Warm-hearted farewell to Dr. Nitish Agarwal
(Sept 27, 2022) A warm-hearted farewell to Dr. Nitish Agarwal, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery Fellow, as he heads home to India! It was a pleasure to have you here with us: thank you and best wishes for a very bright future from your Halifax Neurosurgery family.
Creating a Positive Learning Environment for Physicians of Tomorrow
(July 2022) Dr. Gwynedd Pickett received a perfect score of 5/5 for her teaching from Dalhousie’s Undergraduate Medical Education office in Halifax and Dalhousie Medicine in Saint John for the 2021/22 academic year, placing her in the top 10% of Skilled Clinician 2 tutors!
Dr. Pickett was also named a Culture Change Champion as part of the 2021 Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) Culture Changers Campaign. Dr. Pickett was recognized for making a meaningful difference in the life of a medical student.
Neurosurgery Residents’ Research recognized internationally with Prestigious Awards (August 2022)
Dr. Mark MacLean (PGY5) and Dr. Jae Han (PGY5) both had their research recognized internationally and received awards after rigorous competitions for abstracts submitted to the upcoming Congress of Neurological Surgeons’ annual conference being held in San Francisco, California, in October.
Dr. MacLean was awarded the Natus Resident / Fellow Award for Neurocritical Care for his abstract “NMDA-Receptor Antagonism for the Prevention of Neurological Dysfunction in Traumatic Brain Injury: Results of a Randomized Pre-Clinical Trial”.
Dr. Han was awarded the AANS/CNS Section on Tumors National Brain Tumor Society Award for his abstract, “A Small RNA Signature from Extracellular Vesicles in Patient Plasma Correlates with Recurrence or Progression of High-Grade Gliomas”.
Nelofar Kureshi, Research Associate, Neurotrauma/Simulation/Neurosurgery Spine, and IPhD student at Dalhousie University, has received three grant awards to support her research project “Geopatial and Machine Learning Methods for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Prevention and Outcome Prediction”. This research brings together expertise from neurotrauma, computer science, epidemiology and biostatistics. Within this big data project, Nelofar is exploring novel methods of geovisualization, spatiotemporal analysis, and prediction modeling by linking clinical and administrative data sources. The project is currently funded by Mitacs Accelerate ($90,000 over a 3-year term), Department of Surgery ($11,726 over a one-year term), and the Nova Scotia Health Research Fund ($42,744.80, over a two-year term). Nelofar is supervised by Dr. David Clarke.
Another Halifax Neurosurgery 1st in Canada enhancing patient care!
Brainlab Elements digital planning and navigation software has been recently adopted by Halifax Neurosurgery. This software enhances how neurosurgeons plan complex neurosurgical procedures through integration of patient imaging stored in one location. “This new digital planning software has streamlined surgical planning tasks through improved automation, reducing surgery preparation time from hours to minutes”, says Dr. Lutz Weise, Director of Neurosurgery’s Neuromodulation Program.
“Today, we celebrate a first in neurosurgery in our province and in our country. This is just one of the many medical firsts for our province, which includes the first robotic spinal surgery in Canada earlier this month”, says Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness.
Congratulations to Dr. Weise and our Neuromodulation team.
View full article here (Aug 18, 2022).
"First in Canada" spinal robotic surgery performed by Halifax Neurosurgery!
Congratulations to Dr. Sean Christie and team who recently completed the "first in Canada" spinal robotic surgery using the Medtronic Mazor! Dr. Christie said “The surgical team was very excited in the days leading up to the operation and were satisfied with how it went. The procedure would still have been possible without the robotic arm, but it allows surgery to be faster and more precise. It can also mean less pain for patients, less impact on healthy tissues and a quicker recovery time”.
Special thanks to the QEII Foundation and donors for their generous funding!
View full article here (Aug 3, 2022).
Cape Breton Neurologist thanks Halifax Neurosurgery as he Semi-Retires
Congratulations to Dr. Mandat Maharaj who semi-retired from Cape Breton Regional Hospital in July after 27 years of advocating for neurological care in his community. "I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Maharaj for more than 25 years,” says Dr. Clarke. “Dr. Maharaj has great pride in the people of Cape Breton and in the Neurological service he established there.”
In reflecting on his pending retirement, Dr. Maharaj recognized the support he has received from Neurosurgery: “The support in triaging patients to the department of Neurosurgery at Nova Scotia Health located in Halifax has been outstanding, especially the support from the Division Head of Neurosurgery, Dr. David Clarke.”
Best wishes, Dr. Maharaj!
View full article here (July 22, 2022).
Dr. Mark MacLean’s research published in The Lancet Oncology
Dr. Mark MacLean’s manuscript “Systemic considerations for the surgical treatment of spinal metastatic disease: a scoping literature review” was recently published in The Lancet Oncology. Congratulations, Dr. MacLean! He and other main authors were interviewed by AO Foundation International and AO Spine. View article and press release here.
Thank you, Dr. Andrew Parrent
It was a full-circle moment hosting former Dalhousie Neurosurgery Resident, Dr. Andrew Parrent (circa 1984) in Halifax as Visiting Professor on June 15, 2022! Dr. Parrent retires this year from London Health Sciences Centre and Dalhousie Neurosurgery was his last stop. The title of his talk at Clinical Neuroscience Rounds was “Reflections on a Career in Functional, Epilepsy and Pain Neurosurgery”. We thank Dr. Parrent for spending invaluable time with us, and for sharing his insights and experience with faculty, residents and fellows from the Divisions of Neurosurgery and Neurology.
Best wishes, Andy, for a long, happy and healthy retirement as you transition from clinical practice!
Congratulations to Dr. Nitish Agarwal!
Dr. Nitish Agarwal, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery Fellow, was awarded “Best Oral Presentation (Trainee)” for his research “Awake Versus Asleep Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease: Comparison of Normalized Target Accuracy and Clinical Outcomes” at the Canadian Neuromodulation Society meeting held in St. Johns, NL on June 9-11, 2022.
Anas Tahir Graduation
A warm congratulations to Anas Tahir, Neurosurgery’s Biomedical Engineering Technologist. Anas graduated with his Master of Applied Science in Biomedical Engineering at Dalhousie University’s Spring 2022 Convocation Ceremony on June 1! Well done, Anas!
Congratulations, Dr. Jae Han!
Dr. Jae Han was recently awarded a Faculty of Medicine research scholarship - the Ross Stewart Smith Memorial Fellowship. He also received funding from the Cancer Research Training Program of the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, with funds provided by the Terry Fox Research Institute’s Marathon of Hope Atlantic Cancer Consortium. Dr. Han is a member the Dalhousie Clinical Investigator Program (CIP) program, completing his Master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. Adrienne Weeks (Neurosurgery, Halifax) and Dr. Jeremy Roy (Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, Moncton). The title of his research is "Modelling extracellular vesicles in patient plasma and organotypic-derived cultures for predicting recurrence or progression of astrocytomas”. Congratulations, Dr. Han!
Highlighting Dr. Erika Leck for her Achievements
Dr. Erika Leck, PGY5, was awarded "Best Resident Presentation" at Department of Surgery Research Day on April 20 for her research “An exploration of the evolving perception of quality of life from the perspective of individuals living with a cervical spinal cord injury in Nova Scotia”. Dr. Leck also received the Harold and Ruth Babcock Stipend for surgical residents from the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF). This award follows her successful acceptance into the Clinical Investigator Program (CIP) in July 2020. During her CIP research endeavours, Dr. Leck was awarded the Killam Scholarship, the Ross Stewart Smith Scholarship and the Samuel R. McLaughlin Scholarship. Congratulations, Dr. Leck!
Congratulations to the award winners of Clinical Neuroscience Resident Research Day, held virtually on March 23, 2022!
The winners for this year’s event are:
Top Neurosurgery Resident Presentation: Dr. Mark MacLean for “Work-up and Management of Asymptomatic Extracranial Traumatic Vertebral Artery Injury”
Top Non-Resident Presentation: Ryan Greene for “The Effect of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Protocols for Elective Cervical and Lumbar Spine Procedures on Hospital Length of Stay: A Systematic Review"
Dr. William D. Stevenson Research Award: Dr. Mark MacLean for “Work-up and Management of Asymptomatic Extracranial Traumatic Vertebral Artery Injury”
Dr. W.J. Howes Neurosurgery Teaching Award: Dr. Daniel McNeely
Top Overall Presentation: Selena Maxwell for “Neuropathology and the Cholinergic System in Octogenarians and Older”
Top Neurology Resident Presentation: Dr. Kelly Aminian for “Development of a Psychometric Tool for the Assessment of Multimodal Imagery Vividness in Aphantasia”
A special thank you to our Guest Keynote Speaker and Judge, Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba; and Judge, Dr. Alison Wallace, Assistant Professor, Departments of Surgery and Pathology, Dalhousie University.
We are pleased to report local success in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Fall 2021 (2021-09-15) grant competition, for “Microvascular Pathology as a Therapeutic Target for Epilepsy”. This research award is $840,150 over five years. Congratulations to the Principal Investigator, Alon Friedman; and Co-Investigators, Steven Beyea, Chris Bowen, David B. Clarke, Lyna Kamintsky, Nelofar Kureshi, Mark MacLean, Matthias Schmidt, David Volders and Ben Whatley.
Dalhousie Neurosurgery chosen site for Fatigue Risk Management Pilot Project
The Division of Neurosurgery was awarded a $20k grant from the Fatigue Risk Management Task Force of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to implement a Fatigue Risk Management pilot program within our Neurosurgery Residency Program. Congratulations to Dr. Gwynedd Pickett, Program Director, and Neurosurgery Resident Team for their successful grant application to the Postgraduate Education office. Thanks also to Laura Croft, Health Services Manager, Unit 7.3 Neurosurgery, and Dr. Carolyn Thomson, Assistant Dean, Resident Affairs, Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine, and team for their support of this application.
Sport Concussion Awareness Event / Nova Scotia Concussion Awareness Day 2021
Dr. Mark MacLean, PGY4, participated in a live panel event hosted by the Province of Nova Scotia, Brain Injury Nova Scotia, and Sport Nova Scotia. The topic was concussion awareness. The event was carried out with Bruce Rainnie (CBC host), Dr. Tina Atkinson (sports medicine physician and team coach for Canada Women’s Hockey), and Natalie Thornley (Occupational Therapist with Nova Scotia Rehab Brain Injury Services). View the video here.
Dalhousie press release features groundbreaking environmental work including Dr. Sean Christie
Media release: National project involving Dalhousie University’s Healthy Populations Institute aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to health care, create low-carbon ‘green’ health system
Tuesday, June 8, 2021 (Halifax, NS) Researchers at Dalhousie University are collaborating with colleagues across the country to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation linked to the health-care system while raising awareness about sustainability through a nationally co-ordinated network that received $6 million in federal funding.
Neurosurgeon and professor, Dr. Sean Christie, and Gillian Ritcey of Dalhousie’s Healthy Populations Institute (HPI) are partnering with Dr. Fiona Miller of the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation in Toronto on the project, titled CASCADES (Creating a Sustainable Canadian Health System in a Climate Crisis). Colleagues at the Planetary Health Care Lab at the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care are also participating in this national approach to curb climate change.
An effective mentoring relationship in research can inspire and give confidence to the mentee, while providing the mentor with a valued colleague
Dr. Gwynedd Pickett received the inaugural Award for Excellence in Research Mentorship – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – from Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine! This is a newly established award for research mentorship. All currently-appointed faculty members within the Faculty of Medicine are eligible to be nominated by their current and/or past colleague(s) and/or trainee(s) within the Faculty of Medicine if an equity-deserving group is represented by either a mentee or the mentor. The award specifically acknowledges excellence in mentoring professional development, mentor/mentee relationships and research.
Dr. Pickett was also one of five nominated for the Program Director of the Year Award.
Congratulations, Dr. Pickett!
A Super Awesome Science Show (SASS) - With Dr. Mark MacLean
Dr. Mark MacLean, Resident (PGY3), recently joined a Curious Cast/Global News Podcast episode of the "Super Awesome Science Show" (SASS). Dr. MacLean discussed COVID-19 and the nervous system. See attached link for the full episode.
Drs. Adrienne Weeks and Sean Barry
A First in Nova Scotia
Drs. Adrienne Weeks and Sean Barry performed surgery to remove a malignant brain tumour last week. They were guided by a drug called 5-ALA which produces a fluorescent light. It is the first time the drug has been used in brain surgery in Nova Scotia. See the attached CBC article for more information.
First in Canada to use new robot for brain surgery
Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Division of Neurosurgery (Department of Surgery) and Medtronic Canada ULC are delighted to announce the first- in-Canada use of Medtronic Stealth AutoGuide ™ robot technology, at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.
“The Stealth AutoGuide ™ is a major step forward for Neurosurgery,” said Dr. David Clarke, Head of the Division of Neurosurgery, Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Health Authority. “I am pleased to report that the technology was used for the first time in Canada on a patient last week. That patient has already recovered from the surgery and is moving on to receive further care closer to home.”
COVID 19 Update:
To our neurosurgical patients across Atlantic Canada, please know that we are doing our best to provide urgent care to those in need. We do hope to get back to elective clinics and ORs soon. Our administrative staff are at the ready to support you during this difficult time. Please continue to reach out with any questions regarding your care.
To our neurosurgical colleagues across Atlantic Canada, I applaud you for your efforts as we address daily challenges. Our team continues to come together and thrive in providing care on our in-patient wards and in the operating rooms, in providing leadership in crisis management and in providing ongoing education for our trainees.
While this pandemic unfolds, we hope that you are faring well while staying productive and keeping you and your families safe.All the best,
David Clarke and the Division of Neurosurgery
Sharing Good News!
The Department of Surgery edition of “The Update”, Winter 2020, highlights members of our neurosurgical team:
Dr. Gwynedd Pickett and family
Faculty Spotlight: “Wonder Woman, striking that fine balance” - Dr. Gwynedd Pickett is a meticulous and excellent cerebrovascular surgeon and Director, dedicated teacher, mother and wife, choral singer, knitter, Scout Leader… We are proud to share the attached article.
Dr. Sean Christie
Congratulations to Dr. Christie who was named the Chair of the Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Research Council for the 20-21 academic year!
Dr. Sean Christie and team received an operational grant from the Department of Surgery Research Office in the amount of $49,122 for “Neuronal Protection Following Spinal Cord Injury through Inhibition of the Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter”.
Dr. Lutz Weise
Dr. Lutz Weise and team were awarded a Seed grant in the amount of $49,539 from the Department of Surgery Research Office for “Optimizing Deep Brain Stimulation Targeting Using Motor Evoked Potentials”.
Research and Innovation
Dr. David Clarke, head of the Division of Neurosurgery at the QEII, stands in front of the StealthStation. This new technology enables neurosurgeons to carry out surgery more effectively, efficiently and in a way which is ultimately safer for the patient. (DARREN HUBLEY)
IWK Neurosurgery Kids Fund
Lemonade Stand and BBQ
On August 30, Jordan Bignell, Super Hero, set up a lemonade stand and, with the help of Jayda Slaunwhite, drew crowds of people from University Avenue to the IWK Health Centre Neurosurgery Kids Fund BBQ! Funds raised exceeded $2,250! Well done!! A warm thank you to everyone who helped out with this initiative.
Dr. Dan McNeely sutures beloved teddy bear
Carolyn Ray · CBC News · Posted: Oct 02, 2018 2:34 PM AT | Last Updated: October 2
Gaming meets medicine
Gaming meets medicine to become a Nova Scotia neurosurgeon's essential tool
Neurosurgeon, Dr. David Clarke, estimates half of all surgical training could be done in the virtual world.
Carolyn Ray · CBC News · Posted: May 01, 2018 5:00 AM AT | Last Updated: M
Congratulations to the Neurosurgery Spine Team
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!
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!