Fund Purpose: To support clinical outcomes research for lumbar interbody fusion and cervical fusion using registry data.
Charles L. Branch Sr., MD, FAANS(L), was born in 1926, in Bells, Tenn. and later moved with his family to Jackson, Tenn. His father, E.H. Branch, was a railroad depot agent. His mother, Grace Mae Colvett Branch, was a school teacher and homemaker. Following high school, Charles honorably served his country in the United States Army during World War II. After the war, he attended Lipscomb College in Nashville, known today as Lipscomb University, and graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1949 and Vanderbilt University Medical School in 1953.
Charles began his neurosurgical residency at the University of Chicago and completed his training in 1959 at McGill's Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) under the service of Drs. Wilder Penfield and Ted Rasmussen, two of North America's most preeminent neurosurgeons. He remained in Montreal on the faculty of the MNI until 1968 when he and his family relocated to San Antonio.
Dr. Branch received a MSC in neurophysiology from McGill University and was a clinical professor at McGill University Medical School, the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center at San Antonio and a distinguished guest lecturer at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Branch, a long-time member of the Texas Medical Association, engaged in the active practice of neurosurgery in San Antonio for nearly 30 years. After a brief period at the Nix Hospital, he practiced primarily at St. Luke's Baptist Hospital and SW Texas Methodist Hospital, where he was instrumental in the development of the neuroscience unit.
He published over 20 articles on a host of neurological and neurosurgical topics and helped develop techniques in spine fusion surgery that led to innovations now used around the world. He further distinguished himself as a member of the Society of University Neurosurgeons, an early member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the Harvey Cushing Society, now known as the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).
In 2004, he was recognized by the AANS with the Humanitarian Award for his medical mission work in Nigeria, Haiti and Guyana. He and his wife, Sylvia, established the only emergency medical facility in a densely populated, impoverished region in southeast Nigeria. In 2006, the Southern Neurosurgical Society awarded him the Distinguished Practitioner in Neurosurgery Award and in 2010 the UT Dallas Brain Health Center honored him by creating the Charles L. Branch Award to recognize the nation's leading neuroscientists.
For over 30 years, Dr. Branch served as vice chair, trustee and life trustee of the board of Oklahoma Christian University (OC). He and Sylvia sponsored hundreds of scholarships for emerging student leaders at OC. Dr. Branch was an active member of the MacArthur Park Church of Christ, where he served as a Sunday school teacher, deacon, medical missionary and as an elder for over 43 years. He was also a long time member of the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Texas Farm Bureau, was the founding partner of Branch Ranch holdings in Guadalupe County, where he developed and preserved over 1,700 acres with native grasses and wetlands, and managed extensive Black Angus and Brangus cattle operations.
Dr. Branch is survived by his wife of over sixty years, Sylvia Boswell Branch, five children, eighteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
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