URMC Neurology Chair Returns to Research Lab; Acting Chair Appointed

July 19, 2012

After four years as chair of the Department of Neurology, Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., is stepping down to resume research duties full time as Co-Director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine.

Dr. Goldman will remain an active member of the Neurology faculty, increasing his research focus and commitment, while Robert G. Holloway Jr., M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Neurology, will serve as Acting Chair of the Department as a national search for permanent leadership is launched. 

During Dr. Goldman’s tenure, the department has expanded both the reach and scope of its clinical services, with faculty now providing services at Highland Hospital and Rochester General Hospital. Together with the department of Neurosurgery, Neurology has transfer agreements with 18 regional hospitals for stroke care. At the same time, the department’s clinical programs in neuro-oncology, multiple sclerosis and myelin disease, and pediatric neurology were all expanded significantly. As a result, the reputation of the department has grown substantially. For two consecutive years, URMC’s Neurology/Neurosurgery adult programs have ranked among the Top 50 in US News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in America issue; pediatric neurology/neurosurgery programs have captured top scores for three years in a row. 

Under Dr. Goldman’s leadership, Rochester expanded and further developed its residency program in neurology, which has become one of the most sought after in the nation, as its neurology education programs now serve as a model for medical schools nationwide.

“Thanks in part to Dr. Goldman’s leadership, the University of Rochester Medical Center is a welcome partner for other area health systems whose patients have benefited from the outstanding care our neurologists and neurosurgeons provide,” said Dean Mark Taubman, M.D. “Steve has also been instrumental in building a world-class neuro-oncology program, bolstered by a strong research program investigating the origins of brain tumors. Today, Rochester is much better prepared to treat these very ill patients than ever before.”

Dr. Goldman will focus on further expanding research at the Center for Translational Medicine, which continues to flourish since its founding in 2008, with new research funding exceeding $5 million per year. Along with Co-Director Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., Dr. Goldman heads one of the most robust research enterprises at the Medical Center, with a team of more than 60 people looking at new ways to treat neurological diseases that include multiple sclerosis, the childhood leukodystrophies, brain tumors, stroke, and neurodegenerative conditions like Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Dr. Goldman has attracted funding from more than two dozen organizations – public funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private foundations and industry – in his quest to translate basic research findings in the laboratory to the clinic, to make a difference in patients’ lives.

“My goal in accepting the department chairmanship was to make the department one of the nation’s best in translating basic research to the clinic, and we are now in a better position to do that than ever. Our research programs have accelerated so rapidly, and with such clinical promise, that I’d like to be able to take full advantage of the opportunities we now have in the lab - for the larger good of both the department and the institution,” Dr. Goldman said.  “So several weeks ago, I asked Brad Berk and Mark Taubman to help me create a transition, whereby I could maintain my clinical and academic associations with the department as needed, but would be otherwise free to devote my time to building the center.”

Dr. Holloway begins work as acting chair after serving as vice chair of the department for the past six years. He has been with the department for 22 years, first as resident, then chief resident and research fellow before joining the faculty. Dr. Holloway, who also serves as chief of Highland Hospital’s Department of Neurology and as a faculty member in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, has been recognized several times as an outstanding teacher and mentor by students and his colleagues at the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

At Strong Memorial Hospital, Dr. Holloway is part of the core team that provides care to many of the region’s stroke patients; nationally, he helps lead a work group on the quality of stroke care for the American Medical Association. More broadly, Dr. Holloway is assistant quality officer of Strong Memorial Hospital, creating ways to improve the quality and safety of medical care. He is also part of the University’s Palliative Care Team, helping extremely ill patients and families weigh the choices involved in their care.

Dr. Holloway specializes at analyzing the outcomes and cost-effectiveness of treatments for a variety of conditions, including stroke, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. He has extensive experience in experimental therapeutics of neurological disease, training other researchers how to do such studies, and looking at the factors that influence patients as they decide whether to take part in studies. He is currently a director of the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a national resource for such training.

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