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History of UN

Early Beginnings

In 1946 after World War II, there was a nationwide call for the expansion of medical training facilities to accommodate the many returning physicians who desired residency instruction.

In 1949, a recommendation was made to the White House to establish medical schools. Committees were appointed by the Shreveport Medical Society for the development of a medical school to oversee progress. Dr. Heinz Faludi, one of the first neurosurgerons in the area, was appointed to the Medical School Survey Committee, as well as Chairman of the Curriculum Committee. In September of 1969, LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport became the 101st medical school in the U.S.

The Division of Surgery appointed two neurosurgeons in 1968. Dr. Faludi was Associate Professor and Dr. Frederick Boykin an Assistant Professor. They were both also made Gratis Faculty, along with Dr. Loyd C. Megison, Jr., clinical instructor of surgery. Dr. Faludi was later appointed Professor Emeritus at LSU School of Medicine.

Dr. Megison went into private practice with Dr. Boykin at Schumpert Medical Center for 11 years and continued his teaching at LSU Medical Center. Dr. Megison died in an airplane crash on August 29, 1981 in Shreveport. His friend and partner, Dr. Boykin was Shreveport's first trained neurosurgeon and he continued his medical practice until his retirement in 1990.

Developing the Team

In 1980, Dr. John Lucas joined by Dr. Edward Benzel, who served as the Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery for eight years.

Under Dr. Benzel's direction, the patient population and the neurosurgical service grew at a frenzied pace. The number of cases provided a great deal of exposure and experience to the General Surgery residents and medical students that rotated through his "Service III."

Dr. Donald Smith, a native of Louisiana, has proven to be the backbone of the neurosurgical service as he has had a constant presence since 1977. It was during this year that he established the first Neurosurgical Service at LSUHSC (then still referred to as LSU Medical Center). At that time, he moved back to Louisiana and entered into private practice in the Shreveport community while teaching.

Dr. Anil Nanda came to head the Division of Neurosurgery in 1990, after completing a residency in Pennsylvania and a fellowship with the renowned Dr. Peter Jannetta. Drs. John McDonald, Chancellor of LSUHSC-S, and Nanda agreed it was time to initiate a Neurosurgery Program which has proven to be a leading clinical strength, and a substantial revenue source.

Dr. Brian Willis joined the staff in 1992, specializing in pediatric neurosurgery, as well as stereotactic neurosurgery. Very quickly, an affiliation formed between Dr. Smith, Dr. Nanda and Dr. Willis, which proved to be successful, and brought the neurosurgical service much sought after stability. By 1995, the department had grown enough to justify it becoming a department. At the age of 37, Dr. Nanda became the youngest neurosurgery department head in the U.S.

Dr. Smith joined as a full-time faculty member in 1996 and is a retired member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves, where he held the rank of Colonel. His areas of expertise include general neurosurgery and spinal instrumentation.

A New Century of Neuroscience

In the Spring of 2000, after a six-year campaign, University Neurosurgery became the first institution in Louisiana to obtain Gamma Knife facilities. Merely a year and four months later, the 200th procedure was completed utilizing this state-of-the-art technology.

The department was awarded with its own five-year fully accredited Neurosurgery Residency Program in 2002. It was the first new residency program at LSUHSC-S in ten years. Our program has evolved with increasing the number of residents and the time they spend with us; now a seven-year program.

 In the summer of 2007, we established our Neuro-Interventional Suite. This $2 million endeavor includes a Biplane with 3D rotational angio, 3D roadmapping and CT providing high quality neuro procedures. The image quality allows for better diagnosis and the best treatment. This technology keeps us at the forefront of Neuroscience Medicine.

In 2010, Dr. Hugo Cuellar-Sanez joined us as an Assistant Professor and Interventional Neuroradiologist. He performs a wide variety of procedures through a minimally invasive method including cerebral aneurysm coiling, AVMs, intracranial stenting, as well as carotid stenting.

In the summer of 2010, Dr. Christina Notarianni joined our team as an Assistant Professor. She completed her residency with our department in 2009 and returned to us following her Pediatric Neurosurgical Fellowship at University of Tennessee in Memphis. She is the first physician to practice in Northwest Louisiana as a fellowship trained pediatric neurosurgeon since Dr. Brian Willis came to Shreveport in 1992.

Our department has five Certified Neurosciences Registered Nurses (CNRN). LSUHSC-Shreveport has the most certified unit in the area, setting a benchmark for Neuroscience Nursing in the Ark-La-Tex. The hospital also has an intensive care unit solely devoted to the care of patients suffering from neurological diseases.