Helen and WNS Founder Bob Rand
The Western Neurosurgical Society was formed in 1955 by 30 neurosurgeons who were interested in creating a small, more intimate regional society in contrast to the large national organizations. It was felt that such a group should hold an annual meeting at small, interesting venues and encourage an atmosphere of collegial interaction among members most of whom knew each other. The meeting would be marked by scientific presentations with adequate time for discussion as well as free time to allow activities in and around the meeting venue. Spouses would be welcome and form an integral part of the Society.

Commencing with its first meeting in 1955 at the Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara, California, the Society has meet annually ever since (interrupted in 2001 by the 9/11 catastrophe) and has hewn to its goals while growing in size to 200 members. It has held its three-day meetings in 14 western states and Canadian provinces, occasionally in larger cities (Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix), most often in or near small towns and at times at resorts some distance from any city whatsoever.

The hallmark of the Society continues to be reflected in its scientific sessions which allow for stimulating interaction between speaker and audience, its inclusion of spouses in all activities, its free afternoons and its requirement that membership is only by invitation and then only offered to those who have presented a paper as a guest at an annual meeting.

The Western draws its active members from Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii plus the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Membership is offered to neurosurgeons as well as specialists in the collateral fields of neurology, neuroanatomy, neuro-ophthalmology, neuropathology, neurophysiology, and neuroradiology. Though limited in actual membership, the Society welcomes as a guest any medical physician who wishes to attend the annual meeting.

60 Years of the Western

The WNS Parkinson Gavel