Changing our culture

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  • Department of Neurosurgery, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York
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Today, a great challenge of our profession is to envision how we will deliver exemplary neurosurgical care in the future. To accomplish this requires anticipating how economic, political, and societal influences will affect our ability to provide the highest quality of patient care in an arena that will look increasingly different from today's world of medicine. Already, our profession is battling a relentless assault as numerous sectors implement change that impacts us and our community every day. Surviving this requires an effective strategy that will involve significant cultural change. To accomplish this, neurosurgery must take an honest look inward and then commit to being the agents of positive cultural change.

Such a path will not be easy but should reap important benefits for all of neurosurgery and our patients. Several practical and proven strategies can help us to realize the rewards of changing our culture. Vital to this process is understanding that effecting behavioral change will increase the likelihood of achieving sustainable cultural change. Innovation and diversity are crucial to encourage and reward when trying to effect meaningful cultural change, while appreciating the power of a “Tipping Point” strategy will also reap significant benefits.

As a profession, if we adopt these strategies and tactics we can lead our profession to proceed in improvement, and as individuals we can use the spirit that drove us into neurosurgery to become the agents of an enduring and meaningful cultural change that will benefit our patients and us.

Abbreviation used in this paper:CSNS = Council of State Neurosurgical Societies.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Deborah L. Benzil, M.D., 110 S. Bedford Rd., Mt. Kisco, NY 10549. email:

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online February 21, 2014; DOI: 10.3171/2014.1.JNS131318.

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