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Congratulations to the Neurosurgery Spine Team

In late November, our Spinal Cord Injury Acute Services Team - the first to be accredited in Canada - again received full national accreditation.  Highlights of the Accreditation Report include:

Clinical leadership – there is a strong interdisciplinary team with recent expansion of beds to accommodate demand;

Competency – patients and families have access to the interdisciplinary team and staff are supported through education and training for ongoing professional development;

Episode of Care – staff spoke of supportive environment and opportunities for professional development.  There is a defined pathway and criteria for admission to the unit for traumatic spinal cord injury patients.  Goals of care are established amongst staff and family;

Decision support – Patient records are complete and accessible with continuity of care.  The Unit is supported by Nurse Practitioners; and,

Impact on outcomes – there is a strong focus on quality improvement and safety.

Congratulations to all on the spine team, led by Dr. Sean Christie!




Congratulations to Susan Rahey

Congratulations to Susan Rahey, BSc, RET, RT (EMG),
Program Coordinator of the Epilepsy Program,
who has recently been selected as the winner of the 2017 Canadian League Against Epilepsy (CLAE) Clinical Practice/Advocacy Award!


Susan is being honored for excellence in clinical practice and engagement in representing and supporting patients with epilepsy at Canada Night in Washington, DC, on Sunday, December 3.

Congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Greg Jenkins


Dr. Greg Jenkins and Dr. Dan McNeely

Congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Greg Jenkins who completed his Neurosurgery Residency Program and has been successful in obtaining his Royal College Fellowship credentials (FRCSC) in neurosurgery. Dr. Jenkins has moved back to St. John’s, Newfoundland to start his neurosurgical practice at Eastern Health.

Congratulations to Dr. David Brandman


Dr. David Brandman

Congratulations to Dr. David Brandman who successfully defended his Doctoral Thesis “Rapid Calibration of Intracortical Brain Computer Interfaces in People with Paralysis” at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Dr. Leigh Hochberg, advisor).  

Dalhousie University Convocation News!  May 26, 2017

neuro_2017 05 26 DBC and Margaret

Congratulations to Dr. Po-Shan Luke!

Congratulations to Margaret Po-Shan Luke who earned her Doctor of Philosophy, Anatomy & Neurobiology (Medical Neuroscience), for her thesis “Influence of the Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule on Age-Related Changes in Vision”.  Margaret completed her research under the supervision and in the lab of Dr. David Clarke.

Congratulations to Erika Leck who, upon earning her Doctor of Medicine from Dalhousie University, also received the Dr. Clara Olding Prize for highest standing in the clinical years, the Dr. John F. Black Prize for the highest standing in surgery, and the Dr. Michael Brothers Memorial Prize in Neuroscience for aptitude in neuroscience.  Erika starts her neurosurgery training within the Division of Neurosurgery as a Post Graduate Year 1 (PGY1) Resident on July 1, 2017. 

Congratulations to Dr. Aaron Robichaud


Best Basic Scientist Presentation

Congratulations to Dr. Aaron Robichaud for winning Best Basic Scientist Presentation for his work, “Identification of Approved Drugs Altering Stress Granule Dynamics and Implications in Glioblastoma Therapy”, at Department of Surgery’s Resident Research Day on April 21, 2017!  Dr. Robichaud is working on his research under the supervision of Dr. Adrienne Weeks.

neurosurgery_Erika Leck_lg

Erica Leck

Welcome, Erika!
Neurosurgery’s new resident trainee

We are delighted to welcome Erika Leck, Neurosurgery’s new resident trainee, who joins our team in July.  Erika has a proven track record with the Division of Neurosurgery having completed clinical electives that exposed her to spine, vascular, oncology, trauma and pediatrics in the OR, ICU and clinic environments.  Erika also worked on research projects within the Division.  She completed a Bachelor of Science Honours degree, Life Sciences, from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 2013.  She will complete her Doctor of Medicine degree at Dalhousie University in May 2017.  Welcome, Erika!

Thesis of Excellence


Margaret Po-Shan Luke

Congratulations to Graduate Student, Margaret Po-Shan Luke, Department of Medical Neuroscience, on successfully defending her Thesis, “The Influence of Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule on Age-Related Changes in Vision” for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.  Her primary supervisor was Dr. David Clarke; Margaret’s work was designated a “Thesis of Excellence” by her External Examiner, Dr. Adriana Di Polo, University of Montreal.  Well done, Margaret!

Dr. Sean Christie elected to president of the Canadian Spine Society

We are proud to announce that Dr. Sean Christie was elected president of the Canadian Spine Society at their 17th Annual Scientific Conference in Montreal in February. Dr. Christie will serve in this position for the next two years. The CSS is a national organization of surgeons and spine practitioners who share a common interest in excellence in spine care, education and research to provide benefits to both patients and professionals across Canada.

2017 Clinical Neuroscience Resident Research Day


2017 Clinical Neuroscience Resident Research Day

Congratulations to Drs. Benjamin Whatley, Aaron Robichaud and Drew DeBay
on their awards at the 2017 Clinical Neuroscience Resident Research Day!

Drew DeBay, Graduate Student, Medical Neuroscience, received the award for Best Overall Presentation for “Targeting Butyrylcholinesterase for Pre-Clinical SPECT Imaging of Alzheimer’s Disease”.
Ben Whatley received Best Presentation Award in Neurology for “High frequency oscillations as a predictor of post-surgical outcome in focal epilepsy”.
Aaron Robichaud received Best Presentation Award in Neurosurgery for “A drug screen to identify approved drugs interfering with stress granules and potential applications in GBM therapy”.

Special thanks to our guest speaker, Dr. Jay Riva-Cambrin from the University of Calgary, and to our judges, Drs. Matthias Schmidt and Alex Easton.

Halifax Neurosurgery Nursing - The First 50 Years


A History of Neurosurgery Nursing in Halifax - $25.00

Contact Gail Logie at glogie1@eastlink.ca

Order your copy today!

Dr. Renn Holness, former Professor and Head, Division of Neurosurgery, Dalhousie University, is awarded the Order of Jamaica (OJ)

Dr. Renn Holness awarded the Order of Jamaica (OJ)

Dr. Renn Holness

Dr. Renn Holness was conferred with the nation’s fifth-highest honour — the Order of Jamaica (OJ) — at a ceremony held at King’s House, St Andrew, on October 17, 2016.

Professor Renn Holness was awarded this honour for outstanding work in neurosurgery. The OJ is considered the equivalent of a British knighthood, and members of the order are styled “The Honourable”. The Order of Distinction is Jamaica’s sixth-highest national honour and equivalent to the Order of the British Empire.

The national honours programme was established by an Act of Parliament in July 1969, beginning with four societies of honour — Order of the National Hero, the Order of Merit, the Order of Jamaica, and the Order of Distinction. There is also the Order of the Nation, and the Order of Excellence which was introduced in 2003. The latter is conferred upon foreign heads of state or government.  

Congratulations, Dr. Holness!

CaRMS (Canadian Resident Matching Service)

The Division of Neurosurgery is delighted to announce that we will be accepting one resident per year through CaRMS (Canadian Resident Matching Service).  This important decision supports Neurosurgery’s goal of providing neurosurgical care that meets the needs of the region and further strengthens our Atlantic Neurosurgery Training Program!

2016 Pumpkin Regatta in support of the

IWK Neurosurgery Kids Fund

Accreditation Canada Spinal Cord Injury Acute Services

Congratulations to Dr. Sean Christie and the spine team on their recent success in accreditation using the Accreditation Canada Spinal Cord Injury Acute Services standards.  This achievement, marking excellence in spinal cord injury (SCI), is recognized by the Rick Hansen Institute.

Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Scientific Meeting

Congratulations to Drs. Adrienne Weeks and Aaron Robichaud on their work “Cytoplasmic RNA Stress Granules:  A putative translational mechanism of mTOR regulation in glioblastoma” accepted for Oral E-talk presentation at the Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Scientific Meeting being held in November, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The IWK Neurosurgery Kids Fund

Drs. Simon Walling and Dan McNeely have recently established “The IWK Neurosurgery Kids Fund” to raise funds for welcome packages for neurosurgery children as they arrive at the IWK.  Items include blankets, colouring books, hats and more.  Thank you to Murray Hong who helped support this important initiative by having his head and beard shaved on his birthday by Drs. David Clarke and Simon Walling!  Most recently, a BBQ fundraiser was held in the garden at the IWK.  Funds raised to date total over $17,000,00.

Killam Scholarship

Received by Aaron Robichaud and David Brandman from The Scholarships and Awards Committee of the Faculty of Medicine for the 2016-17 academic year

W.D Stevenson Award

To honour the memory of Dr. Stevenson, this award is presented annually to a Neurosurgery Resident for outstanding contributions in basic and clinical research in Neurosurgery.

2016 Recipient was Aaron Robichaud

Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute


Aaron Robichaud


Twice each year the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute holds a funding competition as part of its Cancer Research Training Program (CRTP). The CRTP has a curriculum that provides training and funding to graduate students, medical residents, postdoctoral fellows and clinical research fellows involved in cancer research at recognized institutions in Atlantic Canada. A limited number of traineeship awards will be offered to outstanding applicants with an interest in cancer research.

September 2016 CRTP Award recipient was Aaron Robichaud