Department of Surgery Welcomes R. John Hurlbert, MD, PhD

Dr. John Hurlbert will join the University of Arizona Division of Neurosurgery on August 15, 2016, in the role of Co-Director of the UA Spine Program. His focus will be program-building, residency and spine fellowship training, and clinical and translational research. His clinical interests are intramedullary spinal disorders, spinal cord injury, congenital (adult and pediatric) spine disorders, complex cranio-cervical spinal disease, trauma and degenerative spine disease, and cervical disc arthroplasty.

Dr. Hurlbert received his Neurosurgery training at the University of Toronto where he also attained a PhD through the Institute of Medical Science in electrophysiology and spinal cord injury. After residency he completed a fellowship in complex spine surgery in Toronto and another at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix before taking his first (and only) posting at the University of Calgary.

Over the past 20 years John has worked with his Orthopedic Surgery counterparts co-founding the University of Calgary Spine Program and serving as its inaugural Chair from 1996-2001. This Spine Program is currently the largest spine surgery fellowship program in Canada with 11 faculty training 4-5 fellows per year. The program has trained over 60 fellows from different countries including Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Ireland, the United States, and Canada.

In 1999 Dr. Hurlbert co-founded the Canadian Spine Society also serving as it’s inaugural President from 2000-2002. The society has 150 surgeon members representing Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Spine Surgery across Canada. He was a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Neurosurgery examination committee for 10 years, 5 of them in the capacity of Chief Examiner. Dr. Hurlbert also spent two 5-year terms as Neurosurgical Residency Program Director at the University of Calgary. He has been a member of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves since starting practice and has served on the executive committee for 16 years. He was Chair of the Spine Section in 2014. Currently Dr. Hurlbert reviews for the journal Neurosurgery and is a Section Editor for World Neurosurgery. He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts of his own.

Dr. Hurlbert is excited about his new position with the Department of Surgery and is very much looking forward to working with students, faculty, colleagues, and peers to help promote and sustain excellence in patient care in Arizona.

Leigh Neumayer, MD, Chair of the Department of Surgery, said, “We are delighted to have Dr. Hurlbert join the Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery. His outstanding skill sets in the operating room, clinic and lecture hall will add to those of the excellent group of neurosurgeons already in the department."

G. Michael Lemole MD, Professor and Division Chief of Neurosurgery Division, added, “Dr. Hurlbert’s career represents the perfect synthesis of clinical surgical spine care, educational excellence, and incisive research. He is an undisputable leader in the field. We have great hopes for his expansion of the spinal surgery service line. Banner University Medical Center and our patients in Tucson are fortunate indeed!”

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