New York Association of Neuropathologists
The New York Association of Neuropathologists (the Neuroplex) was founded in 1988 at a meeting in Brooklyn hosted by the late Dr. Marius Valsamis, then Chief of Neuropathology at New York Medical College and Westchester County Medical Center (as it was then known). The founding members included Drs. Valsamis, Douglas Miller (NYU), David Zagzag (NYU), Bruce Horten (then at Lenox Hill Hospital), Carol Petito (then at Cornell University Medical Center and New York Hospital, as they were then known), Chandrakrant Rao (SUNY Downstate Medical Center), Marc Rosenblum (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), Leroy Sharer and Eun-Sook Cho (UMNDJ New Jersey Medical School) and the late Dr. Joanna Sher (SUNY Stony Brook University School of Medicine).
Once organizational principles were agreed upon at that meeting in the fall of 1988, meetings with case presentations began at Cornell. At first they were informal: case histories and slides were circulated to members in advance, but formal minutes were not taken nor were any circulated afterwards. Most of the early meetings were at Cornell, but occasional meetings were hosted at Lenox Hill Hospital and then later, when Dr. Petito moved to Florida, meetings moved to NYU and are still often held there in the Pathology Conference Room at Bellevue Hospital, where NYU Neuropathology resides.
The group rapidly grew from 10 to 12 to 14 to 20 and more participants. The participants came from a growing list of New York City metropolitan area institutions: NYU, Cornell, Columbia, SUNY Downstate, Mt. Sinai, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, SUNY Stony Brook, UMDNJ NJMS, UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, JFK Hospital and Neuroscience Institute (Edison NJ), the NY State Institute for Basic Research on Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability, Staten Island University Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and New York Medical College. The current membership roster exceeds 50 individuals, including some who have moved to other states (California, Florida, Rhode Island, New Hampshire) but continue to maintain memberships including paying annual dues.
The group began exploration of the possibility of formally incorporating in 1999 and simultaneously decided to make the meetings somewhat more formal. A set of bylaws were drafted, and provisional officers were named: Dr. Sharer as President, Dr. Miller as Secretary, and Dr. Piotr Kozlowski was named Treasurer. (Dr. Valsamis was formally named "Eminence Grise" but declined any other official position.). Formal incorporation was completed in 2001. Members pay dues annually and officers are elected for two year terms. All meetings have, since the adoption of formal procedures and election of officers, had formal minutes and the meetings are divided between case presentations and business meetings.
There was a tradition established from the beginning of having annual dinners, starting with the original organizing meeting which had Greek barbeque at the Valsamis home. Dr. Valsamis picked a different NY restaurant every year, and we sampled culinary pleasures at Austrian, Greek, Continental, Chinese, Turkish, and other ethnic/national establishments in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. One year the dinner was hosted at the Brooklyn home of Dr. Suzanne Mirra, Chair of Pathology at SUNY Downstate.
In a survey of member opinions which Dr. Sharer conducted in 2003, one of the questions asked whether a formal lecture would be appropriate for Neuroplex. The majority of members who responded to the survey were in favor of this, and following the death of Dr. Valsamis, this response ultimately led to the founding of the Annual Valsamis Lecture. The first Valsamis Lecture was given in 2005 by Dr. James Goldman, who discussed the histological features of high grade gliomas in the context of his research into neural stem cells. The second Valsamis Lecture was delivered in 2006 by Dr. Mirra on the subject of Alzheimer's Disease. The third was given in March 2007 by Dr. Arthur (Rusty) Hays, who talked about the neuropathology of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Additionally in the survey conducted in 2003, there was overwhelming support for allowing trainees to attend Neuroplex meetings, something that had not been previously done.
The current President is Dr. Leroy Sharer, who was elected in the first formal election after incorporation and has been steadily re-elected at every such occasion since.
The current Secretary is Dr. Karen Weidenheim and Dr. Piotr B. Kozlowski is the treasurer.