Message from the Chair
This is an exciting time for the Department of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine. While the department has a rich and storied 70-year history, the past several years have been notable for remarkable growth in all three of our missions: patient care, education, and research.
We have a large and active department, with 19 full-time Baylor faculty neurosurgeons, two active voluntary faculty and 13 MD Anderson neurosurgeons who hold adjunct faculty appointments in the department, as well as many additional faculty who help us fulfill our research and educational missions. The department benefits greatly from its long-standing relationships with the renowned Baylor-affiliated hospitals in the Texas Medical Center that serve as sites for our clinical, research, and educational programs.
The clinical neurosurgery service at our flagship adult hospital, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, has grown dramatically over the past five years, with the development of subspecialty programs of excellence in complex spine, functional and epilepsy, vascular (open and endovascular), skull base and pituitary surgery. Baylor St. Luke’s is now the highest-ranked adult neurology/neurosurgery hospital in Houston and one of the top 20 in the nation according to the latest US News & World Report rankings. Texas Children’s has perhaps the busiest pediatric neurosurgery hospital service in the country. It is ranked third in the nation for pediatric neurology and neurosurgery in the US News rankings, with internationally renowned programs in pediatric epilepsy surgery and fetal neurosurgery. Ben Taub remains the jewel of the residency program and a leading center for neurotrauma clinical care and research, as reflected in its excellent American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program ratings for the management of traumatic brain injuries. Our neurosurgery service at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is the busiest in the entire VA system. And MD Anderson continues to be an outstanding partner for resident education and research collaboration.
The diverse experiences at five distinct hospital training sites, under the mentorship of some of the world's leading neurosurgeons, makes for an extraordinary neurosurgery residency. Our current chief residents each logged over 1,500 major cases before even starting their final year, covering every subspecialty in neurosurgery in-depth, and have new opportunities for enfolded subspecialty training. In recognition of untapped opportunities for clinical training, our resident complement recently expanded from 21 to 25 residents, making our program one of the largest (top five) in the nation.
The past five years have also witnessed remarkable growth in our research programs, from $1 million in NIH funding in 2015 (ranking 25 in the nation) to $10 million in 2019 (ranking third in the nation). We are one of only nine departments in the nation that has been awarded an NINDS R25 research training grant specifically for neurosurgery residents, and we have increased the amount of dedicated time available to residents who pursue a laboratory research experience. But we also remain true to our long-standing culture of excellence in clinical training.
Of course, the essence of our department goes far beyond case numbers, rankings or grants; it is our faculty, staff, residents, and fellows, and the culture they engender. We take great pride in our culture of honesty, dedication, generosity, and respect, as established by our previous chairs, Dr. George Ehni, Dr. Robert Grossman and Dr. Raymond Sawaya. I invite you to explore our departmental website and see how their legacy of neurosurgical excellence lives on.