We are happy to introduce our membership to the new “Member Spotlight” section of the ASNM Blog. In this section, we will periodically introduce individual members to the society-at-large, highlight some of their achievements and ask them interesting questions. We hope this affords members of the ASNM the opportunity to get to know each other. If you would like to recommend someone, including yourself, for the member spotlight, please contact Rich Vogel.
For our inaugural Member Spotlight, we chose Gene Balzer, PhD, FASNM.
Dr. Balzer, as he hates to be called, was the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Richard Brown Award. Gene has been monitoring cases continuously since 1982. He is a founding member of ASNM and was also a founding ABNM board member. Dr. Balzer has over 100 publications, book chapters and presentations. His contributions to the ASNM, and the field of IONM at-large, are extensive. We sent Gene a bunch of statements and asked him to complete the sentence. His responses are posted below:
The greatest technological advancement in neuromonitoring has been:
Nice question to ask the oldest guy in the bunch. First, it would be the miniaturization of the computers (keep in mind, my first machine weighed 684 lbs.). Second, it would be the internet, so I wasn’t solo in the OR (more below). Third, it would be the TcMEP.
The best career advice I’ve ever received is:
FLAP – Finish, Like A Pro(fessional). My dad would always tell us, "If you finish everything with the same vigor as you start, you will be amazed how many times you are successful." And, to go with that, he’d tell us, "You don’t get a chance to re-play the down (as in a down in football), so give your best effort all the way thru the play".
A great article that everyone in the profession should read is:
Everything you can get your hands on, and everything that comes out. Everything, well beyond the IONM literature alone, is a building block to recognizing impact on patient care and improving outcomes. And, keep in mind, unlike when I started (I would push the machine into the room and a carry a 3 ring binder full of articles related to anything to do with the case), now, you have full access to your library, and the world’s library, at your fingertips. But, my best answer remains to read, read and read. Nothing is a constant.
The best thing about attending an ASNM meeting is:
Truthfully, drawing on a bar napkin! The best thing about our Society, and profession, is the group is so small and everyone is so approachable. Sitting down with someone and asking questions and getting information, opinions and advice is readily available to every attendee. So, take advantage of it.
One of my favorite apps is:
Seriously, I am just happy when my phone rings and the person on the other end says “hello”! But, I would have to say, I do enjoy the TED talks app and getting snapchats from my kids, although I have no clue how to send one!
A common misconception about _________ is: _________.
A common misconception about life is that it is easy and fair. Life will throw you curve balls, sometimes sharp and difficult to handle; relax and deal with it. You can only be the best person you can be.
My favorite film(s) of all time is/are:
Well it would have to be Pretty Woman... “Hollywood, city of dreams, everyone has one, what’s yours”.
At the top of my travel bucket-list is:
Anytime I get to leave North Dakota in the Winter! Snow and cold are fun when your 10 years old, not some much when you have to shovel it.
My favorite hobby is:
Farming: helping plants and people grow and develop into something wonderful. Helping someone develop as a clinician, manager, leader is like growing great tomatoes.
One of my pet peeves is:
Lack of accountability, not finishing like a pro…
If I didn’t become a neurophysiologist, I probably would have been a(n):
Truthfully, I don’t really know, I started doing this when I was 19 years old, doing ABR’s in the Neonatal nursery, and I have no regrets. I have met, befriended and learned from 3 generations of people passionate about this patient care activity.
If you would like to contact Gene Balzer, he can be found in the Membership Directory at the top of this page.
That concludes our inaugural Member Spotlight. Please be sure to subscribe to this blog so you can stay up-to-date on communications from the ASNM!