Why The Association Of Extremity Nerve Surgeons Should Be A Clinical Interest Affiliate Group Of The APMA

Stephen Barrett DPM FACFAS

I have been reading many of the current website/blog postings from different colleagues. Sadly, I sometimes get the impression that there is this pervasive and growing perception out there that there is more “wrong” than “right” with our profession.

Some of this is simply due to the fact that no matter how great a situation is, some folks just have to complain or focus entirely on the negative. They can’t help themselves. Maybe they have a bump in their endorphin release with continued negativism? Who knows?

You know the kind of folks I am talking about. They are the life “drainers” who show up at the meeting because they need the CMEs, not because they know they are doing something really special, have a great gig and positively improve people’s lives every day they show up to work.

Seriously, if you don’t think you are truly blessed to be a member of the podiatric community, you probably should be doing something else or get mentally recalibrated somehow. Now we have a big opportunity to add to our already great profession.

Emphasizing The Value Of The AENS

On March 21, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) House of Delegates will meet to vote on whether the Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons (AENS) can become a Clinical Interest Affiliate organization group of the APMA. Their positive vote will greatly enhance our already great profession. There are several reasons why the APMA should grant the AENS this very important status.

• The AENS, which was formed in 2002, is a multispecialty group composed of podiatric surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, plastic surgeons and hand surgeons. All these professionals have the common goals of peripheral nerve research, study and a focus on peripheral nerve pathology.

• Twice a year, the AENS conducts high level cadaveric peripheral nerve surgical workshops for entry level and master’s levels.

• The AENS provides national level speakers for local and state podiatric association meetings. These speakers provide the latest up to date information regarding peripheral nerve research and surgery.

• The AENS sponsors a “student” essay contest for both allopathic and podiatric medical students.

• Last year, the AENS received more than $70,000 in contributions to its research fund. These financial contributions will generate life saving peer-reviewed research with effects we cannot even begin to estimate. (I know some readers will consider my use of the term “life saving” as nothing more than hyperbole but I can assure you that the work of the fine surgeons in the AENS is preventing amputations, abating ulcerations and limb loss, and helping some suicidal chronic pain patients live a normal, pain-free or functional existence.)

• The AENS has sponsored podiatric medical students to attend CME seminars that present peripheral nerve research and topics.

• Since the AENS is a multidisciplinary group, other professionals interact and share knowledge that is bidirectional, and has enhanced the care in all of our specialties. This also has been a showcase for some of these members to get to know what we do as podiatric surgeons.

• The AENS is a fully funded, financially independent society that does not need financial support from the APMA. There is a full-time administrative staff and the association puts on two excellent CME accredited meetings each year: the Annual Meeting in Las Vegas in November 2011 and the annual Wine/Nerve Meeting in Napa, Calif., which was just last month.

• The AENS is a collegial group that is independent of any medical company or institution, and has the sole goal of improving the understanding and treatment of peripheral nerve pathology in both the upper and lower extremity.

• Due to the work by the AENS and its dedicated membership, the surgical equation for ultimate outcome is being skewed positively and will continue to do so.

There are many more compelling reasons that cannot be summarized in these bullet points. To experience what I have experienced, I would encourage each of you to come to the AENS Annual Meeting, listen to the lectures, mingle with these folks and feel the “passion.” If you do not find one new weapon for your “arsenal,” I will be totally shocked and have neuropraxia of my recurrent laryngeal nerves.

We are a small profession and we need to stick together collectively. A positive vote by the APMA House of Delegates will help every one of us in some way —not to mention a myriad of patients.

If you are an APMA delegate, the AENS needs your vote. If you are reluctant to cast a positive vote or need more information to influence your co-delegates to help us, please go to our Web site, www.aens.us , and contact one of us. If you are simply a proud member of our profession, like I am, then please call or e-mail your APMA delegate(s). Ask them to support the AENS and vote for this society to become a Clinical Interest Affiliate organization group of the APMA. Thank you.


I liked the article, Dr. Barrett, but it failed to mention the "why". Can you elaborate on why the AENS needs to be a clinical affiliate? What need would that fulfill for them? I am interested to know if recognition brings with it some form of assistance that is critical for the fulfillment of their mission. Best regards.

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