Newswise — Today, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Foundation launched its Pathway to Neurosurgery program in Washington, DC. The initiative is dedicated to alleviating health care disparities by encouraging high school students from underrepresented groups to pursue a career in neurosurgery or medicine.
High school students from the E.L. Haynes, A District of Columbia Public Charter School, were selected to participate in a full-day symposium at the CNS Annual Meeting, an international conference of neurosurgeons gathering to discuss the latest advancements in the field. The guest students will attend inspiring presentations and participate in hands-on laboratory stations to gain insight into a neurosurgeon’s daily life. At the end of the symposium, the students will be invited to apply for scholarships, and up to two will be selected for year-long mentorships with local neurosurgeons in Washington, DC.
In recognition of this groundbreaking program, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed Sept. 7-13 as Pathway to Neurosurgery Week.
Elad I. Levy, MD, CNS president and professor and chair of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Buffalo, stated, “The CNS is thrilled that Mayor Bowser has recognized the Pathway to Neurosurgery program. As CNS president, it has been a privilege to witness the growth and development of this critical mission-centric project, offering exposure to the wonders of neuroscience to these exceptional students.”
Only 4% of practicing neurosurgeons in the U.S. are Black, 5% are Hispanic and 8% are women. In contrast, approximately 14% of the U.S. population are Black, 19% are Hispanic and 50% are women.
“African Americans, Hispanic Americans and women are significantly underrepresented in neurosurgery, and the CNS Pathway to Neurosurgery program aims to address this problem by promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in neurosurgery. Our goal is to inspire students to consider neurosurgery as a career option to foster innovations in patient care that can improve outcomes and reduce minority health disparities,” said Tiffany R. Hodges, MD, co-chair of the CNS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and associate professor of neurosurgery at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.
Edjah K. Nduom, MD, co-chair of the CNS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine, added, “There are persistent racial health disparities in the United States, including in neurosurgical care, and the evidence is clear that diversifying the neurosurgical workforce is an important tool in our fight to end these disparities. The CNS Foundation is working to expand the Pathway to Neurosurgery program nationwide to harness all of the diverse talent of our people to improve health outcomes for everyone.”
“This unique program highlights what we can achieve when we all come together. The CNS Foundation’s Pathway to Neurosurgery program will make a difference and open doors and opportunities that did not exist before,” concluded Martina Stippler, MD, chair of the CNS Foundation, vice-chief of the division of neurosurgery at Beth Israel Medical Center and associate professor of neurosurgery at Harvard University.
Neurosurgery is a highly specialized medical field dedicated to excellence in the diagnosis, treatment and surgical management of disorders affecting the nervous system (including the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves). The specialty plays a critical role in improving patient outcomes and advancing scientific knowledge in the neurosciences.
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Founded in 1951, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons is the global leader in neurosurgical education, serving to promote health and improve lives through innovative neurosurgical education, advancement of clinical practice & scientific exchange. The CNS Foundation’s philanthropic mission is to improve worldwide patient health by supporting innovative programs that allow neurosurgeons to collaborate globally as researchers, learners, educators, and caregivers. For more information, visit www.cns.org.