The Auxiliary to the American Academy of Neurology.

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Humans; Male; Female; United States; Societies, Medical; Neurology; Neurologists; Nervous System Diseases; Academies and Institutes; oregon, portland


The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) was founded in 1948, and the Women's Auxiliary to the AAN was founded shortly thereafter. We reviewed historical archives of the AAN and Women's Auxiliary and interviewed past Auxiliary leaders to understand the perception and roles of neurologists' spouses. The Women's Auxiliary to the AAN was originally formed for the wives of neurologist Academy members with the intention of facilitating social and intragroup relationships. The first leaders and members of the organization included some of the spouses of the original Academy founders. With the original scope to provide socialization while the men were at meetings, the male neurologists initially planned much of the Auxiliary's activities. Over time, the Auxiliary's activities shifted and became women-led; engagement in community outreach grew, subcommittees expanded, and the group engaged in supporting the AAN in achieving its goals of improving neurology education and research. The change paralleled the women's movement with educational topics during the Auxiliary's meetings evolving from topics on homemaking to business and understanding neurologic diseases. The Auxiliary was intertwined with the Academy and initiated the S. Weir Mitchell Award and the Founders Award of the AAN in 1955 and 1994 to encourage basic and clinical research in neurology, respectively. In 1982, the Auxiliary requested increased involvement in the scientific programs at the annual meetings. Reflecting societal change, the name was changed to the "Auxiliary to the AAN" in the 1970s, and in the mid-1990s to the "Alliance to the AAN" to accommodate the increasing number of male partners of neurologists. Based on interviews, the Auxiliary provided engagement, empowerment, and connection between women. The Auxiliary's activities tapered in the late 1990s, in part due to changes in women's occupations, and to the rise of women's membership and leadership within the Academy.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)

Clinical Institute

Women & Children