California association of neurological surgeons
Welcome to CANS
Advocating for the practice of neurosurgery in California to benefit our patients and profession
A Message From
January 27th, 2022
There is no greater honor than the validation of one’s colleagues, and I am sincerely humbled to take the helm of the California Association of Neurological Surgeons for its 50th anniversary year. At this occasion, I want to salute all the prior 46 CANS Presidents, the giants upon whose shoulders I have the privilege to stand. Dr. Byron Pevehouse, Dr. Hector James, and Dr. Mark Linskey all served two consequtive terms, so they are due double kudos!
Dr. Mark Linskey deserves a special mention as the leader who brought CANS through a global pandemic and all its Kafkaesque sequelae. He led us through a virtual meeting in 2021, and a very successful inperson meeting in La Jolla in 2022. Dr. Linskey’s steady hand, and strong leadership, spared CANS serious financial repercussions as a dynamic COVID-19 reality did not allow the final decision for the 2022 annual meeting to be finalized till four days prior to the meeting. Thanks Mark for not missing a beat, for such a fantastic venue and conference, and most importantly for keeping all our membership engaged over the last two years.
As I look ahead with great excitement, and some trepidation, to the year that lays ahead for CANS, and for me as its leader, I want to focus on a vision that will be reflected in my daily efforts for CANS, and with an eye towards our 50th Anniversary annual meeting in January 2023. I am keenly aware of the spotlight of history that destiny has placed upon us; I will make every effort to fulfill the expectation that our next annual meeting should propel us into our second half-century with vision, optimism, and purpose. My vision for the next year has been inspired by our membership, and involves three primary themes.
First, I want to offer a TRIBUTE to our residents, the next generation of leaders of our organization, and of our profession more broadly. Neurosurgery residents are uniformly the smartest, most committed, and hardest working physicians in any hospital lucky enough to have them, so I plan to tap into their genius to get this organization into the 21st century. I am confident that our residents have a lot to teach us, and I look forward to leveraging their unique skill sets.
Second, I wish to heed the advice of one of our neurosurgical pioneers, Wilder Penfield, who advised all neurosurgeons to pursue a second career (in addition to neurosurgery). His own second career involved authoring books on Hippocrates, on the mystery of the mind, and a best-selling autobiography. The Penfield advice seems especially relevant in the modern era, when life expectancies keep going up, and we cannot reliably count on the traditional neurosurgeon’s aspiration to work right up to the end, and then drop dead between surgeries. In following Dr. Penfield’s advice, my Second theme will involve expending some organizational energy on how to facilitate our membership’s interest in the EVOLUTION of the NEUROSURGICAL CAREER, from financial planning for our residents and fellows, to contracts review for younger colleagues, to next phase of life musings for all of us, and of course retirement planning for those in my age bracket.
The CANS website tab on HISTORY, notes: “The California Association of Neurological Surgeons (CANS) was founded by members who were very concerned about the need for a state neurosurgical organization to address socioeconomic issues relevant to the practice of neurosurgery.“ This brings me to my third theme for our 50th year, something that an expanding proportion of our membership is clamoring for: a SINCERE organizational introspection about matters related to DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION with respect to our membership, and our organizational priorities, with a DELIBERATE emphasis on recruitment and mentorship of women and underserved minorities into leadership trajectories for the next 50 years of this organization.
Under the broader rubric of Equity, I also include the concept of Health Equity, which simply stated, implies ensuring that everyone has the chance to be as healthy as possible. As the neurosurgical organization founded on SOCIO-ECONOMIC interests of neurosurgeons, I don’t believe we can ethically DIVORCE our own social-economic interests from those of our patients, and our communities. As the most educated people on the planet, neurosurgeons have many obligations, prominent among them is the necessity to remain RELEVANT & RESPONSIVE to the needs and interests of our evolving membership and the communities they serve. I promise to seek the advice of my brilliant colleagues to start this conversation, and like neurosurgeons have done forever, to lead from the front to position ourselves on the correct side of history.
Finally, I want to express my admiration for all CANS members and their families, who have engendered a sense of family in what is the largest state neurosurgical society in the USA. Several past CANS Presidents mentored me over the years, and in effect invited me to the CANS table– I aspire to pay this inclusiveness forward. I want to acknowledge my neurosurgery faculty, residents, and graduates from both my RUHS and DRMC residency programs, who are the embodiment of excellence and teamwork, and who have provided me valuable company throughout my professional journey. On a personal note, I cannot help but regret that my parents and older sister are not alive to witness my turn at the head of our extended family table. They would have been immensely proud of me, as I am of proud of their lives of dedication which I aspire to emulate. There is some consolation in knowing that my two children, Amman and Saira, have grown up in CANS, and my wife Seema, has made many friends there also. My sister has followed my CANS stories with interest from Canada, and now has another reason to be a well-wisher of our organization.
Javed Siddiqi, MD, DPhil (Oxon), FACS, FAANS
Be the Change
Chief of Neurosurgery, Dominican Hospital
CANS CMA Delegate
Since 1973, CANS has advocated for neurosurgeons and our patients in all practice settings in California on a state and national level.