Global Brainsurgery Initiative

Bringing surgical expertise abroad is the goal of the Global Brainsurgery Initiative, an organization co-created by Walter Jean, MD, professor of neurological surgery at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences; Hasan Syed, MD, a neurosurgeon with the University of Virginia Health System; and Daniel Roque Felbaum, MD, an endovascular neurosurgeon at Georgetown University.

Walter Jean conducting surgery

In the summer of 2019, Jean and six other neurosurgeons traveled to Panama to perform complex neurosurgical procedures and to help educate physicians in the country on neurosurgical techniques. “We’ve had enthusiastic reactions to this from both patients and trainees,” Jean said. “They really value the care and training we are able to provide.”

The team performed 13 complex brain operations while in the country, and even had the opportunity to sit down with Panama’s first lady, Yazmín Colón de Cortizo, a double GW alumna who earned her master’s degree in 1984 and her bachelor’s degree in 1981. Jean said the group spoke with her about the state of health care in Panama.

The Global Brainsurgery Initiative also is starting to grow, Jean added. A previous trip to Vietnam was a success, and he is hopeful teams will be able to train and conduct operations in other countries in the future. The organization has support from the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery, as well as financial backing from virtual reality technology company Surgical Theater.

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