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Congressional Docs Urge Americans to Take Action and Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

By Congress, COVID-19, Guest Post, HealthNo Comments

Last year, the entire world was forced to face the COVID-19 pandemic head on. And now, we — the American people — have the opportunity to achieve peace of mind and live life as free as before by choosing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Concerned for the health and safety of our nation, I recently joined some of my fellow colleagues in Congress — each of us are also health care professionals — in a public service announcement encouraging Americans to get vaccinated. Very soon we will have more COVID-19 vaccines than we have people willing to take it. In fact, almost half of adults in my home state of Kansas are uncertain about getting vaccinated. Read More

Diversity in Neurosurgery: Forcing Change Leads to Greater Success

By Career, Guest Post, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

Should we take a stand to increase diversity? Yes! As neurosurgeons, we should talk about diversity in neurosurgery. If we don’t urge, even force change, it will not happen, or it will happen unbearably slowly. One hundred years into the history of neurosurgery, only 5% of all board-certified neurosurgeons are women. African-Americans are also underrepresented. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) calculates that African-Americans represent 4% of all active neurosurgeons in the U.S. Read More

The Use of Social Media in Addressing Gender Disparities in Neurosurgery

By Career, Guest Post, Healthcare Social Media, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

The importance of social media in neurosurgery, and medicine in general, has increased significantly over the past several years. As searched on PubMed, academic publications that include the search terms “social media neurosurgery” have increased over the last 10 years. Through various social media platforms, neurosurgeons can participate in educational endeavors, share scientific findings, build their brand and collaborate with others in the field despite geographical distance. The interactions that social media offers also provide an opportunity to network — to find mentors, role models and even friends outside one’s local academic and geographic environment. Read More

Women in Neurosurgery — A Legacy of Achievement and Breaking Barriers

By Career, Guest Post, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

The past century has demonstrated tremendous progress in all disciplines of medicine. Parallel to this progress, and often a direct contributor to breakthroughs and achievements, has been the increasing role women have played in the profession. Neurosurgery is no exception. Although their ranks are small, especially compared to other specialties, the women of neurosurgery have played an outsized role in its rise as a specialty in the last hundred years. Read More

Progress Incremental: Understanding Sexual Harassment in Neurosurgery

By Career, Guest Post, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

Under the table, his hand landed uncomfortably high on my thigh. Our conversation had drifted from our mutual interests in molecular biology research of brain tumors to books and music. Until that moment, I had felt really positive about our connection. It was 1984, and my infatuation with neurosurgery had led me to try and break into an overwhelming male subspecialty. I knew it would take something special to convince a program to make the leap and accept a woman. Throughout the lavish dinner event for the visiting resident applicants, I had foolishly thought, perhaps this was such an opportunity. When the hand landed, the conversation abruptly changed, and the senior faculty leaned very close and, with an unmistakable leer, said, “I would really love to help you become the first woman in our residency program. Shall we make those plans later tonight?” Read More

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Deborah L. Benzil, MD, FAANS, FACS

Medicolegal Issues in Neurosurgery

By CSNS Spotlight, Guest Post, Medical LiabilityNo Comments

Virtually all neurosurgeons will have to deal with a medicolegal issue by the end of their career. Neurosurgeons have the highest annualized rate of lawsuits at >19%. Perhaps shockingly, even by age 45, approximately 88% of surgeons in high-risk subspecialties will have been involved in a lawsuit. This number elevates to >99% by age 65. The concern about professional liability lawsuits is, without a doubt, the highest profile medicolegal issue for neurosurgeons — even though many more issues other than litigation affect our daily medical practices. Medicolegal and socioeconomic topics such as neurosurgical workforce, contracting and employment, and payor/insurance issues such as coverage policies, reimbursement and prior authorization regularly impact each neurosurgeon’s practice in multiple ways — even if it is not immediately apparent. Read More

WINS: Celebrating Women in Neurosurgery

By Career, Guest Post, Women in NeurosurgeryNo Comments

Gender diversity is not just good for women; it’s good for anyone who wants results.”

Melinda A. Gates

Modern neurosurgery recently crossed the century threshold as a medical discipline. The profession has a rich history, and women have played critical roles throughout the development of the specialty. The role of women in neurosurgery began with Louise Eisenhardt, MD, who was at the side of Harvey Cushing, MD, through much of his career. Ruth K. Jakoby, MD became the first woman diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery in 1961. Later, Frances K. Conley, MD, achieved several ‘firsts’ as a woman in academic neurosurgery, culminating in a promotion to a full professorship at Stanford University in 1986. Read More

Physicians Suffer From Moral injury, Not Burnout

By Burnout, Guest Post, HealthNo Comments

Burnout has come to be defined as a workplace syndrome from chronic exposure to job-related stress. It is the constellation of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment. More than half of physicians report at least one of these symptoms. The consequences of burnout are not just detrimental to physicians themselves, but also the people around them. Loss in productivity, high-risk behavior, disregard for safety procedures, more referrals, additional diagnostic tests and poor care are among the manifestations of physician burnout. Additionally, substance abuse, family breakups, poor health, depression and even suicide may also be extreme consequences of burnout. Burnout does not have to manifest by these catastrophic events; it can show up in small ways. Some of the subtler indicators of burnout include anger, aggression, nastiness, snide comments and disrespect for other physicians and health care professionals. Read More