Friday, October 21, 2011

Neurology celebrates milestone anniversaries

LEADING THE WAY: From left, Beverly Mahfuz,
administrator in the Neurology Department;
Young; Nicte Mejia, MD, chair of the MGH Neurology
Diversity Committee; and Schwamm

Originally given the title “Electrician of the Hospital” and then “Physician to Out-Patients with Disease of the Nervous System,” James Jackson Putnam began his work at the MGH in 1872. It wasn’t until 1911, when the Neuromedical Service was formally established, that Putnam officially became its first chief. On Oct. 13, the eighth chief in a long line of great minds, Anne B. Young, MD, PhD, opened a daylong celebration of the hospital’s bicentennial and the department’s centennial with a presentation about the history of MGH Neurology.

Today, said Young, the Neurology Department has nearly 400 staff members and is considered a global leader in its field. Young highlighted some of the department’s most exciting research advances and clinical programs – such as the Telestroke Program led by Lee H. Schwamm, MD, vice chairman of Neurology – and described the recent opening of Neurosciences and Neurosciences Intensive Care Units in the Lunder Building. To a round of applause, Young closed by sharing that a new service, the VSC Child Neurology Service, would be named after Verne S. Caviness, MD, PhD, interim chief from 1989 to 1991 and current Giovanni Armenise Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. The morning session continued with several brief lectures by staff, including Schwamm.

MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD, offered his congratulations to the department during an afternoon luncheon and announced the establishment of a departmental award for individuals or groups that have promoted understanding of or have improved diversity in Neurology. The annual prize, presented by the Neurology Diversity Committee, is named the Anne B. Young Diversity Visiting Scholar Award in honor of Young, who was the first female chief of service at the MGH and has been a champion and role model for women in her field.

The afternoon session featured presentations about current and future research in areas ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to neuro-oncology and remarks by David F. Torchiana, MD, chairman and CEO of the MGPO.

“We were thrilled to honor the hospital’s 200 years and 100 years of the formal establishment of MGH Neurology, as well as Dr. Young’s 20 years of leadership – a triple bonus to what has been an overall exciting year for our department,” says Liang Yap, PhD, co-chair of the event.

Adds co-chair Wilma M. Wasco, PhD: “We hope to continue this tradition of service and leadership to the global community for the next 200 years.”

Read more articles from the 10/21/11 Hotline issue.



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