Section of Neurosurgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

The NREF salutes the following Cushing Circle members for their increased commitment:

  • Jon H. Robertson, MD, FAANS (Silver level)
  • Dr. & Mrs. Regis W. Haid Jr. (Platinum level)


All lifetime donations apply toward your membership in the Cushing Circle of Giving. All donors receive these benefits:





  • Cushing Circle of Giving pin
  • Invitation to NREF Donor Reception and access to exclusive Donor Lounge at the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting
  • Eligible Cushing Circle members receive tickets to the Cushing Luncheon and President’s Reception
  • Recognition on Donor Wall signage and in the NREF Booth each spring
  • Acknowledgement on Cushing Circle of Giving page of NREF.org
  • Acknowledgement in the NREF section of the AANS Annual Report


Pledges may be paid as a one-time contribution or over a period of years.

Target your donation to the fund of your choice. Select from 40 Honor Your Mentor funds, support QOD initiatives, the Van Wagenen Fellowship Fund or donate to neurosurgery’s greatest need, education, research or outcomes in your subspecialty.

To make a pledge or donation, visit www.nref.org/Donate.


Second International Brain Mapping Course Featuring International Faculty

Registration is open for the Second International Brain Mapping Course to be held April 26-27, 2018, in New Orleans immediately prior to the 2018 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting. This AANS Masters course is being held in cooperation with the NREF.

An international faculty will present advances, advantages and practical issues in contemporary preoperative and intraoperative brain mapping applications in brain tumor and functional neurosurgery. Course directors include: Mitchel S. Berger, MD, FAANS, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Richard W. Byrne, MD, FAANS, Rush University Medical Center and Hugues Duffau, MD, Hôpital Gui de Chauliac. Gregory Hickok, PhD, University of California, Irvine, will be an Honored Guest.

Led by faculty from major brain mapping centers in Europe, North America and Asia, the Second International Brain Mapping Course will be presented in five sessions over two days:


Session 1: Functional Anatomy, Physiology and Brain Mapping With Imaging

Session 2: Dinner Session, Special Lectures: Dr. Gregory Hickok

Session 3: Intraoperative and Extra-operative Mapping

Session 4: Lunch Session: Case Discussions, Practical Aspects of Cortical Mapping

Session 5: Special Topics - Controversies and the Future of Brain Mapping

Course Objectives:

  • Describe both the anatomic and functional anatomy of eloquent cortex.
  • Explain the indications for brain mapping in neurosurgery.
  • List the potential pitfalls in sensitivity and specificity in each brain mapping technique.
  • Describe areas of developing research in brain mapping techniques and technology.

Visit the Annual Meeting website to register today!

Save the Date for the 15th Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament

The 15th Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament, hosted by Columbia University, is planned for Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Central Park, New York City. This date has been designated as “Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament Day” in New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio, with proceeds benefiting the NREF – the philanthropic arm of the AANS.

A post-tournament reception will be held in midtown Manhattan for all participants. 

All AANS members are invited to get involved. For more information regarding the tournament and post-tournament reception, contact Ricardo J. Komotar, MD, FAANS (rkomotar@med.miami.edu); or Jeffrey N. Bruce, MD, FAANS (jnb2@columbia.edu). 

The tournament will feature a field of 40 teams from across the U.S, Canada and Caribbean.



2018 participants include:

Barrow Neurological Institute 

Case Western University

Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates

Columbia University

Duke University

Emory University

Harvard University

Indiana University

Johns Hopkins University

Mayo Clinic

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

New York University

Northwestern University

Pennsylvania State University

Rutgers University

The George Washington University

The Ohio State University

The University of Alabama

The University of Buffalo

The University of Tennessee

The University of Texas - Houston

The University of Utah

The University of Virginia

Thomas Jefferson University

University of California, San Francisco

University of Colorado

University of Florida

University of Kansas

University of Miami

University of Michigan

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh

University of Puerto Rico

University of South Florida

University of Toronto

Vanderbilt University

Wake Forest University

Washington University

Weill Cornell Medical College/Memorial Sloan-
     Kettering Cancer Center

Yale University 

For more information on the tournament, or to make a donation, visit www.neurocharitysoftball.org.

How to Give to the Fund of Your Choosing

  • Apple Pay

    Text “NREF” to 312-313-NREF (6733) to receive a link. Simply click on the link, login and pay using either a credit card or Apple Pay.

  • Planned Gifts  The NREF offers donors a variety of Charitable Planning Strategies, including planned gifts, bequests, stock transfers, royalties and more. For more information, call 847.378.0500 and ask for the NREF or email the staff at info@nref.org. Individuals should talk with their personal tax advisor or financial planner to determine which charitable giving strategy is best for his or her own needs.
  • Memorials & Tributes
  • The Celebrate a Life program is an opportunity for neurosurgeons, patients and their families and friends to make a gift in support of neurosurgical education and research. Memorial and tribute donations make medical advances possible, while allowing donors to honor someone special in their life or the memory of someone who is no longer with them.

  • The community of Rocky River, Ohio, raised funds for a research grant in memory of eight-year-old Kate Carney, who passed away in 2015 after suffering an AVM. Donations from friends and family have been matched by NREF to fund the NREF & Kate Carney Family 2018-19 Young Clinician Investigator Award that was awarded to Anthony Wang, MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Donor-Advised Funds Individuals can contribute to the NREF through a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) – a philanthropic vehicle that allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and then recommend distribution from the fund over time. Donors may contribute to their donor-advised fund as frequently as they would like and can then recommend a grant to the NREF when they are ready to make a gift. DAFs are available through Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab and other financial institutions.
  • Retail Throughout the year, proceeds from selected purchases made through AmazonSmile and iGive.com benefit NREF.

For more information on donation opportunities, visit www.nref.org/Donate.

Donations to the NREF support programs that extend opportunities for neurosurgeons to collaborate and make progress in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and improved patient care.

Your generosity makes it possible for the NREF to advance the practice of neurosurgery.

To see how the NREF has provided educational opportunities for neurosurgeons and supported studies that identify links between best practices and improved outcomes in patient care, please view our 2017 Stewardship Report.

To make a gift to the NREF in your subspecialty or to honor your mentor, visit our secure Donate page. Together, we are making a difference in patients’ lives.


NREF is the Philanthropic Arm of the AANS

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