FIENS Newsletter May 2017

FIENS Newsletter May 2017



For the first time in Asia, a Fundamentals of Neurosurgery Boot Camp was held from February 24th-26th at University of Medicine I in Yangon, Myanmar. The curriculum was based on established practices performed in the United States and developed by the Society of Neurological Surgeons. The boot camp welcomed 45 residents from various countries in South and Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.


The activities on first day of the boot camp included lectures given by neurosurgeons from all over the world covering a range of neurosurgical techniques from pediatric head injury and assessment to safe surgical patient positioning. Later in the day, small groups of residents reviewed clinical cases with staff members, covering best practices for neurosurgical presentations commonly seen in Southeast Asia. For the second day of the boot camp, residents had the opportunity to rotate through various hands-on exercises including CSF shunt tapping, intracranialpressure monitor placement, external ventricular drain insertion, lumbar pedicle screw placement, posterior cervical spine instrumentation, and an intracranial endoscopy station offering a basic education in the third ventricular anatomy that is  fundamental to performing ventriculostomy for the treatment of hydrocephalus . The objective of this practical hands-on training is to provide neurosurgical trainees with a head start in confidently performing the techniques which are an integral part of any modern neurosurgical practice. The response from bootcamp attendees was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic, as was evident from the rapt attention and excellent questions posed by all of the residents in attendance.


Boot camp participants were evaluated by staff at two time points during the course of the boot camp. The first evaluation was performed prior to the start of the formal instruction, and the second evaluation was administered at the conclusion of the boot camp. In addition to these two evaluations, another questionnaire will be sent to attendees six months after the completion of the boot camp to test long-term retention. These evaluations will allow the boot camp staff to assess the long-term educational impact of the boot camp, as little literature exists about the efficacy of these courses outside of the United States.


The boot camp was hosted by Henry Ford Health System, the Myanmar Neurological Society, Yangon General Hospital, and the Federation for International Education in Neurological Society (FIENS). Sponsors of the boot camp included Medtronic, Sea Lion, Integra LifeSciences, and KARL STORZ Endoskope.  All of the above photos were provided by King Cobra photography studios.


 “Knowing the FIENS Board Members”.


The many people that volunteer to support the work of FIENS go far beyond that of our neurosurgeon volunteers.  The people that support the educational components come from many backgrounds and provide their unique contributions in so many important ways.  An excellent example of that are Rich and Susan Clack, public board members of the FIENS board.  The Clacks have a long history of contributing, both through their family business in Wisconsin, but also through their multiple philanthropic efforts.  They have been instrumental in developing resources and programs to help those less fortunate, be it by providing health care or rehabilitation, providing services through their own company, which helps pump clean water, or through their support of FIENS medical education to change the outcomes of lives worldwide.           


In their own words, “Because we are the parents of a handicapped child, the general mission of our foundation has been geared toward enhancing the lives of a sometimes forgotten minority. Our observations are that the handicapped do not get the support and advocacy they deserve.  Over the years, we have broadened our focus to include the research for various diseases, building a day activity center, funding service dogs for people with various handicaps, and the FIENS organization.  Thanks to Dr. Dempsey, we have learned about the efforts of FIENS and their goals to educate and facilitate neurosurgeons around the world. We feel that the direct contributions we make to FIENS have a maximum impact to achieve their mission and objectives.


The Clacks are inspirational as so many people are in everything we do.  It becomes abundantly clear that no one person changes or affects these worldwide needs such as maldistribution of neurosurgical care throughout the world alone – we do it through the efforts of inspirational people that support all of our efforts and keep us working.



Richard and Susan Clack with Dr Robert Dempsey


 FIENS Members at the 2017 FIENS Board meeting in Chicago, Illinois

Chairman’s Report


I am happy to report some of the important objectives of FIENS, which are highlighted in this newsletter.  In particular at our annual meeting in March, we were happy to add three new board members:  Drs. Brandon Rocque, Sam Safavi, and Ernest Wright.   Brandon and Sam have been very active in volunteer activities and bring specialized expertise in our electronic and web-based computing.  Ernie is our new resident member of the board who has been very active with our website and helping us to bridge into the future.   The annual meeting was also an opportunity for us to understand the achievements of the Bassett Foundation, which is allowing us to bring more young neurosurgeons from training sites throughout the world to developed programs, specifically at Henry Ford Hospital, Duke, and University of Wisconsin for finishing periods of training, specialized simulator and observership work, as well as laboratory work to enhance their ability to become the next teachers in the sites which are being developed. 


We are also happy to announce our new website at , which we hope greatly increases user interaction and will present the activities that are going on.  Finally, with the help of our partner organizations such as the Society of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and American Association of Neurological Surgeons, we have been able to help support the development of Boot Camps throughout the world.  This concept, which was pioneered in the United States, affirms our belief that the qualities of care should be universal as well as the quality of education. Over the past two years, they have allowed us to support Boot Camps in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.  We believe this is important not only in training the young neurosurgeons, but also by having combined teaching in the Boot Camps of people from our organization and those at the provider sites – we are training the trainers so that the region’s programs will continue our goal of self-sustaining service through education for the good of even future generations to come.


I sincerely hope that you enjoy the newsletter and thank you for staying in touch with the activities of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery.  We are always

grateful for your support, be it in donations of time, money, or the ideas you give us for future projects. 




Robert J. Dempsey, MD

Chairman, Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery

Chairman, Co-ordinating Committee for International Initiatives for the WFNS

Chairman and Manucher J. Javid Professor of Neurological Surgery

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Wisconsin SMPH







FIENS Members Dr Robert Dempsey, Dr Walter Johnson, and Michael Haglund participate in the AANS symposium on global health.

From left to right: Dr Robert Dempsey, Dr Michael Haglund, Dr Paul Farmer, Dr Vanessa Kerry, Dr Walter Johnson, and Dr Sanjay Gupta