Dr. Adelson

Renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. P. David Adelson joins Phoenix Children's

Dr. Adelson has been recognized as one of the foremost experts on pediatric head injury, lecturing around the United States and the world. Now he joins Phoenix Children's to expand a program that surpasses the typical model of pediatric care.

Leading the new Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

For some, it's playing a musical instrument. For others, it's painting. But for P. David Adelson, MD, FACS, FAAP, the new director of the Hospital's Barrow Neurological Institute and chief of neurosurgery, his passion is a bit atypical.

"My hobby is neuroscience," he says. "The heart's a pump, the kidney's a filter – those are all simple functions which are there to support who we are and what we do." But the brain controls it all, he says. "I just looked at the brain and neurosciences as the next frontier; studying something of which I would never get bored."

Dr. Adelson has been recognized as one of the foremost experts on pediatric head injury clinical management, lecturing around the United States and the world. He has been published in numerous medical and scientific journals defining "state-of-the art" in the care of children with traumatic brain injuries.

The path to Phoenix Children's Hospital

Dr. Adelson came to Phoenix in January from Pittsburgh, where he served as the A. Leland Albright Endowed Professor of Neurosurgery/Pediatric Neurosurgery at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Vice Chairman, (Research) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, one of the most prominent neurosurgical departments in the country.

While he was quite content in Pittsburgh and admittedly had a very good thing going, he was drawn to Phoenix Children's by a unique opportunity.

"I always wanted to specifically develop a Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital," Dr. Adelson says. "There are a lot of places that call themselves neuroscience institutes around the country; some are one-person, private-practice offices, or a couple of people get together as a marketing tool – that's not real.

"This is an opportunity to do something that is truly unique by removing the traditional boundaries of neuroscience divisions – neurosurgery, neurology, psychiatry, psychology, physical medicine, rehab, neuro-critical care, neuroradiology – and really create more of a seamless cooperative, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach, not just to clinical care, but really to try to push the state-of-the-art, to be able to do education, research and other unique things."

That opportunity is all the more rich at a dedicated children's healthcare facility like Phoenix Children's.

The best care, only for children

"I truly believe that children are best served within a children's hospital, not on a children's floor within an adult hospital or a virtual children's hospital within a hospital," Dr. Adelson says, noting that the perspective is vastly different at a freestanding children's hospital.

"I think people who work in a children's hospital want to be there, want to deal only with children, want to help children, and that is true from the CEO down to the people who are cleaning the rooms."

For Dr. Adelson, who realized early on he had a passion for working with children, work has never really been work. Instead, he approaches each day with a plan to make a difference. According to him, he'll be making a difference well into the future.

"If it's never a job, you never have to retire," he says.

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