Department of Neurological Surgery
Every fall I look forward to the annual meeting of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), a distinctive forum for international scientific exchange, and I am delighted to share that this year our faculty and residents continue to lead the global conversation surrounding neurosurgical best practices and path-defining research.
At next week's annual meeting our team will train our peers on the use of innovative surgical robotics, present new insights into how the brain produces language, share best practices for the surgical treatment of acoustic neuroma, spinal disorders and trigeminal neuralgia and much more.
I hope you can also join us at the CNS Resident SANS challenge, where Drs. Lauren Stone (PGY-5), Brian Hirshman (PGY-7) and David Santiago-Dieppa (faculty mentor) return for a potential third consecutive national championship and aim to beat their own record-setting performance from last year.
Finally, I invite you to follow us on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram for live updates on our onsite activities.
Thank you all, as always, for your support of our department's efforts to change the future of neurosurgical care through groundbreaking research and educating future neurosurgical leaders. I hope we can connect in Washington D.C.
Alexander A. Khalessi, MD, MBA
Chair, Department of Neurological Surgery
Professor of Neurological Surgery, Radiology and Neurosciences
Don and Karen Cohn Chancellor's Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery
Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Annual Meeting
Connect with us at the 2023 CNS annual meeting!
From a presidential transition, main-stage symposium seminars, podium presentations, book signings and more, our faculty and residents are looking forward to sharing clinical best practices and their latest scientific discoveries with the neurosurgical community at the 2023 CNS annual meeting.
Cheer us on to a three-peat at the Resident SANS Challenge
Last year our team became the first back-to-back champions in the challenge's history and shattered their own record for all-time highest score. Join us on Sept. 10 from 1-3:00 p.m. as Drs. Lauren Stone (PGY-5), Brian Hirshman (PGY-7) and mentor David Santiago-Dieppa defend their two-time national win.
New textbook details best practices for surgical treatment of intracranial AVMs
Edited by experts Drs. Alexander Khalessi, Michael Apuzzo and Philip Stieg, Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations: Essentials for Patients and Practitioners provides an overview of the latest state-of-the-art surgical treatment options for intracranial AVMs in language designed for patients, non-surgical specialists—including emergency medicine, anesthesia and intensive care professionals—and neurosurgical professionals. Join Drs. Khalessi and Stieg on Monday, Sept. 11, from 9:40 to 10:40 a.m. at the Xperience Lounge for a book signing.
UC San Diego ranked #21 in the nation for neurosurgery & neurology care
Following an evaluation of more than 4,500 hospitals, we were named #21 in the nation for best neurosurgery and neurology care and our stroke team High Performing—the highest possible ranking—by U.S. News & World Report. For the first time, UC San Diego Health was named to the “Best Hospitals National Honor Roll,” a distinction awarded to only 22 hospitals in the U.S.
Rady Children's ranked #8 in the nation for neurosurgery & neurology care
Congratulations to our division of pediatric neurosurgery at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego—led by Drs. Michael Levy and David Gonda—which was once-again ranked #8 in the nation for best pediatric neurosurgery & neurology care by U.S. News & World Report. For the first time in its history, Rady Childrens was also ranked among the nation's top 10 children’s hospitals.
Skilled Navy leader Dr. Jeffrey Tomlin joins our faculty
We're delighted to welcome former U.S. Navy trauma neurosurgeon Jeffrey Tomlin, MD, MBA, to our team. Dr. Tomlin held a variety of leadership positions across the Navy medicine enterprise while serving more than 33 years of continuous active duty. He brings deep expertise in neurotrauma and critical care treatment.
Travel to high-volume acoustic neuroma centers holds benefits
Patients who travel to high-volume acoustic neuroma centers experience superior outcomes compared to those who receive treatment at local, low-volume centers, according to a Journal of Neuro-Oncology study authored by Drs. Marc Schwartz and Rick Friedman. Drs. Schwartz and Friedman co-lead the highest volume center in the nation.
UC San Diego among first in nation to deliver cell therapy for epilepsy to the brain
Dr. Sharona Ben-Haim performed one of the first surgeries delivering the therapy, which could lead to a revolutionary advancement in epilepsy treatment. The approach aims to preserve normal brain tissue and help more drug-resistant epilepsy patients achieve seizure freedom.
Get to know our newest residents
Drs. Nicholas Hernandez (PGY-1) and Jubran Jubran (PGY-1) share why UC San Diego was their number one selection in the Match and what they're looking forward to during residency in our latest videos.
Sub-Is join us for summer rotations
This summer we were delighted to welcome sub-Is from around the nation to our rotation. Watch the videos below to hear two sub-Is, Manjari Daniel and Gautam Produturi, share their experiences.
Congratulations to graduate resident Dr. Usman Khan
We were delighted to celebrate Dr. Khan's numerous accomplishments at a heartfelt graduation ceremony. Dr. Khan joins Drs. Daniel Kelly, Garni Barkhoudarian and Neil Martin for a one-year fellowship in minimally invasive and keyhole approaches. Read his reflections on his residency at UC San Diego.
"Best Resident Research Day presentation" award
Congratulations to Dr. Luis Daniel Diaz-Aguilar (PGY-6), who received our award for "Best Resident Research Day Presentation.” He conducted a multi-institutional review that demonstrates prone transpsoas (PTP) are comparable or advantageous to lateral interbody fusion (LLIF).
Meet Dr. Jayant Menon, class of 2013
Jayant Menon, MD, MEng, is a clinical associate professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and the CEO of Nahlia, a NASA-funded company developing an Autonomous Medical Response Agent to help astronauts on long-duration missions maintain optimal health and performance. The company's goal is to deliver software that improves clinical outcomes by empowering patients and their caregivers to make care decisions, wherever they are in the solar system.
Dr. Alexander Khalessi receives Excellence in Stewardship Award
Dr. Khalessi was selected from all UC San Diego faculty and staff to receive the UC San Diego Foundation's award for outstanding donor stewardship. His exemplary efforts included establishing our department's first endowed chair and securing funds to expand our Center for the Future of Surgery, now the largest, most comprehensive surgical training facility in the nation.
Dr. Joseph Ciacci leads Orange Academic Community to victory
As director of the UC San Diego School of Medicine Orange Academic Community (AC) Dr. Joseph Ciacci provides mentoring, counseling and support to medical students, including help with specialty selection and identifying research projects. Under his leadership his cohort won the AC cup, a year-long competition which features athletic, scholarly and artistic events.
Dr. Martin Pham recognized for excellence in clinical teaching
Congratulations to Dr. Martin Pham on receiving the Whitehill Prize for Excellence in the teaching of clinical medicine to students, residents and fellows! Dr. Pham was selected by our chief resident, Dr. Usman Khan, for his compassionate bedside manner; advocacy for trainees; and support of clinical, translational or basic science research projects.
Administrative supervisor named Employee of the Year by UC San Diego
Samia Hamnache, MBA, our administrative operations supervisor and justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) program manger, was named UC San Diego's Principal Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year—the highest award possible. Her colleagues described her as a deeply supportive manager and a dedicated advocate for JEDI initiatives.
Meet neurosurgeon-scientist Dr. Thomas Beaumont
Thomas Beaumont, MD, PhD, an expert in brain, skull base and pituitary tumor surgery, shares how he is using advanced technologies to provide exceptional care for his patients, discusses his latest brain cancer research and offers his predictions for the future of brain cancer care.
Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI)
Sharing career insights with the LatinX Medical Society
Dr. Joseph Osorio joined the LatinX Medical Society of UC San Diego for Café Con Leche, a bimonthly lunch-time talk with a LatinX physician discussing their personal journey in medical education and the importance of diversity in medicine.
Inspiring the neurosurgeon-scientists of the future
Our faculty were delighted to host undergraduate students from SURF, a summer program designed for students who are interested in a MD/PhD and are members of groups underrepresented in the health sciences.
Celebrating Women in Neurosurgery (WINS)
We were delighted to join 2023 WINS chair Dr. Sharona Ben-Haim to honor the group's achievements since its founding in 1989 and celebrate the next generation of women neurosurgeons at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) annual meeting. Drs. Karin Muraszko and Shelly Timmons—both past Grand Rounds speakers—were honored for their lifetime contributions to our speciality.
Dr. Alexander Tenorio testifies before U.S. Congress on border wall injuries
Dr. Alexander Tenorio (PGY-4) shared his research conducted with Dr. Joseph Ciacci documenting a surge in brain and spine injuries following the height extension of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at a joint hearing of the Border Security and Enforcement and Oversight, Investigations and Accountability subcommittees.
Celebrating Pride with UC San Diego Health and our San Diego community
We were honored to walk with UC San Diego Health physicians, APPs, nurses and colleagues—including CEO Patty Maysent and health JEDI leader Dr. Crystal Cené—at the San Diego Pride Parade. The event is one of the largest Prides in the nation, attracting more than 300,000 people.
Dr. Philip Stieg shares self-actualization and leadership insights
We were delighted to welcome the esteemed Dr. Philip Stieg as our John Alksne, MD, Distinguished Visiting Professor lecturer. Dr. Stieg shared valuable insights into self-actualization and leadership. Read key takeaways from the talk.
Comic-Con panel discusses 3D printing and neurosurgery
Drs. Michael Levy and Justin Ryan took the stage at Comic-Con, the largest comic and pop culture event in the nation, to share how 3D printing is improving care at our division of pediatric neurosurgery at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego.
Join us at the Sun Valley Cerebrovascular Conference for exceptional education in a stunning location
Registration is now open for the three-day event, held February 1-3, that features national and international thought leaders discussing the latest treatments and research for cerebrovascular disease. The dynamic program includes short lectures in the morning punctuated by round-table discussions, case presentations and hot topics. Follow @SunValleyCVConf for the latest conference updates.
Raising awareness of stroke
Dr. Alexander Khalessi joined Fox5 San Diego to share how thrombectomies and minimally invasive techniques—both advanced by UC San Diego neurological surgery—are transforming stroke outcomes.
The power of speciality care
A child who received a life-saving shunt at UC San Diego Health grew up to become a mother who safely delivered premature twins thanks to specialty care provided by Dr. Thomas Beaumont and a multidisciplinary team.
UC San Diego raises record-breaking $565.7 million
More than half of the gifts and grants were directed to health sciences to advance path-breaking stem cell research, AI algorithms that improve patient care and more.
Help save more lives by supporting neurological surgery
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