Overviewing AUPN's History and Impact on Neurology


Former presidents of the AUPN shared perspective on the advances in neurology and how it was taught during their tenure.

The Association of University Professors of Neurology (AUPN) began back in 1968 as an organization of neurology department chairs to inform and curate neurological education, clinical practice and research, and to be a combined voice for neurology leaders to influence policy. That year, the organization had its first formal meeting, where Maynard Cohen was selected as president. Since its formalization, the AUPN has supported department chairs through its educational offerings that are geared toward the leaders in neurology departments including program directors and clerkship directors.

Over time, there have been dramatic changes in all aspects of neurologic care, and along with this, neurology education has transformed. These changes have affected all aspects of education across the educational continuum, including learners, teachers, educators, content, delivery methods, assessments, and outcomes. Several in the field believe that unification of educations across professions and specialties will allow for increased leverage of resources, meta-data, skillsets, and perspectives to develop a core foundation for all health professions so that students in different professions learn with and from each other.

To gain a greater understanding about the changes in neurology, how its taught, and the impact the AUPN has had in neurology departments, NeurologyLive® hosted a Roundtable Discussion featuring former AUPN presidents Robert Griggs, MD; Clifton Gooch, MD; and Henry Kaminski, MD. In this episode, the trio discussed how they became president, the state of neurology at the time, and some of their experiences over time.

Marco Meglio: Welcome everyone to this new edition of NeurologyLive Roundtable Discussion focusing on the history and impact of the Association of University Professors of Neurology (AUPN) and the evolution of neurology education and teaching over the years. Collaborating with the AUPN, I am joined by esteemed guests: former presidents and esteemed doctors in the field of medicine – Robert Griggs, Clifton Gooch, and Henry Kaminski. Robert Griggs, currently a professor of neurology, medicine, and pathology at the Pediatric Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, served as the AUPN president from 1994 to 1996. Dr. Kaminski, a professor of neurology and rehabilitation medicine at George Washington University, held the position of AUPN president from 2012 to 2014. Dr. Gooch, immediate past president of the AUPN, serves as a professor and chair of Neurology at USF Health in Florida. Today, we will delve into various topics related to AUPN's history, changes, trends in neurology education and reception, and effective strategies for supporting early education and career growth. Additionally, we will touch upon emerging concepts in neurology over the next five to ten years and methods for enhancing neurology departments. With that introduction, let's begin our discussion. Thank you all for joining us. Let's kick off by exploring the origins of AUPN and its journey over time. Anyone is welcome to share their insights.

Robert Griggs, MD: I'm pleased to offer some perspective as I served as president of AUPN during its earlier years. I recall taking on the role rather unexpectedly. I was initially president-elect when I received a call while camping with my brother in the Adirondacks, informing me that I was now the president due to the sudden dismissal of the designated president. That marked the beginning of my involvement. At that time, AUPN had a close working relationship with the American Neurological Association and convened twice yearly with the AMA and the academy. The latter collaboration yielded more success due to its larger participant base, given that many department chairs were not ANA members, which was relatively exclusive back then. Notably, past presidents held a significant role within AUPN. They actively contributed and provided historical context. Bill Landau, for instance, remained involved and contributed his perspective as a past chair. This historical perspective imparted a unique value to the organization. Recognizing AUPN's emphasis on residency, I felt it was our responsibility to focus on this aspect, especially as ANA was less focused on resident training during that period. My tenure marked a period where AUPN aimed to serve this educational dimension distinctly. This foundation has persisted through the years.

Clifton Gooch, MD: Building on Bob's insights, I'd like to expand on AUPN's origins. The organization emerged around 1968, mirroring the Association of University Professors' concept. It sought to unite the senior figures in neurology departments, facilitating collaboration to address the growth of neurology departments and medical schools. The late 1950s and early 1960s saw a surge in new neurology departments across the US, prompting the need for collective insights. As time progressed, the role of a neurology chair underwent changes. While the 20th century emphasized academic and research responsibilities, the 21st century added the role of a medical executive due to clinical practice challenges and financial constraints. The current environment demands more balance in various aspects, requiring neurology chairs to navigate clinical, academic, and research domains while mentoring the next wave of leaders. This renewed focus has contributed to AUPN's continued relevance and growing membership.

Henry Kaminski, MD: Reflecting on the evolution of AUPN, I can offer a perspective from a middle ground. During my presidency, AUPN was transitioning to a more relevant and active organization. We went from having a small presence at the AMA to strengthening our teaching courses and increasing our engagement with chairs. A pivotal moment arrived when David Fink from the University of Michigan questioned our purpose, prompting us to adapt and address current needs. The 21st century brought more corporate demands for chairs, with clinical practice administration consuming a significant portion of their responsibilities. Given this shift, AUPN's value has increased as a platform for sharing best practices and mentoring newer chairs who are now facing challenges sooner in their tenures. Balancing clinical revenue pressures with maintaining focus on education and research remains an ongoing challenge, but AUPN serves as an anchor to safeguard these essential academic elements. Our adaptability ensures AUPN's enduring significance.

Thank you Robert and Clifton for providing insights into AUPN's evolution and its enduring importance within the dynamic landscape of neurology education and leadership. Your perspectives highlight the organization's ability to adapt and support neurology departments and leaders in the face of changing demands. This adaptability ensures that AUPN remains an invaluable resource for its members and the field at large.

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