Dear Members of the Harvard Medical School Community
I am thrilled to share with you the news that Harvard Medical School has recently established a new academic department—the HMS Department of Neurosurgery. The historic decision to develop neurosurgery into an academic department was driven in part by the knowledge that, as a discipline, neurosurgery is widely recognized as a specialty distinct from general surgery in terms of training programs, fellowships, and specialty boards specific to its own academic status.
HMS has played an important historical role in neurosurgery. Harvey Cushing, a brain-surgery pioneer and member of the HMS Class of 1895, founded the field a century ago while he was at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, now Brigham and Women's Hospital, which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Cushing is widely considered the "father of modern neurosurgery."
This change in status to an appointing academic department was championed by the chiefs of neurosurgery at four of our affiliated hospitals. Three of our affiliates—Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's, and Massachusetts General Hospital—had housed hospital-based Departments of Neurosurgery, while Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center had organized neurosurgery as a division of its Department of Surgery. Until now, our chiefs of surgery have been managing HMS faculty appointments for neurosurgeons and neuroscientists through the departments of surgery.
This change brings a number of benefits, including more direct oversight of faculty promotions and an increased capability to recruit faculty. It also creates an important entity aligned with peer institutions.
The new HMS Department of Neurosurgery will be governed by an executive committee led by Robert Martuza, the William and Elizabeth Sweet Professor of Neuroscience at HMS and chief of Mass General's Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Martuza will serve a three-year term as the inaugural chair of the committee.
Harvey Cushing Bronze Plaque - 1869 :: 1939
Mixter Library - MGH Neurosurgery
Many people throughout HMS have worked tirelessly to make this happen. I would like to thank all involved for their efforts and dedication, particularly the CEOs of the affected hospitals, our chiefs of surgery, Nancy Tarbell, our dean for academic and clinical affairs, and Maureen Connelly, our dean for faculty affairs.
Please join me in congratulating our colleagues in the new Department of Neurosurgery.
Jeffrey S. Flier, MD
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine