Dear members and guests,
This year has been one of the most difficult times, with social, political and economic crisis in the country. With such an unfavorable environment, it was a daunting task to accomplish the ASN activities planned for this year. However, thanks to the unconditional wholehearted support of the membership, we were able to accomplish all the activities with resounding success. As ASN President, I extend my sincere thanks to you all.
As I assumed duties as the President of this prestigious professional organization, my focus was to align the year’s activities on three main areas, namely education, research, and fellowship – all to develop Sri Lanka’s neurological services to world-class standards.
Our commitment to strengthening neurology education was reaffirmed with the successful completion of the second round of ASN Inter-University Neurology Quiz, ASN Young Neurologists’ Forum, ASN Regional Meeting, and Neurology Grand Rounds.
The quiz demonstrated a major improvement in neurology education with all nine participating teams offering the best of competency leading to a close-fought championship ultimately won by the University of Colombo. My warm congratulations are due to the winners, all other teams and university coordinators. A special thanks to our Quizmaster Dr AT Alibhoy, for developing an excellent and engaging quiz.
The Young Neurologists’ Forum was a resounding success this year with ten Associate Members competing for the prize. All presentations were of high quality and proved to us that the YNF is an essential program which helps to elevate the capacity of up-and-coming neurologists. After much deliberation, the panel declared Dr Dilini Chandrasiri as the winner and I take this opportunity to congratulate not only her but all contestants.
Since its inception, ASN has undertaken all efforts to defy the Colombo-centric model of CME. Carrying on the tradition of disseminating latest knowledge to outstations, we had our regional meeting at Provincial General Hospital Badulla. I along with a number of ASN Presidents began our careers at PGH Badulla, thus, it was truly satisfying to hold the first ASN regional meeting in the capital city of the Uva province.
ASN Neurology Grand Rounds have always been popular and well-attended events. This year we committed to hold five, which is the highest for a calendar year. Additionally, four Neurology Updates on Epilepsy, Stroke, Movement Disorders and Neuromuscular Disorders were also held as a part of our educational activities. We also brought the spotlight to neurophysiology by successfully organizing a basic EEG course with help from world-renowned resource persons from India, and a workshop on intra-operative monitoring for EEG technicians.
For many years, the ASN has cultivated a strong regard for promoting neurology research within Sri Lanka. Since the introduction of ASN Research Grants, we have been able to support many members to conduct high quality research. This year we further strengthened ASN’s research arm by increasing the available funding by a substantial amount up to LKR 5 million. Another milestone was achieved with the establishment of comprehensive ASN Registries. Thus, this year the Council has made strides in ASN’s research commitments, and it is our sincere wish that these steps will lead to even more high-quality homegrown research in neurology. I am positive that our experienced researchers together with young trainees will take full advantage of this initiative.
As I mentioned before, ASN is the national body for developing neurological services in Sri Lanka. This objective is achieved thanks to our membership which is abound with talent and harmony. Like a well-oiled machine all members work together through invaluable fellowship. This year, we aimed to keep the high spirits flowing with our first council and general meeting being held as an outstation event followed by a family get-together which was well attended by life and associate members. I hope that all members enjoyed the variety of events and activities held this year. And it is my sincere wish that you all will come together for the crown jewel of ASN: ASNAC 2023, to finish off the year in style.
The ASN Annual Academic Congress, also known as ASNAC is the pinnacle of academic activities of the year. The 16th iteration of this grand event will be held from 23rd to 26th of February in 2023. I am pleased to announce that this year, four major international bodies namely, the World Federation of Neurology (WFN), the International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society (MDS), the International Headache Society (IHS) and the Asian Regional Consortium for Headache (ARCH) have endorsed ASNAC through the Ambassador and Visiting Professor programs. I am confident that this international collaboration will have a profound positive impact on the academic quality of ASNAC. Fourteen members of the International Faculty will be delivering their talks in-person, which speaks volumes in these difficult times. I am honored to invite all ASN members to take part in ASNAC 2023 and hope you will all find it to be an engaging and memorable event filled with learning and fellowship.
Reflecting on the past year, I am truly proud of the strength and resilience that the ASN team has shown. We have achieved and fulfilled many tasks in the face of adversity, thanks to the constant and unwavering work ethic of the entire ASN membership. It is a great honour for me to lead such an esteemed professional body as the ASN as its 16th President.
On behalf of the Council, I take this opportunity to wish all of you a year filled with happiness, good health and long-lasting prosperity.
Dr Darshana Sirisena,