Message from the Chair

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Dr. Daniel Yoshor

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 its missions: patient care, education, and research.

We have a large and active department, with 19 full-time Baylor faculty neurosurgeons, as well as an additional 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 active clinical, research, and educational programs. The clinical neurosurgery service at our flagship hospital, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, has grown dramatically over the past 5 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 3rd 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 starting their final year, covering every subspecialty in neurosurgery in-depth, including many complex and unusual operations. In recognition of untapped opportunities for clinical training, the RRC recently approved an increase in our resident complement expanded from 21 to 25 residents, making our program one of the largest (top 5) in the nation.

We are one of only nine departments in the nation that has been awarded an NINDS R25 training grant for neurosurgery resident research, and we have increased the amount of dedicated time for our residents who pursue a laboratory research experience. But we also remain true to our long-standing culture of excellence in clinical training. Finally, we have added new fellowships in neurocritical care, complex spine, endovascular, and functional neurosurgery, in addition to the well-established fellowships in pediatric neurosurgery at Texas Children's and in surgical neuro-oncology at MD Anderson, and we have begun to make some of these opportunities available to our resident as enfolded experiences. Our graduates are coveted by top institutions for jobs and fellowships, and they thrive in both academic and private practice settings.

The past five years have also witnessed remarkable growth in our research programs. In 2015, the department had $975,000 in NIH funding, ranking #25 in the nation (Blue Ridge). For 2019, we are projected to receive $7,000,000 in NIH funding, which should place us well within the top 10 nationally, possibly in the top 5. Research in the Baylor Department of Neurosurgery now includes federally funded projects in cognitive and systems neuroscience, human neurophysiology, brain-computer interfaces, neuroengineering, brain tumors, neural regeneration, neurotrauma, gliagenesis, deep brain stimulation, psychiatric disorders, stroke, pain, and more.

Of course, the key to our department is not the 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.