A Regional Leader with a National Reputation
Led by Charles L. Branch Jr., MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, and Allison Brashear, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s neurosciences program is a leading clinical and research center in the Southeast, providing care for patients in western North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia and beyond.
“Patients who come here interface not only with excellent clinicians, but also with people who are leaders in their field,” said Brashear. “We’re cultivating physicians who are able to advance our specialty well into the future.”
A history of pioneers “What we’ve done over the years is create collaborative teams that deliver the highest level of patient care,” said Branch. “Using this strategy, we developed a lot of the early stereotactic radiosurgery work, created an early Gamma Knife® practice that is now one of the busiest in the nation and built strong teams for the treatment of epilepsy, movement disorders, stroke and many other conditions.”
In its history as a regional and national leader in neurosciences, Wake Forest Baptist has been at the forefront of a number of clinical and research breakthroughs:
- Wake Forest Baptist was one of the pivotal institutions in determining that the use of surgery in people who had a narrowing of the carotid artery but no history of stroke would prevent future strokes.
- In the mid- and late-1990s, the Medical Center’s clinicians were one of the pioneering teams in the development of minimally invasive spine surgery.
- For more than a decade, Wake Forest Baptist has housed one of the busiest Gamma Knife programs in the country, having treated over 3,000 patients. This year, the Medical Center was named the world’s first Leksell Center of Radiosurgery.
- Today, Wake Forest Baptist’s research in the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) to strengthen outcomes for patients with a range of disorders, basic science research in the targeted treatment of brain cancer, as well as a number of other ongoing research initiatives, are setting the stage for the next generation of breakthroughs in the neurosciences.
Findings from research conducted at Wake Forest Baptist are used as models for success regionally, nationally and internationally. The leading-edge research of Cheryl D. Bushnell, MD, associate professor of neurology and section head of Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, on adherence in stroke patients is reshaping the way clinicians address post-acute care for stroke.
The investigations of Ihtsham ul Haq, MD, assistant professor of neurology, into the use of DBS in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder are providing the basis for more effective ways to utilize that therapy. For more than two decades, Branch and his neurosurgical colleagues have helped pave the way for the widespread use of minimally invasive surgeries to treat spinal conditions.