AANS Award Winners

Cushing Medalist

James T. Rutka, MD, PhD, FAANS

James T. Rutka, MD, PhD, FAANS, was educated at Princeton University and Queen's University Medical School, Dr. Rutka did an internship at McGill University before entering the University of Toronto Neurosurgery Training Program. His training included a research fellowship at the Brain Tumor Research Centre at the University of California San Francisco, where he obtained his PhD in experimental pathology.

Dr. Rutka assumed his appointment in the division of neurosurgery, the department of surgery at the University of Toronto in 1990. He is a pediatric neurosurgeon whose clinical practice has been at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Rutka's primary research and clinical interests relate to the science and surgery of human brain tumors and epilepsy. He has over 500 peer-reviewed publications and has had continuous research funding for his laboratory since 1990.

In 1999, Dr. Rutka was promoted to professor in the department of surgery at the University of Toronto and was appointed to the Dan Family Chair in the division of neurosurgery – a position he held until 2011. In 2009, he was the Honored Guest at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons’ Annual Meeting. Dr. Rutka served as president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons 2010-11. In 2011, he became president of the World Academy of Neurological Surgery, president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. That same year, he was appointed as the RS McLaughlin Professor and Chair of the department of surgery at the University of Toronto. In 2013, he became the first Canadian to be appointed as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neurosurgery and was inducted as a member of the Order of Ontario. In 2015, he received the Margolese National Brain Disorders Prize from the University of British Columbia, the Robert L. Noble Award from the Canadian Cancer Society and was made an officer of the Order of Canada. In 2017, he received an honorary degree, Doctor of Science, from his medical school alma mater, Queen’s University. Dr. Rutka is married to Mari Rutka. Together they have three children: Daniel, Hana and Marissa.

AANS Humanitarian Award

David I. Sandberg, MD, FAANS

David I. Sandberg, MD, FAANS, received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed neurosurgery residency training at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital and was awarded the Resident Traveling Fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery by the AANS and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. After residency and eight years on the faculty of the Miller School of Medicine of the University of Miami and Miami Children’s Hospital, he moved to Houston to become the director of pediatric neurosurgery at the McGovern School of Medicine/University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where he holds the Dr. Marnie Rose Professorship in Pediatric Neurosurgery. Dr. Sandberg has a joint faculty appointment at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is co-director of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program. His major research interest involves novel drug delivery methods to treat malignant brain tumors in children.

Dr. Sandberg has had a lifelong interest in public service. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he spent countless hours each week as director of a student-run homeless shelter. Early in neurosurgery residency, he developed an interest in improving access to neurosurgical care for children in developing countries. He has been on the board of FIENS, the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery, since 2004, and he served as Secretary of FIENS from 2013 to 2018. He has organized and/or participated in 19 humanitarian pediatric neurosurgical trips throughout the world – in Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Uganda and especially Haiti, where he has volunteered on 10 separate occasions. On the majority of these trips, he has focused not only on treating indigent children, but also on educating local neurosurgeons to improve their ability to provide care. With the help of donors and other volunteers, he has brought several children back to the United States for life-saving treatment for brain tumors that could not be adequately managed in their home countries. Additionally, he has lectured numerous times at pediatric neurosurgery meetings throughout Central and South America in Spanish, frequently visiting hospitals there simultaneously to provide assistance and education to local neurosurgeons and trainees.

AANS Distinguished Service Award

M. Ross Bullock, MD, PhD

M. Ross Bullock, MD, PhD, moved to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) as assistant professor in neurosurgery in 1992, having done residencies in both Durban, South Africa and the University of Glasgow, where he was also senior lecturer for five years. He maintained a busy clinical practice in neurotrauma and cerebrovascular, served as a principal investigator for several NIH and industry-sponsored neurotrauma research studies, including a program project award and twelve neuroprotection trials with the pharmaceutical industry. He maintained basic laboratory research programs, both at MCV, and at the University of Miami after moving there in 2007. He co-authored over 350 publications and trained fellows and residents from all over the world in both laboratory and clinical neurotrauma. He served as chair of the AANS/CNS Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care and as chair of the Neurotrauma Society and has reviewed for 19 journals, the NIH and DOD. Dr. Bullock also served eight years on the US Armed Forces Medical Board.

AANS Cushing Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery

Kevin T. Foley, MD, FAANS

Kevin Foley, MD, FAANS, is a tenured professor of neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tenn. He is the chairman of the board of Semmes-Murphey Clinic, director of the spine fellowship program for the University of Tennessee Department of Neurosurgery and chairman of the board and medical director for the Medical Education & Research Institute. In addition to a full-time spine surgery practice, he is actively involved in medical device development and research in minimally invasive spine surgery, disc regeneration and clinical outcomes. Dr. Foley has been granted more than 150 patents by the USPTO and invented many of the tools and techniques (tubular retractors, percutaneous pedicle screws with removable extenders) that have enabled modern minimally invasive spine surgery.

AANS International Lifetime Recognition Award

Franco Servadei, MD (Italy)

Franco Servadei, MD, attended University of Bologna School of Medicine and completed his neurosurgery residency at the University of Modena. He completed a post-graduate fellowship at Karolinska University in Stockholm and completed further training at Royal Hallamshire Hospital and University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom (UK). In 1985, Dr. Servadei earned his The European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) Training Certificate and became staff neurosurgeon at Bellaria Hospital, Bologna. His other hospital appointments include director of neurotrauma and emergency care at Bufalini Hospital Cesena (1998-2007), director of neurosurgery-neurotraumatology at University Hospitals of Parma and Reggio Emilia, Italy (2007-2016) and he is current position, director of neurosurgical emergency services, Humanitas University in Milano, Italy.

Dr. Servadei is a sought-after educator and holds multiple academic appointments, including professor of neurosurgery at Humanitas University in Milano, Italy. He is honorary professor of neurosurgery at Burdenko Institute in Moscow, Universita’ Italiana in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as well as University of Surabaya, Indonesia. Dr. Servadei is also an honorary visiting professor of neurosurgery for the University of Cambridge in the UK. He is active in neurosurgical societies, including as chairman of the WFNS Neurotrauma Committee (2002-2009) and president of the Italian Neurosurgical Society (2010-2012). Dr. Servadei is the current president of the WFNS.

He has been chairman and organizer of five international meetings, chairman of five international training courses for young neurosurgeons and served as faculty for 17 international courses. He has been an invited speaker at 72 international meetings on five continents and a visiting professor in the UK, Taiwan, Russia, Argentina, India, Indonesia, United States, Brazil, Vietnam, France and Bolivia. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers and five book chapters on subjects such as trauma, brain and spine tumors and spine degenerative diseases.