1. History of Barrow Neurological Institute

  2. 1950

    Seeds of a Partnership

    Charles Barrow, a coal magnate, donates a electroencephalography (EEG) machine to St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Sisters of Mercy.

    Black and white portrait of charles barrow
  3. 1958

    Barrow Neurological Institute Founded

    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.

    Barrow Neurological Institute Founded in 1958
  4. 1960

    Barrow Gets a Home

    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.

    Barrow group photo in 1961
  5. 1962

    Barrow opens its doors

    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.

    Newspaper article 1962
  6. 1970

    Level 1 Trauma Center

    In 1972 Barrow and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center were designated as Arizona’s first Level 1 Trauma Center.

    Level 1 Trauma Center
  7. 1975

    CT Scanner

    Barrow Installs 1st CT Scanner in Phoenix

    Barrow's first CT Scanner
  8. 1979

    Neurorehabilitation Center Launched

    The center has continued to expand ever since.

    Woman receiving rehab treatment
  9. 1980

    Dr. Robert F. Spetzler Joins Barrow

    In 1986, Dr. Spetzler would succeed Dr. John Green as Director of Barrow Neurological Institute.

    Dr. Robert Spetzler during surgery at Barrow
  10. 1983

    Refining Cardiac Standstill Procedure

    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.

    Doctors at Barrow analyzing results from computer
  11. 1985

    BNI Quarterly

    Dr. Robert Spetzler established the BNI Quarterly, the official journal of Barrow.

    1985 image of brain
  12. 1986

    Dr. John Green Retires

    Dr. John Green Retires as director of Barrow and is succeeded by Dr. Robert Spetzler.

    black and white photo of barrow surgeon
  13. 1987

    America’s Brain Trust Event

    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.

    America's first brain trust event
  14. 1987

    Papal Visit

    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.

    Pope John Paull II at Barrow
  15. 1988

    First Lady Nancy Reagan

    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.

    Nancy Reagan at Barrow
  16. 1989

    “Internal Decapitation”

    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.

    Amazing internal decapitation treatment
  17. 1990

    Thoracoscopic Spinal Surgery

    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.

    Thorascoscopic Spinal Surgery
  18. 1994

    First Celebrity Fight Night Held

    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.

    First celeb fight night
  19. 1997

    The Champ Teams with Barrow

    The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute is founded.

    Muhammad Ali "The Champ"
  20. 1997

    Neuroscience Research Tower Opens

    A $40-million Neuroscience Research Center, now known as the Marian H. Rochelle Neuroscience Research Center, opens on the Barrow Campus.

    Neuroscience Towers at Barrow Neurological Institute
  21. 1999

    Cavernous Malformations

    Barrow researchers, led by Dr. Joseph Zabramski and Dr. Eric Johnson, identify the gene that causes the inherited form of cerebral cavernous malformations.

    Dr. Joseph Zabramski and Dr Eric Johnson


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.