5 women to know in spine surgery


Five women to know in spine surgery, including one who made history in Detroit and another who did likewise in Arkansas:

Arianne Boylan, MD. Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare. Dr. Boylan became the first female neurosurgeon to join Hartford Healthcare when she joined the system's Spine Wellness Center in Westport, Conn.

Dr. Boylan is a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Women in Neurosurgery and North American Spine Society. She performs a wide range of procedures, including complex and minimally invasive spine surgery, and treats brain tumors.

She also works as the director of neurotrauma at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Conn. 

Sonia Eden, MD. Detroit Medical Center. Dr. Eden was appointed head of adult neurosurgery at Detroit Medical Center in April. She's the first Black woman to hold the role and the second to lead a U.S. hospital neurosurgery program.

She specializes in complex spine surgery, sacroiliac joint surgery, endoscopic and minimally invasive brain surgery, and brain and spine tumor surgery. Dr. Eden's research has focused on healthcare disparities and the sacroiliac joint. She co-wrote the first book about surgical management of the sacroiliac joint. 

Along with her clinical practice, she has served on several boards: those of the YWCA of Kalamazoo, the Ascension Borgess Foundation, the Friendship Village Senior Living Board and the Kalamazoo Chapter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Joan O'Shea, MD. The Spine Institute of Southern New Jersey (Marlton). Dr. O' Shea founded The Spine Institute of Southern New Jersey, a practice with seven locations across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Before founding her practice, she worked as a neurosurgeon at the Trauma Center at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J. 

She also founded the Surgical Center of South Jersey in Mount Laurel in 2005. It's the first outpatient spine center in southern New Jersey. Along with her clinical practice, she teaches neurosurgeons and has been an invited lecturer at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons annual meetings since 1996.

Dr. O'Shea has been recognized as a Top Doc by Philadelphia and SJ magazines multiple times since 2002.

Heather Pinckard-Dover, MD. Marshall Neuroscience (Huntington, W.Va.). Dr. Dover is a neurosurgeon specializing in deep brain and spinal cord stimulation. 

She earned her medical degree and completed her residency at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences in Little Rock. She was the first female neurosurgeon to graduate from the university's residency program.

Dr. Dover cited Erika Petersen, MD, director of the section of functional and restorative neurosurgery at the university, as a mentor. During her residency, Dr. Dover was co-chief resident in the last two years of the program.

Jobyna Whiting, MD. Baptist Health South Florida (Coral Gables). Dr. Whiting is director of degenerative spine surgery at the Miami Neuroscience Institute. She's also a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

She said in an Aug. 25 profile she knew she wanted to be a doctor growing up but didn't land on neuroscience until her second year of medical school. Dr. Whiting was featured in a case study after spotting dangerous spinal cord compression in a patient who had complaints of back pain.

"My favorite part about my job is watching people who are in pain get better, come out of pain and get their lives back," Dr. Whiting said in the profile.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list. Surgeons are presented in alphabetical order.

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