Dr. Julie Pilitsis, Vice President of Health Affairs and FAU Health Network and Dean of Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, is the North American Neuromodulation Society’s (NANS) new president!
In addition to becoming the first woman neurosurgeon to serve as a Dean of a US Medical School, she is the first woman president of NANS in its 30-year history.
In 2014, Dr. Pilitsis began her involvement with NANS leading the Women in Neuromodulation Section, where she was the first chair. She then served as scientific program chair, where she ensured that 25% of speakers were of diverse backgrounds and ultimately joined the Executive Committee of NANS as Treasurer. Dr. Pilitsis became involved with the Facial Pain Association (FPA) in 2019 as a member of the Medical Advisory Board.
Dr. Pilitsis believes in the principle of “We rise by lifting others.” Her visionary leadership and keen sense for the needs of others guide her in empowering fellow physicians and scientists toward reaching their goals and patients toward holistic care. Notably, some of the people that lifted her during her training – Jeffrey Brown, MD and Kenneth Casey, MD – are long-standing members of the FPA Medical Advisory Board and she was eager to join them in supporting patients with facial pain.
Both organizations have continued to grow since their advent, and with the increasing popularity of neuromodulation as a treatment option for chronic pain, it is no surprise that Dr. Pilitsis sees an opportunity for the FPA and NANS to have intertwining goals. Neuromodulation is a favorable option for medication-refractory facial pain. Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is typically the starting point, as it is the least invasive and has shown promising results in patients with trigeminal neuralgia and craniofacial neuropathic pain. If PNS is unsuccessful, high cervical spinal cord stimulation (SCS) may be offered, followed by motor cortex stimulation (MCS), and deep brain stimulation (DBS). Collaboration among the two societies would allow for like-minded physicians and scientists to continue exploring neuromodulation for all its indications in advancing patient care. Both societies share similar approaches to their mission by hosting conferences, webinars, and seminars throughout the year to raise awareness among their target communities. Dr. Pilitsis aims to focus on the patient at the 2024 NANS Annual Meeting by promoting #PatientFirst as the conference’s theme.
Dr. Pilitsis leads a prolific team which has published more than 230 journal articles, four books, and numerous chapters. She values the wealth of thought-leadership that research brings for both organizations. Both NANS and the FPA are avid promoters of research, with NANS hosting the largest annual neuromodulation meeting each year. The FPA provides information about relevant medical studies and clinical trials which may be of interest to people affected by neuropathic facial pain. Primary goals include empowering patients and caregivers with knowledge that helps them be educated partners in their healthcare and encouraging more research on facial pain and other issues relevant to the facial pain community.
Being a transformational leader, Dr. Pilitsis sees the endless possibilities between NANS and the FPA, with opportunities to improve her lifelong dedication to helping patients with chronic pain.
Together NANS and the FPA create alignment for the perfect conduits between patients and providers to improve pain management and change lives. By tapping into the power of patient advocacy groups through #PatientFirst to feature patient testimonials and share their success stories, the organizations’ stewardship will transform the experience for patient centric care.
Physicians involved with NANS can provide accurate and updated information about neuromodulatory therapies to patients with neuropathic pain, utilizing the vast network of chronic facial pain patients managed by the FPA. This channel will match patients interested in neuromodulatory therapy options with physicians.
This is just the tip of the iceberg – there are endless possibilities under the outstanding leadership of the group that inspires us to redefine and move forward the future of pain management.