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College of Medicine Names New Chairman of Neurosurgery

August 10, 2009

James (Jack) E. Wilberger, Jr., MD, has been named chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Drexel University College of Medicine. Wilberger is professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, the western regional campus of Drexel University College of Medicine. He is also director of the hospital’s neurosurgical residency training program and director of neurosurgery for the West Penn Allegheny Health System, where he also serves as vice president for graduate medical education and co-director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program. 

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Jack Wilberger accept the position of chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery,” said Richard V. Homan, MD, senior vice president for health affairs and Annenberg Dean of Drexel University College of Medicine. “Dr. Wilberger brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a respected clinician, educator, and academic researcher. His expertise and leadership are invaluable to our medical students at the Allegheny campus, and have already led to research collaborations between members of his department and faculty in our Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy in the area of spinal cord injury repair.”

Wilberger is the first Pittsburgh-based Drexel University College of Medicine professor to be appointed as an academic department chairman for the Philadelphia-based campus.

“It is an honor to be selected for this important leadership position in the Department of Neurosurgery at Drexel. Drexel’s tradition of excellence in neurosurgical care and research is most impressive. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Homan and the University’s medical and research staffs to help rebuild the program with the neurosciences resources available at AGH and strengthen the clinical, academic and scientific synergies between Drexel and the West Penn Allegheny Health System,” said Wilberger, who plans to maintain his various roles at AGH and WPAHS.

According to Christopher T. Olivia, MD, West Penn Allegheny’s president and chief executive officer, Wilberger’s new appointment at Drexel is reflective of the System’s considerable academic and clinical strengths and underscores the importance of the affiliation on both sides of the state.

“This is indeed a win-win scenario for our respective organizations. In Wilberger, Drexel has secured a nationally recognized and supremely talented physician/executive to lead its neurosurgical program. For AGH and West Penn Allegheny, it further enhances our academic credentials and opens up new opportunities to expand the innovative work of our neurosciences team,” Dr. Olivia said.

Throughout his career, Wilberger has distinguished himself in the field of neurotrauma through his efforts to improve the treatment and outcomes for both spinal cord injury and head injury. He has published widely with more than 120 articles in peer-reviewed journals and over 65 book chapters to date. He is also the author and/or editor of four current neurosurgical texts, including Neurotrauma (McGraw Hill, New York, 1997).

Wilberger received his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and graduated with highest honors from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed neurosurgical residency training at the University of Pittsburgh before joining the faculty of Allegheny General Hospital.

A past chairman of the Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Wilberger is currently involved with the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. In addition, he is vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors of the Allegheny County Medical Society.