2018 Election
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PRESIDENT-ELECT


RICHARD VOGEL, PhD, D.ABNM
Neurophysiologist, SafePassage Health

Board Member-at-Large, ASNM
Director, American Board of Neurophysiologic Monitoring

EDUCATION

  • 2009: PhD Neuroscience – Indiana University
  • 2009: PhD Psychology – Indiana University
  • 2000: MS Psychology – St. Joseph’s University (PA)
  • 1998: BS Psychology – St. Joseph’s University (PA)

How do you feel you can contribute to the leadership of ASNM? What strengths/passions/talents do you hold that would benefit ASNM?

Leadership begins and ends with listening to understand the needs and values of the organization and its members. One must maintain an open mind, appreciate different perspectives, face and diffuse conflict, be decisive, and help groups with competing perspectives to find a middle ground and move forward. One must also have a clear understanding of how external factors influence the organization and its members. Finally, leadership requires one to develop and implement a vision for the future of the organization that positions it well for success. While this is not an all-encompassing description of what it takes to be a leader, I feel it represents the minimum of what I can offer to the ASNM as President.

I sincerely hope that my dedication to the ASNM, my passion for IONM, and my commitment to high-quality patient care are evident to all who know me. To those who don’t know me, much of what I’ve done for our society and our profession, since being elected to the Board, is described in the answers to other questions below, along with my vision for the future of the ASNM. I encourage you to read those answers and learn more about the work that I’m doing for you, and where I think we should go as a society. I hope you will find, as evidenced by my past and present work within ASNM, that I possess all of the traits necessary to lead our organization into the future. As President of the ASNM, I would continue along the same path of working tirelessly for the advancement of our profession. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to earn your vote.

With changes in health care service delivery and reimbursement, what and how do you feel you can contribute to keep ASNM moving forward in the right direction?

The key to moving forward in the right direction is doing it together. During these times of uncertainty, there are a few trends that we can expect to continue in healthcare, like declining reimbursements and a supply/demand imbalance in IONM expertise. In the paragraphs below, I present some of my ideas for how we can overcome these challenges and build a stronger future for IONM.

The first major challenge is that reimbursements for IONM will continue to decline. Our profession has made the unfortunate mistake of arguing efficacy from anecdote for many years and the jig is up. We all have stories of how we saved the day for individual patients, but insurance companies, hospitals and surgeons need hard evidence to justify utilization and payments. If we are to demonstrate efficacy, we must join forces with surgical societies and begin to amass large pools of accurate outcomes data. I’ve already started leading this charge by co-founding the first Section on IONM within the North American Spine Society (NASS).

We also have to do a better job at collaborating, sharing data and publishing our work in high volume. As president, I would like to see research take on a larger role at our annual meetings. Let’s expand poster presentations and use some of the speaker time to highlight cutting edge research.

Finally, we have to do something about all of the bad research that is being published. We need to get involved with peer review for journals, and write letters to editors to call-out bad research when we see it. At the last ASNM meeting, I asked the Board to consider writing letters to the editor whenever bad papers are published. This will be a new initiative for the Research Committee. So, we’re already moving in the right direction.

The second major challenge is demand for IONM expertise continues to outpace supply of experts. We need to recognize this fact, put politics aside and do something about it. It’s also time to put egos aside and raise the bar to demand more from practitioners at all levels. We need to work with hospitals and universities to establish structured training programs in IONM, again, at all levels. Also, we need to work to achieve a more balanced model for delivering care to patients, a model that includes various levels of practice [physician, non-physician doctor (D.ABNM), and CNIM technologist]. How this plays out will require communication and cooperation within and between various professional societies. I am a strong advocate for this type of collaboration. I fully support the neurodiagnostic licensure effort, and I believe the ASNM should take a stand to support this effort, too. As we move toward state licensure for technologists, the time has come for state licensure for D.ABNMs to practice in a supervisory role. These are very realistic goals.

Both of the challenges outlined above are significant, but not impossible to overcome. Our profession, as members of different organizations with slightly different missions/foci, must join forces, get organized, find common ground and look toward the future. It’s time to collaborate and work toward common goals, or we risk witnessing the demise of our entire profession. I believe that I have the ability to bring people together and find a way forward. As President of the ASNM, I would lead that effort.

ASNM constantly seeks ideas of how to better serve our membership through education, resources, representation to other professional entities, connections and networking or other means of advancement. What do you think ASNM could offer its members that would provide value?

Since being elected to the Board of Directors, I’ve been listening carefully to the opinions, comments and concerns from practitioners of IONM at all levels, including members and non-members alike. I frequently heard things like, “Who does the ASNM represent?”, “What does the Board do?”, “What is your position on THIS?”, “Why don’t you do something about THAT?” and “nothing ever gets done because all you do is argue.” The list goes on. Clearly, everyone to whom I spoke was thirsty for information, representation and progress. I realized that our membership needs to receive communication and support, to feel like they belong to a group whose members share a common purpose and passion, and our profession needs to have a voice.

In response to these needs, I began to envision a future in which the ASNM returns to its roots and leads a cultural change in our profession. We begin by looking within and focusing on communication, collaboration, education, research, evidence, efficacy and advocacy. Then, we look beyond our profession and become the voice of IONM as a practice. We must educate patients and re-educate surgeons, hospitals and payors about who we are. We must return to talking about IONM as a profession (not an industry), a science (not a service), a clinical practice (not a surgeon-directed commodity sold at the lowest cost and destined for automation). I envision that the ASNM will no longer be thought of (by some) as the “in-between” society (i.e., between ASET and ACNS); but, rather, as the go-to society for all practitioners at all levels of IONM. In listening to you, I developed a vision for our future, and I’ve already started the work!

In my very first act as a Board Member, I teamed up with like-minded visionary, Dr. Bryan Wilent. We developed a plan to modernize the ASNM’s image and resume communication with our membership. We began by completely redesigning our society’s website. We wanted to make it clean, modern, and easy to navigate, so we rebranded with a new logo and simplified the menu structure. We wanted to make it feel more like a community – a place where members interact with each other – so, we incorporated a network called SocialLink. We wanted to enhance communication and bring a steady stream of fresh, relevant content to our membership, so we incorporated a blog to replace the old Monitor Newsletter. By the time you read this, the new website will finally be live. It was 2 years in the making, but it’s still in its infancy, yet to be filled with information that will enhance your experience as a member of the ASNM. Hopefully the content will attract new members as well.

Of course, the website was just step one. In order to become the ASNM that I envision for the future, it takes a village, and I hope that some of you will join my quest to make these visions a reality. In the meantime, I want you to know that I’m listening, I’m working for you, and I have the kind of passion and commitment that it takes to lead the ASNM into the future.

Personal Statement
When I ran for the Board of Directors in 2015, I promised the ASNM membership that I would “make sure you have your voices heard”, and I would “advocate for education, research, communication and cooperation within our society, and between other professional organizations.” I hope you see from what I’ve written above that I’ve fulfilled all of those promises in my first year on the Board, and I hope you share my vision for the future of the ASNM. I like to think that I represent the next generation of leadership in our society. I have the energy and passion to do the work, and the benefit of learning from senior members, many of whom I have the privilege of calling mentor and friend. I want to maintain the founding principles of our society, grow our membership and keep our profession moving forward. If you believe in the importance of our profession, if you share my vision, then you should take action and vote for me as President of the ASNM. It would be my honor to lead us into the future.


MEMBERS-AT-LARGE

MEGAN ALCAUSKAS, MD
Staff Neurologist and Director of Education
RTNA

 

EDUCATION

  • B.S. in Biology, Boston College, 2001
  • M.D., Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City, 2005
  • Internal Medicine internship, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, 2006
  • Neurology Residency, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City, 2009

How do you feel you can contribute to the leadership of ASNM? What strengths/passions/talents do you hold that would benefit ASNM?

Education has been a central interest of mine throughout my life and career. I have taught and organized courses from the level of medical students up to that of my physician colleagues. I believe in evidence-based clinical practice and studying the data to help answer clinical questions. I look forward to expanding ASNM educational initiatives to offer lectures and courses aimed at different types of IOM practitioners and at providers working in related specialties. I see education as a way to build consensus in the field as well as a form of advocacy.

I have been involved in neurology research since I was an undergraduate and continue to be involved in the evidence-based analysis and communication of research findings both in my practice and in my role as Deputy Editor at the journal, Neurology. I would like to see the ASNM develop its involvement in IOM-related research by identifying key questions, organizing collaborations, sponsoring research and disseminating the results.

Technology is a cornerstone in the practice of IOM and the intersection between health care and technology is a special interest of mine. I would like to see the ASNM at the forefront of determining how technology can be used to improve patient care and provider experience across all IOM practice models. As one of the earliest adopters of telemedicine, the specialty of IOM, represented by the ASNM, is poised to be a leader in the future of how medicine is practiced.

With changes in health care service delivery and reimbursement, what and how do you feel you can contribute to keep ASNM moving forward in the right direction?

IOM continues to grow as a field because it plays a vital role in the care and safety of surgical patients. The best way to ensure the continued advancement of IOM as an industry is to continue to grow as a clinical specialty through education, collaboration and research and to advocate for ourselves by communicating our knowledge to surgeons and others involved in the care of surgical patients and to decision-makers concerned with health care delivery and reimbursement.

One of the obstacles to this process is the division in the field over the question of practice models. I spent several years as an in-house IOM neurologist at a large, urban medical center before becoming a full-time remote IOM neurologist and therefore understand the arguments on both sides. I can contribute to the continued growth of our field by working towards relieving the discord over practice models in order to present a united front in the advancement and advocacy of our field as a whole.

ASNM constantly seeks ideas of how to better serve our membership through education, resources, representation to other professional entities, connections and networking or other means of advancement. What do you think ASNM could offer its members that would provide value?

Many IOM physicians and technologists look to the ASNM for leadership in evidence-based decision-making. I would like to update and expand clinical guidelines to help build consensus within our field. I would also like to see the ASNM support critical IOM-research by identifying key unanswered questions and sponsoring teams to study them. Finally, I would like the ASNM to build and implement a specialty-wide outcomes database to better foster collaboration between groups and produce better data.
In addition, I would like to continue to develop the ASNM’s educational initiatives by developing resources designed for people in different professional roles and at different stages in their education (ie, students, experienced technologists, neurologists, etc) as well as expand educational offerings to those in related specialties, such as surgeons, scrub techs and nurse anesthetists. I would like the ASNM to expand its interest in healthcare technology and lead the field in the design, implementation and study of healthcare technology towards the goal of improving patient care across all practice models.

Personal Statement

I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, and then studied Biology at Boston College and Oxford University before graduating from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2005. I did my neurology residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and was then invited to stay on as faculty after graduating in 2009. I was trained in IOM by an expert neurophysiologist over the course of two years, spending half of my time gaining technical proficiency in the operating room and the other half developing clinical skills in the reading room. While at Mount Sinai, I was appointed as the Neurology Clerkship Director, the Assistant Director of the Neurology Residency Program and the Integrative Neuroscience Clerkship Director. I taught in the Brain and Behavior course for second year students and was the representative from the neurology department to the Institutional Review Board.

I moved to RTNA in 2012 and my practice has been dedicated to remote IOM for the last five years. I was appointed to RTNA’s Quality Assurance Committee in 2013 and became the Director of Education in 2016. I have been on the editorial board of the journal, Neurology, since 2006 and currently serve as Deputy Editor of the correspondence section. I live in Portland, Oregon.


GEORGE L. GRUDZIAK, MD, DABNM
VP/CMO
Bromedicon, Inc.

 

EDUCATION

  •  After completing undergraduate studies and earning a BA in Biology I continued with medical studies leading to a Doctor of Medicine degree.
  • I have been involved in Neurophysiology since about 1989 with training in Evoked Potentials, Electroencephalography and Sleep Disorders Medicine.
  • I became exclusively involved in IOM since 1995 and consistently attended seminars, conferences and training sessions as offered by the ASNM and various medical teaching centers.

How do you feel you can contribute to the leadership of ASNM? What strengths/passions/talents do you hold that would benefit ASNM?

If elected, I will try to effectively use my 22 years of experience running a private sector company to assist my Board colleagues to make sure the ASNM further develops as the “expert” for the practice of IOM and expands as the primary source for all information pertaining to the practice of our specialty by any outside entity.

With changes in health care service delivery and reimbursement, what and how do you feel you can contribute to keep ASNM moving forward in the right direction?

As a result of the recent changes in the healthcare delivery I think it is of critical importance for us, as the representatives of our elite Society, to actively promote the value and appropriate application of IOM at various levels of the healthcare system (surgical, executive, legal and financial). I think we as a Society can accomplish this through consistent and active education at all these levels. The ASNM already provides excellent education to its members but I think we fall short of reaching out to these “non-member” groups.

ASNM constantly seeks ideas of how to better serve our membership through education, resources, representation to other professional entities, connections and networking or other means of advancement. What do you think ASNM could offer its members that would provide value?

Possible ways the ASNM can better serve its members is by not only, continuing its already great educational opportunities, but also most importantly being actively present in the various healthcare levels through seminars, teaching opportunities, emails. I think that through education, awareness and presence we will exhibit a united front. We must be willing as a Society to speak with a unified voice in response to various develops in the IOM community.

Personal Statement
I have been a loyal member of the ASNM for many years and with my background and experience in education, management, hospital and insurance negotiations I will confidently represent and assist the ASNM in any area where needed.

I respectfully ask for your trust and vote to the Board of the ASNM.


JOHN P. NEY, MD, MPH
Staff Neurologist
VA Medical Center, Bedford, MA

 

 

EDUCATION

  • Neurology Internship, Residency and Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship, Walter Reed Army Medical Center
  • MD, Tulane University School of Medicine
  • Masters in Public Health, University of Washington

How do you feel you can contribute to the leadership of ASNM? What strengths/passions/talents do you hold that would benefit ASNM?

I am a neurologist and health services researcher with special interest in outcomes evaluation and cost effectiveness of neuromonitoring. My skills lie in big data analysis, evidence evaluation, and cost-effectiveness modeling. I feel that these abilities are needed as we continue to show our value to patients, surgeons, third-party payers, and lawmakers.

With changes in health care service delivery and reimbursement, what and how do you feel you can contribute to keep ASNM moving forward in the right direction?

Now more than ever, the benefits of intraoperative neuromonitoring services are being questioned as healthcare resources become more constricted. As providers of neuromonitoring, we must continuously prove our worth, not only in the operating room, but in peer-reviewed publications, in the C-suites of major hospital systems, and in negotiations with commercial and private payers. Through evaluation of the existing evidence base and identifying gaps and areas of improvement, we can continue to develop economic models that demonstrate the value of neuromonitoring to our patients, surgery colleagues, hospitals, and payers.

ASNM constantly seeks ideas of how to better serve our membership through education, resources, representation to other professional entities, connections and networking or other means of advancement. What do you think ASNM could offer its members that would provide value?

Thoughtful review of the evidence for neuromonitoring, including countervailing articles and publications, is important as we talk with stakeholders in neuromonitoring. Cooperation with larger societies, both neurological and surgical, is vital to communicate our message on a wider platform. We should develop materials and talking points endorsed by these partners that our members can utilize in discussion with surgeons, hospital administrators, insurers, and policymakers.

Personal Statement

Dr. Ney is a researcher in health outcomes and comparative effectiveness for Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology interventions. John is a board-certified Neurologist and Clinical Neurophysiologist with ten years of attending-level clinical neurophysiology experience. He has over forty peer-reviewed publications and has presented at numerous national meetings. His research forms much of the evidence base for outcomes and cost-effectiveness in intraoperative monitoring and continuous EEG. He is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), a member of the Medical Economics and Management Committee and Health Services Research subcommittees of the AAN and an editorial Board Member of Neurology: Clinical Practice. He is the former medical director of Surgical Neuromonitoring Associates, and a current full-time neurologist at the VA Medical Center in Bedford, MA. He holds academic titles of Assistant Professor of Neurology at Boston University, Affiliated Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, and faculty at the Indiana University School of Public Health. Dr. Ney is an investigator with the VA Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, and serves on the Health Services Research study section for VA Scientific Merit Grant Reviews. fHe completed a BA at the University of Virginia, and earned his medical degree from Tulane University, and his MPH from University of Washington. He received postgraduate training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is a former US Army officer, and veteran of combat operations in Afghanistan where he was awarded a Bronze Star.


 

Christopher J. Pace, PhD, CNIM
Chief Clinical Officer
Neuro Alert Monitoring Services
Director
Center for Electroneuodiagnostics

 

EDUCATION
PhD - University at Albany, SUNY
Postdoctoral Fellowship - Albany Medical College

How do you feel you can contribute to the leadership of ASNM? What strengths/passions/talents do you hold that would benefit ASNM?

A Passion for Neurophysiology

Neuroscience has been an integral part of my life for nearly 30 years and surgical neurophysiology for the past 12 years. And I relish it. It surprises me that, to this day, I feel a rush when obtaining signals during a case or when helping someone obtain them, optimize them, never taking for granted the unique position we hold and the valuable service we provide. While teaching training courses on IONM, I always try to emphasize how incredible it is that we can see into patients, into their nervous system, the way that we do. And to do it in a paradigm that helps patients achieve their medical goals, surgeons their surgical objectives, hospitals their patient care service aims, is both moving and energizing. Like our respected and endeared predecessors, I see myself as bringing a passion for neurophysiology to the IONM and medical community, to hospitals, patients and the public and to ASNM and believe this would bring value to the ASNM board.

With changes in health care service delivery and reimbursement, what and how do you feel you can contribute to keep ASNM moving forward in the right direction?

Unify IONM Groups and Reel in the Public

I have a fortunate IONM history and I’m living the benefit of great experiences and mentors, both clinical and professional. Particularly during the early stages of my career, I spent many hours in the OR monitoring surgeries and I’m happy that I still monitor cases to this day (my favorites are surgeries involving D-waves and cortical motor mapping/direct cortical stimulation). During my IONM career I’ve worked with IONM companies large and small, and have helped them develop, establish and flourish. I have worked within the framework of partnerships, that I’ve helped to forge, with hospital systems that have their own in house IONM departments and in some cases managed in house IONM programs. In all circumstances, I have developed and maintained standards, clinical policies and protocols and clinical, educational, quality control, performance evaluation and performance improvement programs. In short, over the past 12 years I’ve learned much about the practice and the business of IONM and believe this gives me a good perspective to help the ASNM move in the appropriate direction. I also see these experiences as a means improve consensus among the organizations and groups that have a stake in IONM and to unify them. This would ultimately give the ASNM a greater voice, particularly with the legislative and insurance bodies, to support high quality patient care and appropriate reimbursement.

There are many avenues of advocacy for us to participate in through the ASNM and to help it move forward and in the right direction. These include advocating for IONM with the government, with insurers and with hospitals and health systems. I expect that ASNM will continue and even extend these efforts and I hope to be a valuable contributor in that regard. What about the public, though? As someone who has been told I’m good at distilling complex topics down, breaking them into digestible bites, and of energizing a group through my own genuine enthusiasm, I believe I can add significantly to ASNMs advocacy efforts by advancing an advocacy line that is directed at the public. By gaining the publics appreciation for IONM the hope would be that they would in turn voice their preference to include IONM in their care during applicable surgeries.

ASNM constantly seeks ideas of how to better serve our membership through education, resources, representation to other professional entities, connections and networking or other means of advancement. What do you think ASNM could offer its members that would provide value?

Maximize the Quality and Value of the Information Provided

ASNM has evolved enormously in the last dozen or so years. Almost everything it does - the website, its conferences, webinars, guidelines, advocacy groups, etc. - is substantial compared to its past. We should be grateful for all this progress. There are still many things it can do to provide for its membership. As I see it, a major unifying principle of the ASNM, and one that I keep in mind at all times, is that we aim to do all we can so that IONM provides quality and valuable information in the operating room. Expanding its efforts to help its membership maintain high quality and provide real value would be of great worth to the ASNM.

To help its membership understand how to maximize quality and value there are certainly plenty of things ASNM can produce. I personally favor those based in education and research. As an example, I would encourage more frequent and accessible educational opportunities, to complement the current conference and webinar programs, like discussion forums and message boards (I believe this or something like it is already beginning to take shape). I would also propose there be an ASNM library of short (12-15 minute) educational video vignettes, covering a variety of IONM related topics (to complement the current library of hour long webinars). This would increase the scope and also the accessibility of information ASNM provides to its membership. In the research arena, there are also many things the ASNM could produce. A research and publication support resource, to facilitate the writing and submission of quality literature would be of great value and one I’d endorse. I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard “I have this great idea/case/study for a paper but don’t know what to do or how to put it together.” A resource that provides information and guidance for such aspiring authors and scientists would help to produce a greater understanding through more literature, produce more appropriate literature supporting IONM and could simultaneously serve to reduce the likelihood of bad literature from entering circulation.

Personal Statement
In short, I have a genuine and tenacious interest

  • in moving the field of IONM forward,
  • in supporting IONM educational and research objectives,
  • in supporting the ASNM, helping it to succeed in its objectives, as it continues to grow and as it continues its efforts to shape the image of IONM in the eye of surgical medicine, the health care industry and the community,
  • in forging and encouraging and sustaining critical relationships, including one with the public.

In conclusion, I am honored to be considered for a position on the Board of ASNM and excited by the possibilities that come with participating as a Board member.