In the early 1990s, a feeling developed amongst a group of pediatric neuroradiologists that pediatric neuroradiology lacked representation in the American Society of Neuroradiology and in the Society for Pediatric Radiology. Furthermore, it was given little consideration at the Society’s annual meetings. The only dedicated pediatric neuroradiology session at the ASNR was an interesting case session that was usually held in a small room with radiologists projecting CT and MRI images from a light box onto a screen. At the time, the ASNR mainly served the private practice neuroradiologist focused on CNS disease in the adult.

Imaging children was considered challenging by radiologists: pediatric imaging was more time-consuming and it required more resources. In addition, the interpreting radiologist had to be familiar with normal childhood development and diseases of the young.  Performing MRIs on children seemed daunting and most pediatric radiologists and neuroradiologists felt inadequately trained in brain development and pediatric CNS disorders. MRI-compatible life support devices or monitoring devices were lacking at the time and certainly, none of them were designed for children. Therefore, most radiologists wanted no part of pediatric neuroradiology and the ASNR programming reflected just that.


Several pediatric neuroradiologists firmly believed in the importance of pediatric neuroradiology and thought that it should play a greater role at annual ASNR meetings. Derek Harwood-Nash and Tom Naidich were among the most vocal proponents of this. In 1991, at the RSNA, they approached Jim Barkovich with the idea of a pediatric neuroradiology society that could act as a home for pediatric neuroradiologists and could play a role in the ASNR and the SPR societies. All agreed that it was a good idea and that it would be an important step for the specialty. However, it was important to get support from the ASNR and the SPR if the society was to be successful.


Jim Barkovich was charged with the task of communicating with other neuroradiology subspecialists and devising a plan that would support the growth of the budding neuroradiology subspecialties without causing detriment to the ASNR. At the time, the other neuroradiology subspecialties were head & neck and the nascent interventional neuroradiology (INR). The ASHNR had been in existence for many years and it was a fully developed independent society and INR was just establishing its own identity. Spine was considered part of general neuroradiology and functional MRI had not yet emerged.

Representatives from the subspecialty groups appeared before the ASNR Executive Committee to provide their views on specialization in neuroradiology and to encourage the ASNR to support subspecialty growth. The ASNR could provide administrative support and could help reduce the cost of meetings by supporting subspecialty meetings within the annual ASNR meeting. The discussions began in the Executive Committee under the leadership of David Norman and continued into the presidencies of Glenn Forbes and Bob Quencer. Ultimately, all agreed that the best course of action would be to support the formation of subspecialty groups within neuroradiology and to draw up a set of rules that would apply to the subspecialty societies and their finances. An organizing meeting was held in 1992 at the ASNR in St. Louis. It was attended by approximately 70 radiologists who became the founding members of the ASPNR.


Jim Barkovich was elected the first president of the ASPNR. In that role, he was invited to the ASNR Executive Committee meetings as agreements about the financial and administrative management of the ASPNR and annual meeting details were established. An unofficial executive committee, consisting of Bill Ball, Pat Barnes, Jim Brunbach, Marv Nelson, and Jim Barkovich, communicated multiple times that year to create the ASPNR programming. The first official ASPNR meeting was held in May 1993 in conjunction with the ASNR annual meeting in Vancouver.


Since the 1990s, the ASPNR has steadily grown in membership, depth and breadth. Many members are now further subspecialized in the field of pediatric neuroradiology. ASPNR members lecture widely at the ASNR, SPR, ASHNR, ASSR, ENRS, and ISMRM meetings and speak frequently at international meetings on various topics of pediatric neuroradiology. In January 2019, the first standalone ASPNR scientific meeting was held in New Orleans and it was an immediate success. Since then, ASPNR annual meetings have grown in attendance, support, and popularity.

The society has established itself as a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive organization focused on promoting best clinical practices for pediatric neuroradiology care, supporting advances in pediatric neuroradiology research, and providing a warm environment in which its members can flourish.

Today, the ASPNR is a strong independent society with more than 600 members and it enjoys excellent collaborative partnerships with the ASNR, SPR, and ESNR. The ASPNR is the leading national and international society devoted to pediatric neuroradiology.