AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 4, 2019


NREF's Continued Growth

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NREF Continues to Grow by Offering New Fellowships

As the philanthropic arm of the AANS, the Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF) is dedicated to funding groundbreaking neurosurgical research and providing extraordinary educational opportunities for neurosurgeons at all stages of their careers. The new funded programs include the following:

  • In addition to the post-residency clinical fellowships that have been offered since 2010, NREF introduced four new spine-directed post-residency clinical fellowships this year (beginning July 1, 2018), funded by our industry partners. Globus Medical is supporting three $75,000 year-long fellowships and Medtronic is funding a $55,000 fellowship. With the addition of these new fellowships, NREF is now providing $770,000 in post-residency clinical fellowships and an additional $150,000 is currently being negotiated in conjunction with a new corporate partner.
  • Two new microanatomical medical student summer research fellowships were added this year, funded by the Albert L. Rhoton Jr. Honor Your Mentor Fund. Twenty medical student summer research fellowships have been funded each year by NREF since 2008 and five additional fellowships are being supported through a generous grant by Aaron Cohen-Gadol, MD, MBA, FAANS, again this year. With the addition of the two new fellowships, there are now 27 summer research projects funded by NREF for medical students who have completed one or more years of medical school and are mentored by an AANS member/neurosurgical investigator sponsor.
  • A first-time collaboration between NREF and a community in Ohio that raised funds in the memory of a young girl who passed from a cerebral arteriovenous malformation has resulted in a new $40,000 Young Clinician Investigator Award beginning July 1, 2018. It is focused on AVM characterization and their surrounding astrocytes. The NREF & Kate Carney Family 2018-2019 Young Clinician Investigator Award exemplifies the importance and showcases the generosity that can result from a successful outreach to the general public.
  • The Albert L. Rhoton Jr. Honor Your Neurosurgical Mentor Fund is supporting a first-time $40,000 Young Clinician Investigator Award to Maria Peris-Celda, MD, for the establishment of the Professor Rhoton North-East Anatomy Laboratory at the Neuroscience Institute at Albany Medical College in New York beginning July 1, 2018. According to Dr. Peris-Celda, “This emerging laboratory in Albany, NY aims to follow the same principles of Professor Rhoton. As part of the neurosurgical community — and especially as a former fellow of Professor Rhoton — I am committed to continuing his legacy in some way. My main objective is to keep his philosophy and teaching alive through new research and by adding new material to the Rhoton Collection®.”
  • The American Academy of Neurological Surgery has been a prolific supporter of NREF Young Clinician Investigator Awards and Research Grants over the years. This year, in addition to providing partial funding to a research grant and a Young Clinician Investigator award, the Academy is fully funding a 2018-2019 Young Clinician Investigator Award in the amount of $40,000 starting July 1, 2018.


The research grants, investigator awards, post-residency clinical fellowships, medical student fellowships and other awards have been funded through collaborations with corporate partners, the AANS/CNS Sections, private foundations, the American Academy of Neurological Surgery and other affiliated organizations, as well as the generosity of neurosurgeons who support the progress of neurosurgical research and educating the next generation of the specialty. The complete list of awardees and their funders can be found on the Grants & Awards tab of the NREF website.

Education of Neurosurgeons at all Career Stages Continues to be a Focus of NREF

The AANS/NREF Resident Courses provide advanced training in areas not always covered within neurosurgical residency and are fully funded by industry partners. Fall courses include MIS and Emerging Spinal Technologies, Skull Base for Senior Residents, Endovascular Techniques (fellows), and Endovascular and Vascular Techniques (residents). Residency program directors and residency coordinators are asked to nominate residents prior to each course.

Last year, a neurocritical care course was offered for mid-career neurosurgeons and plans are in place for a similar educational program in August, in conjunction with the AANS/CNS Section on Neurotrauma & Critical Care. The Second International Brain Mapping Course was held prior to the 2018 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting in April and more webinars are being planned for this fall. Course and webinar details are posted on the NREF website.

Recognizing Mentors with 45 Honor Your Mentor Funds

There are a number of reasons to make a contribution to one of the 45 Honor Your Neurosurgical Mentor Funds – to support your subspecialty, to fund the specific purpose of the fund, to express gratitude for a mentor’s work and support and more. All fund donors are identified on each fund’s webpage.

New funds are introduced often and are supported by neurosurgeons, industry partners and the general public. Visit the NREF website for the complete list of active funds.  

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Introducing Neurosurgical Residents into the Culture of Philanthropy through NREF

The Young Neurosurgeons Circle of Giving is an opportunity for residents to express their gratitude to a mentor or support a cause or subspecialty during residency. The donors who pledge or contribute $500 or more during residency are acknowledged on the NREF website and receive other benefits. All donations made during residency are applied to the lifetime giving total for eventual induction into the NREF Cushing Circle of Giving for those with donations of $25,000 or more. As of May 20, 2018, the Young Neurosurgeons Circle of Giving includes:

Gold Level:  

Nitin Agarwal, MD – Univ. of Pittsburgh Neurosurgical Residency

Silver Level:

Stephen T. Magill, MD, PhD – Univ. of California/San Francisco Neurosurgical Residency

Bronze Level:

Joel Beckett, MD – Univ. of California/Los Angeles Neurosurgical Residency

Lisa Anne Feldman, MD – Virginia Commonwealth University Neurosurgical Residency

Allen H. Ho, MD – Stanford University Neurosurgical Residency

Ibrahim Hussain, MD – New York Presbyterian/Cornell Neurosurgical Residency

Jonathan Pace, MD – Case Western Reserve Neurosurgical Residency

Visish M Srinivasan, MD – Baylor College of Medicine Neurosurgical Residency

Steven Tenny, MD – Univ. of Nebraska Neurosurgical Residency

Pinnacle Partners Make Research and Fellowships Possible

Corporate support to the Pinnacle Partner in Neurosurgery Program is a commitment by our industry partners to advance the field of neurosurgery and improve patient care. Pinnacle Partners provide the funding for neurosurgical research grants and fellowships that oftentimes serves as a springboard to future research opportunities, such as additional funding from NIH and other sources. These success stories are highlighted on the NREF website.

Pinnacle Partner Program benefits for our industry partners include participation in the Corporate Leadership Council Meeting or similar meetings, recognition at the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting and visibility on the NREF website and in electronic publications such as AANS Neurosurgeon.

The NREF gratefully acknowledges these corporations for demonstrating their support to research and education this year:

Brainlab Codman Neuro

DePuy Synthes Globus Medical

Integra Leica Microsystems

Medtronic Paradigm Spine

Synaptive Medical Varian Medical Systems

Carl Zeiss  


About NREF

Contributions to NREF support education and research and allow NREF to collaborate and advance the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and improve patient care in neurosurgery. To make a gift to the NREF in your subspecialty for education, research, registries or to honor your mentor, visit our secure Donate page. Every donation — no matter the size — makes a difference in patients’ lives.

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