North American Neuromodulation Society

History of NANS

In 1994 Barry Strauss and Ballard Wright, two anesthesiologist pain specialists contacted Medtronic and the Neuromed Corporation for assistance with formation of what they called the Neuraxial Pain Society.

Those present at the first meeting in Atlanta Georgia on July 14, 1994 were:

-Giancarlo Barolat
-Marshall Bedder
-Julia Costich, an attorney
-Claudio Feler
-Sam Hassenbusch
-Todd Jaffe
-Peter Janik, director of sales for Neuromed (later Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, then St. Jude Neuromodulation)
-Yasin Khan
-Elliott Krames
-Jay Law
-Richard North
-Joshua Prager
-Michael Stanton-Hicks
-Barry Strauss
-James Toren
-Gary Taylor, vice president of sales for Medtronic
-Todd Wetzel
-Ballard Wright

Michael Stanton Hicks was elected president and Ballard Wright was appointed Executive Director. The organization was formed as the American Neuromodulation Society, ANS, Incorporated in Kentucky. As a freestanding neuromodulation society, ANS chose to join the newly formed International Neuromodulation Society as a chapter.

The INS and the ANS held its first joint scientific meeting in Florida within the next two years. This represented the first neuromodulation meeting on this continent.

The Neuromed Corporation officially changed its name to Advanced Neuromodulation Systems utilizing the same acronym ANS and in order to avoid confusion the American Neuromodulation Society changed its name to the North American Neuromodulation Society NANS.

Peter Staats, MD, director of the pain center at Johns Hopkins medical school, facilitated and chaired NANS independent scientific meetings, with CME being provided by Johns Hopkins. Several of these meetings were held in Orlando Florida.

In 1998 there was a change in leadership of NANS and John Oakley, MD became the second president and Susan Ford was appointed Executive Director. The scientific meeting held in Orlando came for from fulfilling the room block requirement for the hotel and NANS financial commitment to the meeting exceeded the funds in the treasury. Marshall Bedder, MD, through an arduous series of negotiations, successfully prevented NANS from filing bankruptcy as a result of the shortfall at that meeting. The commitment made required additional scientific meetings in Orlando until the debt was paid.

With the financial struggles NANS was having, many of the meetings of the board were quite contentious both before and after the first change in leadership. Growth of the organization was slower than most board members envisioned. During the presidencies of Sam Hassenbusch, MD and Peter Staats, MD, the quality of the meetings continued to improve as the organization continued to struggle financially. Chris Chavez, president of ANS, demonstrated a consistent financial commitment to NANS in marked contrast to the role that Gary Taylor's successor played in assisting NANS in avoiding bankruptcy.

After NANS’ commitment to Orlando had been fulfilled, NANS held meetings jointly with Johns Hopkins University either in Baltimore or in another city. Susan Ford resigned as executive director and the Association Management Center company out of Chicago became NANS’ management corporation and new headquarters.

In the following years, one board member convinced the board to hold meetings in conjunction with other large scientific meetings such as the American Academy of Neurosurgeons and the Society for Neurosciences. The vision was to attract members of those societies to our annual meeting. This concept failed and the annual meeting did not begin to grow until the venue changed to Las Vegas. The 2005 meeting, for example, held in Washington DC after the neuroscience meeting, had physician attendance of only 125.

In 2006 Ali Rezai, MD and Joshua Prager, MD chaired the scientific meeting at the Wynn Hotel with an attendance of over 600. Marty Tobin, from the Cleveland Clinic, took over management of the meeting. The following year NANS held a joint meeting with the INS in Acapulco, Mexico, which unfortunately had lower attendance than the prior year's meeting of NANS alone. In 2008 NANS returned to Las Vegas and held the meeting at Mandalay Bay with attendance that markedly exceeded the 2006 meeting. NANS also held its first fellows cadaver course in conjunction with the annual scientific meeting. During Joshua Prager’s presidency, alliances were made by reaching out to other physician societies. The first coalition for neuromodulation therapy access (the Neuromodulation Therapy Access Coalition: NTAC), was formed with members including Boston Scientific, Medtronic, St. Jude, élan, as well as four other physicians societies and the American Pain Foundation. This coalition was successful in preventing the adoption of guidelines in many states that would have significantly curtailed patient access to neuromodulation therapies. David Kloth, MD and Todd Sitzman, MD were recruited to the board, both former presidents of larger physician pain societies. NANS first leadership development meeting was held at this time. NANS' financial situation also progressed to the point of solid financial solvency.

In 2007, Jaimie Henderson, MD became president and, under his guidance in the fall of 2009, the NANS Board held its first extended board retreat which produced a mission statement and vision for NANS' future. The annual meeting attendance over those two years also continued to grow. In 2008, Chris Welber joined NANS as Executive Director.

Robert Foreman, PhD became the first non-physician president of NANS in 2009 with the sudden resignation of NANS president, elect. The road map set forth by the retreat was well executed. The annual meeting moved back to the Wynn at the Encore increased attendance once again. The annual meeting included multiple pre-meetings to educate non-physicians and to address in detail important topics. During the summer of 2009, Dr. Foreman took a leadership role with other NANS board members and NANS participated, for the first time, in a lobbying event on Capitol Hill in conjunction with ASIPP.

In 2011 Ali Rezai, MD became president and began the transition of having the scientific program run by others. Ash Sharan, MD continued the great work on the scientific that Dr. Rezai had fortified. The number of pre-meetings at the annual meeting increased and NANS held its "Invention, Investment, Invigoration" I3 for a full day prior to the scientific meeting. The I3 meeting was oversubscribed and highly successful, also resulting in many of its attendees staying on to attend the scientific meeting. 

David Kloth, MD assumed the presidency of NANS in 2013 and was extremely active in advocating for access to the therapy. NANS' second formal retreat was held in the summer of 2014 to set the compass for the remainder of the decade. The number of pre-meeting courses continues to expand as NANS' meeting size continues to grow. Over the last five years, NANS has been grateful for the collaboration and participation at its annual meeting of its three diamond sponsors: Boston scientific, Medtronic and St. Jude Neuromodulation.

The Society hopes to continue this trajectory of growth and expansion of neuromodulation on into the future by building on these past successes.

NANS Past Presidents

1994-1998 Michael Stanton- Hicks, MD


1998-2001 John C. Oakley, MD


 2001-2002 Sam Hassenbusch, MD PhD

2002-2003 Peter Staats, MD


2003-2005 Richard North, MD


2005-2007 Joshua Prager, MD MS


2007-2009 Jaimie Henderson, MD


2009-2011 Robert D. Foreman, PhD


2011-2013 Ali Rezai, MD


2013-2015 David Kloth, MD

2016-2018 Ashwini D Sharan, MD

 Ashwini D. Sharan, MD FACS -- Professor of Neurosurgery


2018-2020 Todd Sitzman, MD

B. Todd Sitzman, MD, MPH - NPC28 | Aug 27-28, 2021

2020-2022 Peter Konrad, MD PHD

Peter E. Konrad | Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering | Vanderbilt University

2022-2024 Salim Hayek, MD PhD

Hayek, Salim | Pri-Med

NANS Events   

  • Jan. 12-15, 2023

    NANS 26th Annual Meeting
    Caesar's Palace
    Las Vegas, NV


    Learn More

  • Sep. 22-23, 2022

    NANS September Cadaver Course
    Viticus Center
    Las Vegas, NV


    Learn More

Contains 0 items
Subtotal: $0.00

Contains 0 items
Subtotal: $0.00