Edward H. Oldfield, MD, FACS
2016, San Diego, CA
Edward Hudson Oldfield was born in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. After completing three years of undergraduate education at the University of Kentucky as a Physics major he entered medical school in 1969. After graduating from medical school he completed a basic surgical residency at Vanderbilt University 1973-75 and then spent a year as a visiting registrar in neurology and neurosurgery at The National Hospital for Nervous Disease, Queen Square, London, England, before beginning neurosurgical residency at Vanderbilt University, which he finished in 1980. After a year in private neurosurgical practice in Lexington, KY he joined the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a Senior Staff Fellow in neurosurgery and completed a 2-year intramural NIH fellowship in cellular immunology of tumors. In 1984 he became Chief of the Clinical Neurosurgery Section, Surgical Neurology Branch, NINDS and from 1986 until 2007 was the Chief of the Surgical Neurology Branch. At the NIH he lead successful laboratory and clinical research efforts in the areas of brain and pituitary tumors, syringomyelia, von Hippel-Lindau disease, spinal arteriovenous malformations, pathophysiology and therapy of cerebral vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage, and development of new drug delivery approaches for the central nervous system.
He joined the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia in 2007 where he led a multidisciplinary effort in the treatment of pituitary tumors and contributed to the research program in the Department of Neurosurgery. He held the Crutchfield Chair in Neurosurgery, and was a Professor of Neurosurgery and Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia.
His contributions to academic and organized neurosurgery include membership on the Editorial Board of Neurosurgery 1992-94, the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neurosurgery 1994-2002, serving as Co-Chairman 2001-2002. In 2005-2006 he was Vice President of the Society of Neurological Surgeons and was President of the Society of Neurological Surgeons 2008-2009. He received the Public Health Superior Service Award “For outstanding management of the Surgical Neurology Branch, training of academic neurosurgeons, and for advances in understanding the biology of brain tumors” in 1991. He was the recipient of the Grass Medal for Meritorious Research in Neurological Science in 1995 from the Society of Neurological Surgeons, the Farber Award of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons “for leadership, vision, and dedication, and for scholarly contributions to the field of Brain Tumor Research” in 1999, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Kentucky Medical Alumni Association “In recognition for serving as a role of the quintessential clinician-scientist and remarkable contributions to the understanding of the nervous system and the practice of neurosurgery” in 2006. In 2009 he was awarded the Harvey Cushing Medal, “the highest honor bestowed on a member by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) for his many years of outstanding leadership, dedication and contributions to the field of neurosurgery.” In 2013 he was the recipient of the first annual (2013) AANS Cushing Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery “for technical prowess and skill and/or innovation in the development of new procedures which have become part of the arsenal a neurosurgeon uses to treat disease.” In 2015 He received the Charles B. Wilson Award of the Joint Tumor Section for “for career achievement and substantial contributions to understanding and treatment of brain tumors". He authored over 500 original scientific and clinical contributions to the medical literature and the co-inventor of patents on convection-enhanced drug delivery and genetic therapy. He served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery.
In addition to his clinical interests, he sought to use new information and techniques of basic science to develop new treatment approaches for disorders of the brain and spinal cord. Many of his former fellows hold tenured positions in academic medicine.
He married Susan Wachs of Lexington, Kentucky in 1974. They are the proud parents of Caroline (1989).
The neurosurgical community was profoundly saddened by the passing of Dr. Oldfield on September 1, 2017. A tribute to his many contributions in the field of Neurosurgery was published in Neurosurgery®, Volume 81, Issue 6, December 2017, Pages 886–892.