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IU School of Medicine taps national leader to chair Department of Neurological Surgery

Shelly Timmons, MD, PhD

Shelly Timmons, MD, PhD, will join IU School of Medicine as chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in September 2019.

Indiana University School of Medicine and IU Health Physicians have recruited a nationally respected neurosurgeon to lead the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Shelly D. Timmons, MD, PhD, comes to Indiana from the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where she is vice chair for administration in the Department of Neurosurgery and director of neurotrauma. She holds leadership roles in several national societies and organizations and completed a term as president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons on April 17.

She will be the first woman to lead the IU department and only the fourth woman to serve as chair of a neurosurgical department at a U.S. medical school.

“Dr. Timmons is an impressive leader who has excelled in all aspects of academic medicine: research, education and patient care,” said Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean of IU School of Medicine and IU’s executive vice president for university clinical affairs. “Under her leadership, our vision is to build on the department’s many strengths and to transform the way we care for patients with complex neurological injuries and illnesses.”

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Timmons earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria in 1991. She completed residency training at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center–Memphis in 1997 and earned a PhD in anatomy and neurobiology there in 2002.

Prior to assuming her current role at Penn State in 2016, Timmons served as director of neurotrauma and residency program director at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania. She began her career at Semmes Murphey Clinic, a leading provider of neurosurgical care in Memphis, Tennessee, and was associate professor and chief of the neurotrauma division at University of Tennessee Health Science Center–Memphis, as well as assistant dean for graduate medical education.

Timmons’ recruitment comes as IU Health Physicians—a partnership between IU Health and IU School of Medicine—has begun building a neurosurgical team for both adults and pediatrics to add to its multi-specialty physician group. For the last decade, neurosurgical care has been delivered in concert with a private practice group, and that agreement is drawing to a close.

Five pediatric neurosurgeons joined IU Health Physicians in recent months as Riley Physicians Neurosurgery. Throughout the remainder of 2019, 14 neurosurgeons will join the IU Health Physicians Neurosurgery group for adults.

“Our foremost priority is to deliver highly coordinated, expert care to patients,” said David A. Ingram, MD, MS, president of IU Health Physicians and executive associate dean for clinical affairs at IU School of Medicine. “We are confident that under Dr. Timmons’ leadership we will add to our existing expertise, continue to bring the most promising therapies to Indiana, and become one of the premier neurosurgery programs in the Midwest and nation.”

In addition to holding the title of department chair, Timmons will be the Betsey Barton Professor of Neurosurgery at IU School of Medicine and co-director of the Neuroscience Institute, an umbrella entity designed to facilitate collaboration among neuroscience disciplines at IU School of Medicine and IU Health. She will formally join the medical school and health system in September.

“I am incredibly excited to be joining IU School of Medicine and IU Heath Physicians,” Timmons said. “IU School of Medicine is home to a highly respected neuroscience research program. Taken together with IU Health’s statewide footprint, we have the opportunity to impact the care of citizens throughout Indiana and to contribute to advancements in neurosurgical care that will benefit patients nationwide for years to come.”