Emerging Leaders Forum

Become a part of the AAN's next generation of leaders through the Emerging Leaders Forum, a program designed to identify, orient, and cultivate future leaders of the world's largest professional association of neurologists.   


The 2014-2015 Emerging Leaders application deadline has passed. 


“The Emerging Leaders Forum was designed to identify, train, and nurture a highly selected group of younger members who have the motivation, drive, and potential to be future Academy leaders. Experience has shown that the best Academy leaders typically also have a record of successful leadership in their communities, practice settings, institutions, and other organizations. We believe that leaders are not born.  Rather they are developed through training that provides them with opportunities to acquire and enhance key skills while being mentored by established leaders. This is the basis of the Emerging Leaders Forum. It is an exceptional opportunity.”

Timothy A. Pedley, MD, FAAN 
President, AAN

Eligible candidates must be AAN members 45 years of age or younger as of December 31, 2014, or no more than 13 years out of training. 

This prestigious and interactive 10-month program consists of:

Leadership Retreats:

  • October 28–29, 2014, Las Vegas, NV (prior to the 2014 AAN Fall Conference)
  • April 18–April 25, 2015, Washington, DC (in conjunction with the 2015 AAN Annual Meeting)
  • June 26–27, 2015, Minneapolis, MN (AAN Headquarters, in conjunction with the AAN/AANI Board of Directors Meeting)


Participants will be given a unique opportunity to engage with AAN leaders, including current or former board members. The program includes four “touch point” phone calls between mentor/participant each year, with a fifth meeting scheduled face-to-face at the mentor’s institution or clinical practice. Topics for the mentoring sessions are mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Project Groups

Program participants form cohort sounding boards to challenge, engage, and support each other’s learning and development. Cohort groups will be formed based on diversity of backgrounds and interests to spark lively conversations and learning from multiple perspectives.


The program concludes in June following the final Leadership Retreat, held in conjunction with the AAN/AANI Board of Directors Meeting. 

Program participants may have the opportunity to serve on an AAN committee, subcommittee, or presidential task force to put their newly acquired leadership skills into action. An Emerging Leaders Alumni group has also formed, which will provide participants with access to a lifelong network of leaders who share their same passion and commitment to neurology.


All travel and meeting-related costs are paid for or reimbursed by the American Academy of Neurology.  

Key Program Dates
  • Applications Open: June 1, 2014 
  • Application Deadline: August 1, 2014
  • Notification Deadline: September 15, 2014
  • Meeting One: October 28–29, 2014, Las Vegas, NV (prior to the 2015 AAN Fall Conference)
  • Meeting Two: April 18–April 25, 2015, Washington, DC (in conjunction with the 2015 AAN Annual Meeting)
  • Meeting Three: June 26–27, 2015, AAN Headquarters, Minneapolis, MN (in conjunction with the AAN/AANI Board of Directors Meeting)


The 2013-2014 Emerging Leaders Forum is supported in part by in-kind grants from Biogen, Eli Lilly and Company, and Teva CNS. The AAN gratefully acknowledges the support of these three organizations.

CLASS OF 2013-2014

Twelve AAN members were selected for the 2013-2014 Emerging Leaders Forum.

Emerging LeadersMentors

Melissa Armstrong, MD – Baltimore, MD

Jason Diamond, MD – New York, NY

Jori Fleisher, MD – Philadelphia, PA

Jennifer Goldman, MD – Chicago, IL

Christopher Janson, MD – Woodbury, MN

Shafali Jeste, MD – Los Angeles, CA

Joseph Kass, MD – Houston, TX

Kevin Kerber, MD – Ann Arbor, MI

Jeffrey McClean, MD – San Antonio, TX

Jessica Robinson-Papp, MD – New York, NY

Waimei Amy Tai, MD – Palo Alto, CA

Bert Vargas, MD – Phoenix, AZ

Cynthia Comella, MD, FAAN

Aaron E. Miller, MD, FAAN

Lisa Shulman, MD, FAAN

Lisa DeAngelis, MD, FAAN

Terrence L. Cascino, MD, FAAN

Stefan M. Pulst, MD, FAAN

Bruce Sigsbee, MD, FAAN

Robert C. Griggs, MD, FAAN

Ralph Józefowicz, MD, FAAN

John C. Morris, MD, FAAN

James C. Stevens, MD, FAAN

Carlayne Jackson, MD, FAAN

For their projects, the group of 12 was separated into two cohorts to work on tasks, share experiences, learn, and network. Each cohort was assigned a specific issue facing neurologists as a project to work on throughout the year. Their recommendations will be presented to the board in June 2014.

The two projects this year are:

  • Cohort 1:  How does the AAN get more members to take an active role in advocacy?
  • Cohort 2:  How does the AAN prepare members for changes in the health care system and payment/practice models? 

"Unlike most other essential skills in medicine, leadership is rarely formally taught or developed in one’s medical training. As an academic child neurologist who was placed in a leadership role early in my career, the AAN Emerging Leaders Forum has provided me with a rigorous foundation in leadership skills and team building, and it has introduced me to an invaluable network of colleagues and mentors that I will carry with me and cultivate throughout my career.”

~Shafali Jeste, MD

“Participating in the Emerging Leaders Forum has been an incredibly valuable experience, from the thoughtfully designed training to the warmth and hospitality of the AAN staff. I had the opportunity to meet an amazing group of peers and AAN leaders and learned a tremendous amount about the Academy and the vital role it plays in the practice of neurology. I am confident that the leadership skills I learned and the personal connections I made will be an important resource to me as I move forward in my career.”

~Jessica Robinson-Papp, MD

“ELF is a unique program which allows young neurologists to confront some of the challenges facing our profession in the areas of clinical care, scientific research, and patient advocacy. All the participants have different goals and interests, but what unites us is a common vision of improving neurology for the benefit of our patients and colleagues. In the words of the late neurologist Dr. David Goldblatt, we share a common Nisus, meaning an "effort, endeavor, or impulse."

~ Christopher Janson, MD 


Past participants of the Emerging Leaders Forum have formed an alumni association, with four main responsibilities:

  1. Maintain involvement with previous Emerging Leader Forum graduates
  2. Involvement with future classes
  3. Continued involvement with the AAN, specifically with the board and other leadership / committees
  4. Creation and continuation of a recognition award for outstanding leadership by an ELF alumnus

The Emerging Leaders Alumni Association is currently led by Allison L. Weathers, MD; Wendy Galpern, MD; Jennifer Molano, MD; James Noble, MD; Yolanda Holler, MD; and Mill Etienne, MD.

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