History of Barrow Neurological Institute
Charles Barrow, a coal magnate, donates a electroencephalography (EEG) machine to St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Sisters of Mercy.
Charles Barrow, a coal magnate, made an initial donation of $500,000 to found Barrow Neurological Institute after Dr. John Green extended the life of his wife, Julia, who had a malignant brain tumor. He made the donation in the name of his father, William H. Barrow.
The Barrow Neurosurgery Residency Program received accreditation from the American Board of Neurosurgery. “Barrow was, at that time, the only residency not associated with a university,” Dr. Volker Sonntag said. “So that was a huge accomplishment for Dr. Green.” In this photo, actor Vincent Edwards (left) is pictured with Barrow’s first neurosurgical resident, Dr. David Scheetz.
Construction begins on the state-of-the-art Barrow Neurological Institute building. The building now houses the Heart and Lung Tower of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The photo above was taken at the new building’s dedication in 1962.
Sept. 23, 1962: Barrow opened its doors to patients with one neurosurgical operating room and 52 beds. It was one of only three neuroscience institutes in the entire country. It had five divisions: neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, neurobiology, and neuropathology.
In 1972 Barrow and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center were designated as Arizona’s first Level 1 Trauma Center.
Barrow Installs 1st CT Scanner in Phoenix
The center has continued to expand ever since.
In 1986, Dr. Spetzler would succeed Dr. John Green as Director of Barrow Neurological Institute.
Dr. Robert Spetzler and Dr. Joseph Zabramski refine this radical procedure, which involves inducing hypothermia, stopping the heart, and removing blood from the patient, allows neurosurgeons to treat previously inoperable lesions in the brain.
Dr. Robert Spetzler established the BNI Quarterly, the official journal of Barrow.
Dr. John Green Retires as director of Barrow and is succeeded by Dr. Robert Spetzler.
Barrow celebrates its 25th anniversary by sponsoring the America’s Brain Trust event. The forum consisted of President Gerald Ford, Vice President Walter Mondale, and Henry Kissinger.
Pope John Paul II Visits Barrow and St. Joseph’s. Barrow was the only hospital visited by the Pope on his tour of the United States.
First Lady Nancy Reagan dedicates the Dr. Loyal and Edith Davis Neurological Research Laboratory. Nancy Reagan’s father, Dr. Loyal Davis, was one of the first neurosurgeons at Barrow.
Dr. Volker Sonntag Successfully Treats “Internal Decapitation.” Barrow and Dr. Volker Sonntag make international headlines with the successful reattachment of the skull of a boy whose skull was severed from his spine.
Dr. Curtis Dickman Pioneers Thoracoscopic Spinal Surgery. Dr. Dickman devises a method of operating on the spine using endoscopic tools through small incisions in the chest.
The first annual Celebrity Fight Night is held. The star-studded event has raised funds for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow since its inception.
The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute is founded.
A $40-million Neuroscience Research Center, now known as the Marian H. Rochelle Neuroscience Research Center, opens on the Barrow Campus.
Barrow researchers, led by Dr. Joseph Zabramski and Dr. Eric Johnson, identify the gene that causes the inherited form of cerebral cavernous malformations.
Dr. James Pipe at Barrow creates the new Propeller Method to assemble MRI scan images. The new method allows clinicians to obtain clear MRI images regardless of patient motion.
Barrow opens the nation’s first Hypothalamic Hamartoma (HH) program, successfully removing the devastating brain tumor from hundreds of children from all over the world.
Barrow installs the nation’s first Med Presence video-conferencing unit, facilitating real-time global consultations during surgery.
The 430,000 square foot Barrow Neuroscience Tower opens, creating the largest neuroscience center in the nation. It houses some of the most advanced operating rooms in the world.
Dr. Robert Spetzler clips his 5,000th aneurysm, believed to be the most of any neurosurgeon in the world.
The expansion makes the center the largest center for Parkinson’s disease treatment and outreach in the Southwestern United States.
The Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center opens with Dr. Nader Sanai as director. The main goal of the center is to prolong patient survival and eventually find a cure for glioblastoma multiforme tumor
The Barrow Neuromodulation Center, under the direction of Dr. Francisco Ponce, is created to treat patients with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders using deep brain stimulation (DBS). In addition, the center will participate in clinical trials exploring the use of DBS for other conditions. The center became just the second institution in the country to perform DBS on patients under general anesthesia (asleep DBS), and is now the first to offer placement of both leads and the stimulator pack in the same surgical procedure.
The Gregory W. Fulton ALS and Neuromuscular Research Center, headed by Dr. Robert Bowser, is created to treat patients with complex degenerative neuromuscular diseases.
Barrow Professor of Neurobiology Dr. Robert Bowser uses IBM’s Watson for Drug Discovery to identify five genes that had never before been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Dr. Lawton spent his seven-year medical residency training at Barrow under Dr. Spetzler and went on to build a prominent cerebrovascular service in California. He returned to Barrow to succeed Dr. Spetzler after an extensive national search.
Dr. Juan Uribe joins as Chief of the Division of Spinal Disorders. He also serves as the Volker Sonntag chair of spine research and vice chairman of neurosurgery. Dr. Uribe brings expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery and robotic spine surgery.
Barrow Redefines Spine Surgery With New Surgical Robot. Barrow neurosurgeons begin performing spinal fusion surgeries with the Globus Medical ExcelsiusGPS. Developed at Barrow, the device utilizes navigation technology, imaging, and robotics to increase precision and reduce recovery times.
Neurosurgeon Francisco Ponce, MD, performs his 1000th deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedure.
Fulfilling Dr. Robert Spetzler’s dream of a grand entry for Barrow, the Neuroplex will house our Department of Neurosurgery, an ambulatory surgery center, a pre-admission center for neurosurgery, a neuro-infusion suite, and the neuro-oncology, stroke, and neuro-endocrinrology divisions of our Department of Neurology.
To advance the knowledge and practice of medicine in neuroscience through basic and clinical research, education of medical professionals, and innovation in clinical techniques and technology.