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Member Spotlight - Learn More About Gene Balzer

Posted By Richard W. Vogel, Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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!

Tags:  Member Spotlight 

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President's Message - September 2017

Posted By Joseph J. Moreira, M.D., Thursday, August 31, 2017

Greetings to all in the IOM community. If you are reading this address then you are looking to the ASNM for information of some kind, or just curious to see what we have to offer. If you have visited us previously or are a member then you will notice that we just launched our new website. I want to extend a thank you to our two board members that orchestrated the new web design from the start, Dr. Richard Vogel and Dr. Bryan Wilent. Great job! Here is a brief message from Rich and Bryan:  

“We're very excited to announce that our website has been redesigned to enhance your experience as a member of the ASNM. The new website features a modern, responsive design with a new menu system that simplifies navigation on any device. The website now contains a blog, which replaces the old Monitor Newsletter. From the blog, you can expect frequent posts from the ASNM to keep you up-to-date on news and announcements from the ASNM, including upcoming meetings and webinars, interesting case studies, clinical commentary, recently-published literature, and other news from around the neuromonitoring community. Finally, the website will include a member community, like a social network, that provides a new way to connect with fellow colleagues, share information across the ASNM network and manage your membership preferences. We encourage you to explore the new website and all of its features, and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog!”

 

I had the honor of taking the reigns over during our Annual Meeting in Cleveland. We celebrated the 40th anniversary since the first IOM meeting was held there. I was humbled by the experience of meeting the pioneers of our field. It was an amazing sight to see our youngest and brightest at the meeting mingling with the likes of Dr. Tamaki, Schramm, Nuwer, Nash, Kartush, Moller, Sloan and Koht. Drs. Koht and Eccher and the rest of the planning committee did an outstanding job of coordinating and creating this event. Thanks to all involved.

One of this year’s themes is about growth as a field and as a society. We are considering a corporate membership plan that would give IOM companies and institutions a discounted rate for a group membership. The larger we grow as a society the more presence and influence we will have. Our offerings will also grow with a larger membership base. I encourage our current members to recruit others in the field to join and perhaps participate on a committee or in any way possible.

Another main theme is about improving communication. One of the messages I have taken away from my few months as President is that we all aspire to improve the ground operations of the IOM field. It all comes back to a common theme of excellent communication with the patient as the central focus. We have recently heard many different messages and ideas of how our field can improve, but the common theme is communication. The link between the personnel in the OR and the supervising professional, the surgeon/anesthesiologist and the IOM team, and so on, are critical to the benefit of the patient. As there is always room for improvement, I urge all of us to step back and examine how we communicate daily before, during and after our surgeries and enhance the process in any way possible.

Our third theme this year is about collaborating with other societies. I had the opportunity to attend the annual ASET meeting this month along with the ASNM’s Executive Director Carol Ingmanson. We participated as a vendor and promoted the ASNM. Carol did a great job of setting up and coordinating the trip and we added several members and potentially a few more corporate sponsors. We are also planning a joint meeting May 1-6, In Washington DC, just before the International Congress of Clinical Neurophysiology (ICCN). More details to follow.

If you have not already made plans to attend please look at our upcoming Fall Meeting in Baltimore on September 9-10. We have a very interesting and practical agenda. “What to do When Something Goes Wrong and Hot Topics” We are featuring a Mock Trial and several talks on managing and avoiding potential legal issues. Drs. Eva Ritzl, Trey Lee and Robert Minahan and the rest of the planning team have done an excellent job of creating a very new and innovative meeting. Thanks to all!

Our Annual 2018 Meeting will be held early this year on February 23-25 at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando. Great family destination!

Last but certainly not least please check out our Webinar schedule. Our next webinar is on 10/11 with Dr. Charles Yingling, “A Comprehensive Guide to Corticospinal Tract Mapping and Monitoring”

Thank you all for logging in, I look forward to seeing you all in Baltimore and at future meetings.

Best,

Joseph J. Moreira, M.D.

Tags:  President's Message 

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