Our Heritage

A History of the Neurological Institute of New York and Its Department of Neurological Surgery

The Neurosurgeons of New Jersey network of doctors are very proud of their roots. Many of our esteemed surgeons have come from New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center. Being that Columbia University Medical Center was once called home to these doctors, here is the history of the amazing institution.

—— 1908 ——

The Beginnings

In 1908, two New York City neurologists, Joseph Collins and Joseph Fraenkel, began to discuss forming a hospital devoted solely to the care of those afflicted with neurological diseases. Virtually all neurological illnesses were thought of as incurable, and to many physicians, not even considered respectable. There were no hospitals devoted exclusively to the care of patients with neurological diseases.

To provide a more surgical point of view for these conditions, Pearce Bailey, another prominent New York neurologist, and Charles Elsberg joined the formative group in 1909. These men were enthusiastic about establishing a neurological institute to train students to care for neurological diseases. Their mission was to provide a model for other such institutes throughout the world. Their institution was incorporated as The Neurological Institute of New York in April 1909.

Founders

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Charles Elsberg

1909 – 1937

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Byron Stookey

1937 – 1939

axion neurosurgery history

J. Lawrence Pool

1949 – 1972

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Lester A. Mount

1972 – 1973

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Edward B. Schelesinger

1973 – 1981

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Bennett M. Stein

1981 – 1993, 1994 – 1996

—— 1920 ——

Students Arrive

In 1920, a building on 149 East 67th Street in New York City was immediately leased and eventually purchased; it was six floors high and had 57 patient beds. Four weeks later, the first operation at the new Institute was performed by Elsberg. The operation was the removal of a spinal cord tumor with subsequent cure. It took several years for the Institute to acquire radiology and pathology facilities, but the number of admissions and operations grew steadily.

The first medical students came from Cornell University, soon followed by students from Columbia University in 1921. In 1925, the Neurological Institute and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center decided to join forces. The site of the new Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, with the associated Neurological Institute, was between Broadway and Riverside Drive, from 165th to 168th Street, the location of a former ballpark for the New York Yankees.

—— 1909 ——

Alumni

There are more graduates of Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in neurosurgical residencies throughout the country than from any other medical school. More than 140 neurosurgeons have completed their residency training at the Neurological Institute and have gone on to become leaders in American neurosurgery.

The distinguished alumni have been active in academia and private practices. Many have become department chairmen and presidents of various national neurosurgical societies. The Neurological Institute of New York looks back on a proud and distinguished tradition and forward to a bright future.

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neurosurgeons have completed residency training at the Neurological Institute.

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have gone on to become well-respected and established department chairmen.

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have become presidents of various national neurosurgical societies.

Past and Current Directors

Pediatric Neurology

Bernard Sachs
1923-1933

Louis Casamajor
1933-1951

Sidney Carter
1952-1984

Darryl DeVivo
1984-Present

Neurology

Joseph Collins
1909-1919

Frederick Tilney
1920-1935

Walter W. Palmer
1935-1939

Tracy J. Putnam
1939-1946

Edwin Zabriskie
1946-1948

H. Houston Merritt
1948-1967

C. Milton Shy
1967-1967

Richard L Masland
1967-1973

Lewis P. Rowland
1967-1973

Timothy A. Pedley
1998-Present

Neuropathology

Abner Wolf
1930-1967

David Cowen
1967-1976

Philip E. Duffy
1976-1985

Richard Defendini (Acting)
1985-1987

James E. Goldman (Acting)
1987-1988

James M. Powers
1988-1992

James E. Goldman
1992-Present

Neuroradiology

Cornelius Dyke
1940-1943

Ernest Wood
1943-1952

Juan Taveras
1952-1964

Ernest Wood
1964-1975

Sadek Hilal
1975-1995

Robert DeLaPaz
1995-Present

Neurological Surgery

Charles Elsberg
1909-1937

Byron Stookey
1937-1939

Tracy J. Putnam
1939-1947

John E. Scarff (Acting)
1947-1949

J. Lawrence Pool
1949-1972

Lester A. Mount (Acting)
1972-1973

Edward B. Schlesinger
1973-1981

Bennett M. Stein
1981-1993
& 1994-1996

Donald O. Quest (Acting)
1993-1994
& 1996-1997

Robert A. Solomon
1997-Present

—— 2016 ——

Current Department

As a department in one of the nation’s top hospitals, and part of the 100-year-old Neurological Institute of New York, we offer unparalleled expertise in a broad range of neurological conditions, access to cutting-edge research and a patient-centered treatment philosophy. Our mission is to provide patients with outstanding care by the best neurosurgeons in the country and achieve excellent outcomes.

More than just your surgeons. Your biggest advocates.

MEET THE DOCTORS