Health & Medicine

There's a new chief of UCD Health's neurosurgery department. Hint: his famous wife ran for governor

Respected Stanford surgeon takes reins of UCD's neurological surgery department

Noted neurosurgeon, researcher and educator Dr. Griffith Harsh IV leaves Stanford University to lead UC Davis Health’s neurological surgery department.
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Noted neurosurgeon, researcher and educator Dr. Griffith Harsh IV leaves Stanford University to lead UC Davis Health’s neurological surgery department.

UC Davis Health announced Tuesday that respected neurosurgeon, scientist and educator Dr. Griffith Harsh IV is taking the reins of the system's neurological surgery department. Harsh has won awards for his outstanding teaching methodology. He's led the Stanford Brain Tumor Center since 2010.

Harsh, though, is also the husband of the erstwhile California gubernatorial candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, and that is likely what will set tongues wagging here in the state capital.

"Dr. Harsh is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading surgeon and scholar,” said Lars Berglund, interim dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine. “He brings tremendous strengths in neurosurgery and a longstanding devotion to physician education to UC Davis. I am certain he will lead our neurological surgery team to the next stages of their strategic vision for improving patient care and ensuring excellence in the next generation of brain and spine surgeons."

Harsh has also been vice chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University. As chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at UC Davis, Harsh will lead a team of 20 surgeons, scientists and residents who treat both adults and children with such conditions as epilepsy, cancer, traumatic brain injury and movement disorders.

"UC Davis’ neurological surgery faculty has an outstanding track record treating the breadth of challenging brain conditions," Harsh said, "and the department collaborates closely with the university’s NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, level I trauma center, Center for Neuroscience and Stroke Program to ensure patients have access to advanced, multidisciplinary, patient-focused care. I look forward to leading this remarkable, resourceful and dedicated team."

Until his transition from Stanford Medical Center is complete, he will be working both at Stanford and at UC Davis. He said he's already found a place to live here in Sacramento, though. He takes the reins from the highly regarded neurosurgeon, Dr. James Boggan, who is retiring after five years as chair of neurological surgery.

Harsh received his bachelor's and medical degrees from Harvard University. A Rhodes Scholar, he also has a master's degree in neurological science from Oxford University. He completed his neurosurgery training at the University of California, San Francisco.

The author of more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, Harsh also received numerous awards and honors for excellence in clinical practice, research, teaching and mentoring. He's been a president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, president of the Neurosurgical Society of America, vice chair of the Residency Review Committee of Neurological Surgery, and chair of the Executive Council of the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation.

Anne Madden Rice, chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center, said: “We expect Dr. Harsh’s clinical talents and expert leadership will further strengthen our commitment to expanding treatment options for complex brain disease.”

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