New academic department at HMS
Recognizing neurosurgery as a discipline distinct from general surgery, Harvard Medical School has established a Department of Neurosurgery as an academic department, effective October 1.
In a letter to the HMS community addressing the change, Jeffrey S. Flier, HMS dean of medicine said 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,” he wrote, noting that Cushing is widely considered the “father of modern neurosurgery.”
The change in status to an appointing academic department was championed by the chiefs of neurosurgery at four of the School’s affiliated hospitals. Three of the affiliates—Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s, and Massachusetts General Hospital—had previously 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, chiefs of surgery have been managing HMS faculty appointments for neurosurgeons and neuroscientists through the departments of Surgery.
The new academic department will be governed by an executive committee led by Robert Martuza, the William and Elizabeth Sweet Professor of Neuroscience at HMS and chief of the Mass General Department of Neurosurgery. Martuza will serve a three-year term as the inaugural chair of the committee.
According to Nancy Tarbell, the C.C. Wang Professor of Radiation Oncology and HMS dean for academic and clinical affairs, this change brings potential benefits to the new department, including more direct oversight of faculty promotions; increased capability to recruit faculty; and comparability with peer institutions. The decision to develop neurosurgery into an academic department was driven in part by the knowledge that, as a discipline, neurosurgery is recognized as a specialty distinct from general surgery in terms of training programs, fellowships, and specialty boards.
About Harvard Medical School (HMS)
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“Since 1872, Harvard Medical School has been the incubator of bold ideas—a place where extraordinary people advance education, science and health care with unrelenting passion.
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About Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)
Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children’s health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights.
About Harvard University.
Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world.
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. Harvard faculty are engaged with teaching and research to push the boundaries of human knowledge. For students who are excited to investigate the biggest issues of the 21st century, Harvard offers an unparalleled student experience and a generous financial aid program, with over $160 million awarded to more than 60% of our undergraduate students. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education.
‘Universities nurture the hopes of the world: in solving challenges that cross borders; in unlocking and harnessing new knowledge; in building cultural and political understanding; and in modeling environments that promote dialogue and debate… The ideal and breadth of liberal education that embraces the humanities and arts as well as the social and natural sciences is at the core of Harvard’s philosophy. ’/ Drew Gilpin Faust
* The above story is adapted from materials provided by Harvard University