Chair's Corner Blog

2020 Department Report

In 1920 Edward B. Towne, a disciple of Henry Cushing, brought modern neurosurgery to Stanford. Over the last 100 years, the field of neurosurgery has witnessed significant advancements in our understanding and treatment of neurological disease and injury. Over the last quarter century, I have been incredibly fortunate in my role as Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford, to be able to continue to build on the legacy of those who came before me by fostering a culture of excellence, innovation, and inclusion.

We are living through unprecedented historic times; the global pandemic and social unrest of the first half of 2020 have forced all of us to examine our past, and to look to the changes we hope to make in ourselves and in our communities for the future. Recently, in our efforts to address the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, for example, we had to quickly adapt new ways of conducting research, treating patients, and communicating with our colleagues, families, and friends. At Stanford we instituted major steps to adjust our protocols and procedures to ensure we continue to provide excellent care.

As demonstrations and protests continue throughout our towns and cities over the last few weeks, we have declared our commitment to standing in solidarity against racism, violence, and intolerance, and to use our voice in support of health and safety. I am especially proud of the concerted efforts we’ve made over the last couple of decades to mentor, train, and hire a diverse population of surgeons, scientists, and residents- as one measure of addressing underrepresentation in our field.

Change is always uncertain, and this certainly isn’t an easy time. However, change is beneficial; it allows for fresh vision, ideas, direction and energy. With that in mind, I am stepping down as Chair and would like to welcome our new Chair, Michael Lim, MD, back to the Stanford Neurosurgery family. Dr. Lim is an accomplished, Stanford-trained brain tumor neurosurgeon and scientist, who will continue to instill the open, friendly, and supportive environment that we value so much. I am excited to see how he continues to expand Stanford’s preeminence in the field of neurosurgery, and to build upon our culture of diversity, discovery, and distinction.

I am also pleased to share with you our publication, Visionary Neurosurgery: A Century of Innovations, a comprehensive look at the accomplishments of the Stanford Department of Neurosurgery over the past century, and a preview of the success yet to come.

With gratitude,

Gary K. Steinberg, MD, PhD
Bernard and Ronni Lacroute-William Randolph Hearst
Professor of Neurosurgery and the Neurosciences
Chair, Department of Neurosurgery
Stanford University School of Medicine