Additional Candidate for President: Gustavo Roman

Gustavo Román

romanMy nomination as candidate  for president of the World  Federation of Neurology  has been endorsed by the  American Academy of Neurology and the Neurological Association of Colombia.

I was raised in a tropical Third World country in Latin America,  educated as a neurologist at the Salpàªtriè
re Hospital in Paris, France, and at the University of Vermont. These early experiences gave me a good background in global neurology. Fluency in Spanish, French and English — languages spoken by  2 billion collectively — has allowed  me to communicate with many  people and provided me with an  appreciation for the cultural richness  of their nations. Moreover, the practice of clinical neurology in academic  centers in Colombia and in the  U.S., in addition to international  research collaboration in many  parts of the world as director of  neuroepidemiology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), allowed  me to develop a deeper understanding  of the problems confronted by  neurologists in many parts of the  world.

WFN Involvement

I have been involved with the World  Federation of Neurology (WFN) for  more than 20 years, particularly with  the education and research groups in  neuroepidemiology, dementia and  tropical neurology. I recently created the Environmental Neurology Research Group (ENRG).

For more than 15 years, I have been a member of the editorial board of The Journal of the Neurological Sciences, the official publication of the WFN.

In 2008, I began my three-year  service as an elected trustee to the  WFN Board of Directors under the  current administration. I was re-elected  in 2011 for a second consecutive term; thus, I have participated in all major policy and administrative decisions of the WFN for the past five years.

Throughout my career, I have been  interested in numerous research topics ranging from tropical neurology, in  particular nutritional problems in  neurology, meningitis, herpes  encephalitis, neurocysticercosis and  tropical spastic paraparesis due to HTLV-1; to the neuroepidemiology of dementia and Parkinson’s disease, stroke and  vascular dementia; to recent studies of two modern epidemics: Alzheimer’s  disease and autism.

I am currently the scientific director and administrator of a large clinical and research Alzheimer’s and Dementia Center in Houston, Texas, and have been successful in fundraising.

I hold an academic position as  professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College with involvement in  the neurological education of medical  students, residents and fellows, including an active observership international program.

Presidential Agenda

My presidential agenda can be summarized in the motto “Neurology for the  21st Century,” emphasizing the need  for widespread and novel use of  communication technologies such as cellular telephones and web-based social media as a forum for collaboration, education, training and service including long-distance consultations (telemedicine); encouraging the provision of imaging  and clinical neurophysiology equipment  in places where neurologists are still  deprived of these critical elements for  the modern practice of neurology;  supporting the translation and  dissemination of educational and  informational materials of the WFN  from English into other languages  as a way to improve communication among the member societies, trainees  and fellow neurologists throughout the world.

I would seek sponsorship and  multinational cooperation for  neuroepidemiological studies: By  facilitating the sharing of international databases, the WFN could allow  researchers to analyze the public health implications of the main neurological problems in different parts of the  world. I intend to reinforce the African Initiative launched by Johan A. Aarli, as well as Vladimir Hachinski’s Latin American Initiative and Asia-Oceania Initiative. I will continue to enhance the WFN collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and with other international neuroscience  societies, particularly with neurosurgery specialists.


Early in life, I learned that education  is critical in order to overcome the  limitations imposed by environment and economic restrictions. I believe  that community education is also the answer to many of the neurological problems resulting from treatable risk factors such as hypertension, malnutrition, trauma and violence, among others. Therefore, public health practice and policy should become important tools for neurologists.

Increasing the number and educational level of neurologists worldwide by means of modern communication technologies must result in tangible benefits for the neurological health and care of all countries and their peoples. This presidential agenda would continue the legacy of my illustrious predecessors and enhance the name of the WFN in areas of the world where neurology is still a young specialty.

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