Chair’s Message – The Value of Competition

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Competition is a strong motivator: It sparks excellence and innovation and pushes us to do better. In neurosurgery, competition is a constant force. We compete for research funding, vie to recruit the most promising residents and seek glory on the softball field.

This spring, the Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF) launches the first annual Cushing Bowl – a competition amongst residency programs designed to increase engagement and further NREF’s mission. Participating programs can win points in three (3) categories: trivia, social media, and fundraising.

The winning program will receive the inaugural Cushing Bowl Trophy, a visiting lectureship from a member of AANS/NREF leadership, as well as bragging rights for the next year.

This is an opportunity for us to build community and encourage friendly competition, while raising funds to advance neurosurgical research and education. Contact the NREF team at for information on how your program can participate.

In June, we welcome the Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament, hosted by Columbia University, back to New York City’s Central Park after a two-year hiatus. Proceeds benefit the Andrew T. Parsa Honor Your Mentor Fund for brain tumor research. Will the reigning champions from Barrow Neurological Institute defend their title, or will they be dethroned?

Nowhere is the spirit of competition more vivid than the gridiron. Keeping players safe in their return to play has been the life’s work of our newest Honor Your Mentor Fund honoree, Dr. Joe Maroon. The Joseph C. Maroon Fund/Chuck Noll Foundation has been established to fund research in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of brain injury in sports. This Fund honors Dr. Maroon for his pioneering dedication to research and education in the prevention and treatment of sports-related brain injuries.

Thanks to Dr. Maroon, and other investigators supported by the Chuck Noll Foundation and the NREF, we have learned a lot about concussions and sports-related brain injuries.

However, more remains unknown across all neurosurgical subspecialties.


Join NREF in our quest to deliver another record-setting year of funding cutting-edge courses and merit-based grants. Your donation will help fund breakthroughs leading to improved outcomes for our patients. Neurosurgery Wins.


It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as the chair of the NREF and I thank you for including the NREF in your philanthropy.




Michael W. Groff, MD, FAANS

NREF Chair

NREF is the Philanthropic Arm of the AANS

Contact Us

5550 Meadowbrook Industrial Ct.
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008-3852