"A Brief History"

The Organization of the Neurosurgical Society of Virginia began in 1965.  At that time there was no structure within the State Medical Society peculiar to the affairs of neurological surgery nor a forum for the dissemination of scientific and educational information of the neurosurgical sciences.  Neurological surgeons were moving from the traditional medical centers of the Universities to the larger communities of the state.  Neurosurgeons from Roanoke, the eastern shore of Virginia and Lynchburg as well as Richmond met at the John Marshall Hotel in Richmond to develop plans for an independent organization to meet these challenges.


The founders set forth qualifications for membership.  They were basic.  The member must be a physician lawfully licensed for the practice of medicine in the Commonwealth of Virginia and a neurological surgeon in good standing.  The objectives of the Society were to support the continuing education of its members, to provide a forum for expression and dissemination of scientific information, to have a recognized organization to speak for neurosurgical interests in social and economic affairs, and to promote a collegial atmosphere for neurosurgeons in the Commonwealth.  As well, it was the consensus of the founders that the annual meeting be held not at one of the universities but rather at one of the resort areas of Virginia.


With these objectives this nucleus of neurosurgeons established during 1966 a more formal organization.  Those who were eligible were invited to join and officers were selected.  The first annual meeting was held January 1967 at The Homestead.  Dr. Gayle Crutchfield, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Virginia, and Dr. James L. Poppen of the Lahey Clinic were invited as honored guests for this meeting.  


The proximity of West Virginia and the level of communication among neurosurgeons of the two states prompted a change in the bylaws in 1967 admitting the Society neurosurgeons of West Virginia.  The name was changed in 1968 to the Neurosurgical Society of the Virginias.  In 1969 a motion was passed to invite scientific papers from neurosurgical residents to be presented at the annual meeting and to award an honorarium to the resident presenting the best paper.  This was endorsed and supported by the program chairman of the University of Virginia, Medical College of Virginia, and West Virginia University.  In 1973, it was voted to name and award the "Crutchfield-Gage Award" to honor Dr. Gayle Crutchfield and Dr. Lyle Gage, Sr., the pioneer neurosurgeons of Virginia and West Virginia respectfully.  In 1974, the name of "Thomson" was added to honor the recently deceased Dr. James Thomson, who was a founding member and first president of the Society.  With time, resident papers focused on specific basic science or clinical research.  Resident participation was strongly encouraged by neurosurgical program directors at several universities.  Especially supportive, over many years, were John A. Jane, Sr. at UVA and G. Robert Nugent at WVU.  In 2017, the Society designated the Clinical Resident Award as the “Crutchfield-Gage-Thomson Award”.  The Basic Science Resident Award was named the “Jane-Nugent Award”.


Currently, the Society sends elected representatives to the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies for dealing with social, economic and political matters and, when called upon, provides council for the Medical Society of the State of Virginia and for national organizations such as the American College of Surgeons.  The Society has also expanded its membership to include other health care professionals with aligned interests including resident neurosurgeons, non-neurosurgeons, and midlevel providers.  However, the basic principles of the annual meeting remain the same as those of the founders, i.e. continuing education, disseminating scientific information, maintaining a cohesive relationship amongst neurosurgeons and acting as a representative of organized neurosurgery in the Virginias and surrounding areas.


Contributed by Stacy L. Rollins, Jr., M.D., January 1992

Updated by John Feldenzer, M.D. and Lee Selznick, M.D., January, 2018