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  • Hugo V. Rizzoli

    1984, New York, NY

    Hugo Victor Rizzoli was born in Newark, New Jersey, on August 20, 1916. He received his A.B. degree in chemistry from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1936. Dr. Rizzoli then went on to receive his M.D. from The Johns Hopkins in 1940. He interned in medicine from 1940 to 1941, and then entered the surgery program at The Johns Hopkins. He became a Harvey Cushing Fellow from 1942 to 1943 and then served as neurosurgical resident with Walter E. Dandy as chief of service.

    Dr. Rizzoli completed his residency during World War II and immediately entered the United States Army, serving as neurosurgeon at Halloran General Hospital and later at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Major Rizzoli served as chief of the neurosurgical section at Walter Reed for the year prior to his discharge from the Army in October 1946.

    After leaving the Army, Dr. Rizzoli stayed in Washington, D.C., to practice neurosurgery. In addition to his private practice, he became chief of the Department of Neurosurgery at Emergency Hospital. Always a respected teacher, Dr. Rizzoli then became formally involved with the residency training program at the George Washington University. He had been chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery and a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Hospital Center, and was director of training and education there from 1964 to 1973. He was professor and chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the George Washington University from 1969 to 1987.

    Dr. Rizzoli's career has exemplified neurosurgery in the nation's service. He has been deeply involved with the Veterans Administration and has made numerous site visits to their spinal cord injury centers. He has continued to serve as consultant in neurological surgery to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda Naval Hospital, Malcolm Grow Air Force Hospital, the Washington Veterans Administration Hospital, Andrews Air Force Base Hospital, and the National Institutes of Health. He was a member of the health exchange team of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare on a trip to the Soviet Union to study medical services for the treatment of spinal cord-injured patients. In 1979 he received the Department of the Army Commander's Award for Civilian Service which was presented by Walter Reed Army Hospital.

    Many societies have had the benefit of Hugo Rizzoli's active participation. In the American Association of Neurological Surgeons he has served as vice president (1982), member of the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, and chairman of the Graduate Education Subcommittee on Recertification of the Joint Committee on Education. He has been a member of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, has served as its vice chairman, and has served as Residency Review Committee member representing the American Medical Association. He represents the Society of Neurological Surgeons in the Association of Specialty Societies and Service Delegates and on the American Registry of Pathology. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons, the Neurosurgical Society of America (vice president in 1976-77), the American College of Surgeons, the Osler Society, the Clinical Pathological Society, and the Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Forces. He has been a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons since 1955.

    Contributions to the medical literature have included his book on postoperative complications in neurosurgical practice, co-authored with Norman Horwitz and in its second edition, numerous articles on investigative work in spinal cord injury, earlier important papers on lumbar and cervical disc disease, peripheral nerve surgery, and the surgical management of aneurysms. His most recent contributions on the management of radiation necrosis of the brain continue to be both scientifically provocative and clinically useful.

    Dr. Rizzoli and his wife, Helen Vargo Rizzoli, have four children, and they live in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Few neurosurgical educators have been as respected and beloved as Hugo Rizzoli. To the superb background in investigative and clinical neurosurgery he received from Walter Dandy, he has added his own brand of quiet and thoughtful excellence in practice, research, and education, and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons is privileged to honor him.

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