Transcript from Chairman’s Address, 23rd June 2022 1930hrs
“Good evening, and thank you for joining the Intraoperative Neurophysiology Society of Asia-Pacific’s extraordinary general meeting.
Whilst this is an online meeting, we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are meeting, and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present, and the Aboriginal Elders of other communities.
The INSA executive council is represented this evening by our Treasurer, Mr Anthony Kyte; Secretary Ms Yin May Lin; and myself as Chair and President. Apologies: Registrar and Public Officer, Ms Ruthie Dellow, Dr Brian Hsu, medical officer; Dr Kejia Teo, medical officer and Dr Adam Hastings, education and accreditation.
We are thankful to have the opportunity to host this long-overdue extraordinary general meeting, and we’re excited to inform members of the progress we’ve made towards our current strategic vision surrounding clinical education and accreditation relating to intraoperative neurophysiology within the Asia Pacific Region.
As per recent member correspondence, the executive council attempts to meet on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule. Naturally, this has been rendered challenging at times in consideration of demanding clinical workloads as practicing neuroscience professionals. However, we are optimistic that the goals we publicly outlined in September 2020 remain within our reach, the ultimate goal of course to produce a viable platform for ongoing education and accreditation of medical and scientific professionals relating to clinical electrophysiology within the intraoperative setting.
Phase One of the INSA strategic vision was designed to transition from the Australasian Association of Intraoperative Monitoring (AAIM), in order to promote a more inclusive and accessible society, which was unanimously supported by AAIM members. This included the introduction of our DISCOVERY platform, the prospect of formal strategic partnerships with tertiary institutions and hospitals, as well as research advocacy and increased exposure for member growth. We are pleased to inform members that since our re-launch we have maintained membership retention levels and observed a moderate increase of membership.
During this time, we have trialled an online registration system generated by Stripe and powered by MemberPress, which has received a mixed reception – and rightfully so. The functionality of this system was designed to “digitise” the “analog” membership processes previously endorsed by AAIM, however has resulted in some teething problems along the way with regard to recurring memberships. The executive council has since approved funds dedicated to re-design of this portal, which will still be via Stripe, with the hope of enabling more efficient membership processes. This will also include an updated website and education portal to more effectively organise our growing library of lectures and educational content.
The DISCOVERY platform itself has received positive feedback from members, and represents an inflection point synonymous with the purpose of scientific societies; that member value is most often derived from ongoing education and engagement. We are thankful for contributions from world-class neurosurgeons and neurophysiology professionals, including Prof Hugues Duffau, Prof Jay Shils, Dr Rich Vogel and Prof Kate Drummond. We are also pleased to announce our most recent profile on paediatric neurosurgeon and fellowship-trained neurophysiologist, Professor Francesco Sala, entitled ‘I don’t mind, I love New York’. This extensive profile explores the life and career of a world-leading and highly recognised surgeon-scientist, of which we hope will be of great value and interest to members. We are also introducing “10-minute IONM” lecturettes, the first of which was developed by Mr Anthony Kyte, exploring techniques relating to the monitoring and differentiation between the fifth and seventh cranial nerves in cerebellopontine angle surgery. Further to this, we intend on placing the spotlight on our members with ‘IONM-You’, which details people’s background and experiences in the field.
The executive council have also recently agreed to plan for an in-person workshop in quarter four of the calendar year 2022. The details of this workshop are yet to be defined, however it will likely be a single day conference-style workshop with multiple lectures and hands-on practicals. We are accepting suggestions and requests for topics of interest, or for recommended guest speakers. More on this to follow.
The biggest and arguably most important responsibility of this society is to establish parameters regarding member accreditation for the clinical practice of intraoperative neurophysiology. This has been a topic that has been frequently explored among professionals, and is not to be introduced as a means for arbitrary administration, but rather, to attempt to standardise clinical practice according to international guidelines that reduce disparity in quality of care. We have explored formal approaches to developing this via the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (or AHPRA), however we have agreed to introduce this pathway unofficially, and hopefully towards the end of the year. This would resemble something of an academic assessment in conjunction with an in-person board examination, and would be offered within the Asia Pacific region, where no comparable accreditation exists.
With regard to strategic partnerships, we are continually in discussion with the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, part of Australia’s highest-ranking medical school, to formally recognise INSA as a governing body associated with post-graduate programs in professional medical education involving clinical neurophysiology. Similarly, we have initiated conversations with the American Society of Neurophysiological Monitoring (ASNM), and the Intraoperative Society of Intraoperative Neurophysiology (ISIN), so we can ensure that previously established best-practice techniques remain consistent globally.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to again remind members that the current executive council will be stepping down formally in March 2023. This means we are accepting nominations for president, secretary, treasurer and registrar positions, in addition to medical officers of neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, education/accreditation and/or anaesthesia. If you know someone interested in contributing to this society, or someone suited to one of these positions, please feel free to submit a nomination via our website, or please contact me for a confidential discussion. This is an opportunity for experienced intraoperative neurophysiology professionals, budding professionals, academics and medical doctors who wish to contribute to the development of a formal scientific society for a two year term. We are also thankful for nominations that have been received thus far.
In closing, and on behalf of the INSA executive council, I would like to thank our members for their continued support. Intraoperative neurophysiology is a very niche subset of clinical neuroscience with an estimated 300 or less practitioners throughout Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. To us, INSA represents an important opportunity to meaningfully contribute to this growing field and discipline. I’m hopeful that with guidance and support from the existing executive council, the next generation of scientific leaders in this field will continue to work towards a viable and rewarding platform for clinical education and accreditation that members will seek and enjoy.
I would now like to invite our Treasurer, Mr Anthony Kyte, to present information pertaining to annual financial audits and records, and then we’re happy to accept questions from the audience.”