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Honor Your Neurosurgical Mentor

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Robert F. Heary, MD, FAANS, was born in New York, New York and he has lived in New Jersey the great majority of his life. Dr. Heary graduated high school in 1977, but did not go to college. He went to work to earn money to attend a private college for pre-medical studies. He graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA with a B.S. degree and he then attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and graduated in 1986.

Dr. Heary was an intern and resident in general surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) - New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) in Newark, NJ. After three years of general surgery, he switched to the Neurosurgical training program at UMDNJ-NJMS, which he completed in 1994. He then became the Rothman Spine Fellow at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. This fellowship was a complex, reconstructive spine surgery program in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Dr. Heary joined UMDNJ-NJMS in Newark, NJ as an Assistant Professor in 1995 and he was promoted to the Associate Professor level in 2001 and to Professor in 2005. In addition, he was named Program Director of the residency training program in 2004.

Dr. Heary has specialized in complex and reconstructive spinal surgery since the beginning of his career. His interests include deformity surgery, spine and spinal cord injury, spine biomechanics, and revision spinal surgery. Dr. Heary directs two active basic science laboratories in spinal cord injury research and spine biomechanics research.

He is currently on the editorial boards of the, Neurosurgery, World Neurosurgery, Spinal Deformity, the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics, Neural Regeneration Research, Surgical Neurology International, and the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. He has previously served on the Journal of Neurosurgery:Spine editorial board for seven years and he has been the topic editor on five different editions of Neurosurgical Focus. He has edited two major textbooks on spinal deformity, and has another textbook on Cervical Spine Trauma that is in publication at this time. Dr. Heary has been on the “Best Doctors in America” listing for over 20 consecutive years. He has authored 140 peer-reviewed journal articles and 60 book chapters and given over 300 national and international presentations on topics predominantly related to spinal surgery.

Dr. Heary is an active member of the following organizations: AANS, CNS, AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine & Peripheral Nerves, the Cervical Spine Research Society (CSRS), the Society for Neuroscience, the Scoliosis Research Society, the Lumbar Spine Research Society (LSRS), the Neurosurgical Society of America, the Society of Neurological Surgeons, and the New Jersey State Neurosurgical Society. He has been a delegate on the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies for the past 12 years.

Among numerous positions he has held in these organizations, Dr. Heary is the former Chairman of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine & Peripheral Nerves and a Past-President of the CSRS, the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society, and the New Jersey Spine Society. He currently serves as the President of the LSRS, he is the Chair of the AANS/CNS Washington Committee Drugs & Devices Committee, and he is a Director-at-Large on the AANS Board of Directors. He is the Vice-Chair of the NeurosurgeryPAC and he has a long history of charitable support for various neurosurgical and spine societies.

He and his wife, Cara Talty, were married in 2004 and have two sons, Declan and Conor, and a daughter, Maren. He has many hobbies including an avid interest in golf, weight training, and bicycling. His newest hobby is helping Cara raise their children which is a never-ending source of joy for him.

Purpose: To support mentorship of medical students and residents as well as facilitate involvement in organized neurosurgery.

To view a list of all donors to this fund, click here.

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