Our Heritage


The Neurological Institute of New York was established in 1909 and represents the oldest institution dedicated to the evaluation and management of patients with conditions of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, nerve roots, and spine. The evaluation and treatment of spinal disorders, in particular, have a strong and enduring history at The Neurological Institute beginning with Charles Elsberg M.D., the first Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at The Neurological Institute. Because of his groundbreaking innovations in spinal surgery, he is now known as the ‘father of spinal cord surgery” by generations of neurosurgeons. This legacy and commitment to spine surgery at The Neurological Institute has endured and flourished to the present time.


The Neurological Institute of New York became affiliated with the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1954 and worked closely with the Department of Orthopedic surgery, which also had a broad history of spine surgery innovation and leadership. Indeed, the first spinal fusion was performed at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in 1915.

The Spine Hospital at The Neurological Institute of New York

In 1989, Bennett M. Stein MD, then Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, foresaw the rapid expansion in the knowledge, skills, and complexity of spine surgery. He developed a select division of spine neurosurgery to be lead by fellowship trained spinal neurosurgeons. These surgeons would utilize their microsurgical skills, knowledge, and techniques acquired during their neurosurgical training and further advance this expertise with additional fellowship training in spine surgery. Once this training was complete these surgeons would focus their practice exclusively on the evaluation and management of patients with disorders of the spine and spinal cord. Paul C. McCormick, MD, MPH, FAANS, current director of The Spine Hospital at The Neurological Institute of New York, was the first spinal neurosurgeon to be selected and trained under this new system. Since then, The Spine Hospital has expanded to include 5 full time fellowship trained adult spinal neurosurgeons and one pediatric neurosurgeon.

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