University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Names Dean Chou, MD, Chief of the Spine Division

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University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Names Dean Chou, MD, Chief of the Spine Division

11 Nov, 2022

Dean Chou, MD, a renowned neurosurgeon who specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques and complex spine surgery, has been named chief of the spine division in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.


Chou, professor of neurological surgery, also was named vice chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. He will lead the neurosurgical spine program at Och Spine at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital


Before joining Columbia, Chou was a professor of neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery and associate director of the Neurospine Center in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco. In his new role, he will work alongside surgical and nonsurgical spine care specialists from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine to enhance the world-class spine care provided by Och Spine at NewYork-Presbyterian.


“Dr. Chou is an internationally recognized neurological spine surgeon with a wealth of experience in treating both routine and complex spine conditions,” says Sander Connolly, MD, chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at VP&S and neurosurgeon-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “We are thrilled to have his depth of knowledge to build upon our reputation as one of the leading spine centers in the country.”


With his expertise in scoliosis, spinal deformity, spinal tumors, and degenerative conditions of the spine, Chou will focus on further enhancing the acclaimed Och Spine program. A specialist in minimally invasive surgery treatments for adult scoliosis and spinal deformities, he has published numerous papers showing that minimally invasive surgery for scoliosis and deformity surgery may result in quicker recovery times and less blood loss than open surgery. He is a member of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Group of the International Spine Study Group and is an expert in traditional open surgery for scoliosis and other spine conditions.


In addition to treating patients, Chou will focus on conducting spine clinical research and further strengthening the collaboration among the Och Spine care teams.


Chou attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, and completed his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. He is board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and has been elected by his peers for 10 consecutive years to the list of “Best Doctors in America.”




About Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S): 


Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) is guided by the principle that medical education is university education.


The acquisition of knowledge and skills is important in professional education, but far more vital is a profound understanding of the science, the art, and the ethic within which both knowledge and skill are applied. As a part of Columbia University, the College builds its curriculum, selects its officers of instruction, and marshals its enormous resources of equipment and clinical experience to develop in the student this understanding of medicine.

VP&S is part of a unique collection of health sciences schools that make up the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, an integral part of the Washington Heights community in upper Manhattan—one of New York City’s most diverse neighborhoods. Every day VP&S faculty, staff, and students work towards our mission—to care, to discover, to educate, and to make life better for people in need.


VP&S provides international leadership in educating physicians, physician-scientists, and research scientists; in caring for patients ranging from those who can select any physician in the world to our neighborhood’s most vulnerable residents; and in conducting basic, translational, and population-based research to improve human health.


One of the nation’s most research-intensive medical schools, VP&S is consistently ranked among the best medical schools in the nation. VP&S attracts students with idealistic values and the highest aspirations for excellence. Students have MCAT scores and grade point averages that are among the highest in the nation, and VP&S has one of the most diverse student bodies of any medical school in the U.S. Also, our graduate research programs have been judged among the most productive as measured by their scholarly contributions.


Our major teaching hospital affiliate, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, is ranked 5th among the nation’s hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. VP&S became part of the nation’s first academic medical center in 1928 when VP&S and Presbyterian Hospital (now NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital) moved to a 20-acre campus in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The medical school and hospital were soon joined by the New York State Psychiatric Institute, renowned for pioneering treatments for some of humanity’s most intractable mental problems.


VP&S is broadly international while also being intensely local. We care for patients from around the world and sponsor multicenter, international clinical trials that change the face of medical care for millions who never step on our campus. At the same time, we are respected within our neighborhood, throughout our city and state, and across the nation for our historic contributions to medical progress and for our continued commitment to improve the health of individuals and populations.




About Dean Chou, MD: 


Dr. Chou is the Chief of the Spine Division, Professor, and Vice Chair of Neurosurgery at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Chou has many years of experience and expertise in scoliosisspinal deformityspinal tumors, and degenerative conditions of the spine. He has pioneered many minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat these complex conditions, and is also an expert in traditional open surgery. When possible, he uses the least-invasive treatment techniques, providing an individualized, thoughtful approach to every patient. 


Dr. Chou attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, completed his residency in Neurosurgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and undertook a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at The Barrow Neurological Institute under one of the legendary pioneers of spine surgery, Dr. Volker Sonntag. He is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.


Prior to Columbia, he was on faculty at the University of California of San Francisco, rising to the rank of full Professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopedics, and eventually the Associate Director of the UCSF Neurospine Center.  He is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and has been elected by his peers for 10 consecutive years to the “Best Doctors in America” list, according to Best Doctors, Inc.


To date, Dr. Chou has authored more than 290 peer-reviewed publications in a wide variety of neurosurgery and spine journals. He sits on the editorial boards of the following journals; Journal of Neurosurgery: SpineNeurosurgery, and PLOS ONE. He is on the advisory board of the journal, Spine. He serves as Treasurer and on the Board of Directors for the Lumbar Spine Research Society (LSRS) and serves on the Membership Committee for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).  He also sits on the Executive and Scientific Program Committees of the AANS/Congress of Neurosurgeons Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, and he has served as an abstract reviewer for many organized meetings. He is a two-time recipient of the Harold Rosegay Resident Teaching Award and has been awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from The Johns Hopkins Department of Neurosurgery.  He has served as abstract reviewer and faculty member for such organizations as the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), the North American Spine Society (NASS), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the AANS, the LSRS, the Global Spine Congress, and the International Meeting for Advanced Spinal Techniques (IMAST).








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