Dr. Abhaya V. Kulkarni, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Board Chair

Division of Neurosurgery, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Ab Kulkarni is a pediatric neurosurgeon and Professor of Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, a Senior Scientist at the SickKids Research Institute, and Program Director for the Neurosurgery Residency Program at the University of Toronto. He completed neurosurgery training at the University of Toronto and his PhD in Clinical Epidemiology at McMaster University. After a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship at Hopital Necker Enfants Malades in Paris, he began his faculty appointment at the Hospital for Sick Children in 2003. Dr. Kulkarni’s research focuses on health outcome assessments in pediatric neurosurgery, with special emphasis on hydrocephalus. He is a site investigator for the North American Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network and has received research funding from several national and international funding agencies. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Neurosurgery and Journal of Neurosurgery.

Dr. Paige Terrien Church, MD, Member

Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at University of Toronto, Staff Neonatologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Consulting Developmental Behavioral Paediatrician at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Dr. Church is an assistant Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, the Director of the Neonatal Follow Up Clinic at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Lead Developmental Behavioral Paediatrician in the Spina Bifida Clinic at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Centre. She is board certified in both Neonatology and Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics with an interest in the long-term outcomes of children either preterm or those with congenital anomalies and neurologic conditions. As an adult living with spina bifida, Dr. Church has a vested interest in the long-term care of children, youth and adults living with spina bifida and hydrocephalus

Dr. James M. Drake, BSE, MBBCh, MSc, FRCSC, FACS

Chief of Neurosurgery, The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. James Drake attended Princeton University from 1969 to 1974, receiving a degree in aerospace and mechanical engineering.He then received his medical education at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, graduating in 1979.In 1982, Dr. Drake entered the Neurosurgery Training Program at the University of Toronto. He received his Master’s degree in magnetic resonance imaging of hydrocephalus in 1987 at the University of Toronto. In the same year, he became a Fellow of the RoyalCollege of Surgeons of Canada.After a Clinical Fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery at l’Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades in Paris, Dr. Drake joined the neurosurgical staff at the Hospital for Sick Children in 1988. He promptly established the Hydrocephalus Research Laboratory and began working on the application of robotics to the resection of pediatric brain tumors.

Dr. Drake is an author of more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, including the definitive textbook on cerebrospinal fluid shunts, The Shunt Book, which he coauthored with Professor Christian Sainte-Rose of Paris.He is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Surgery and succeeded Dr. Robin Humphreys as the Division’s fifth Neurosurgeon-in- Chief on Dr. Humphreys’ retirement in 2003. He is the current Harold J. Hoffman/Shopper’s Drug Mart Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery.

His clinical practice focuses on hydrocephalus, spasticity, neuroendoscopic procedures, the pediatric spine, and peripheral nerve surgery. Dr. Drake’s research is devoted to engineering applications to neurosurgery including image guided surgery including robotics, designing a better cerebrospinal fluid shunt design system and mathematical models of hydrocephalus.

Dr. Michael Cusimano, MD, MHPE, FRCS, DABNS, PhD, FACS

Adjunct Scientist in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital, Professor, Surgery, Education and Public Health, University of Toronto

Dr. Cusimano received his MD and PhD from the University of Toronto, his Masters degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Fellowship in Skull Base and Microvascular Surgery from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1992, Dr. Cusimano has been a Staff Neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital with a cross appointment at the Hospital for Sick Children and UHN. Since 2005 he has been a full Professor of Neurosurgery, Education and Public Health at University of Toronto. He was the first practicing surgeon in the world with a PhD in Education. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, a Diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is the founder and Director of the Injury Prevention Research Office at St. Michael’s Hospital and a founding member of the University of Toronto Gamma Knife Unit.

He consults and does surgery on adult and pediatric patients from across Canada and internationally for surgery and gamma knife radiosurgery with skull base tumours such as pituitary tumours and meningiomas, and, complex vascular lesions such as aneurysms and AVMs. His opinion in the management of hydrocephalus in adults is widely sought. He routinely presents his work internationally and has been a visiting professor to countries such as China, Italy and Jamaica.

His research interests include NPH, skull base surgery, brain tumours and aneurysms, quality of life, the cerebellum, neurocognition, injury and preventing injury especially brain injury, public health issues, geomatics, knowledge translation and medical education. He worked with engineers to develop the first simulated mannequin that could mimic brain injuries. He and his colleague, Dr Ron Fenton, were the first to describe the binasal endoscopic approach to the skull base.

He has raised awareness about adult hydrocephalus and NPH since the 1990s, and he has been one of Canada’s leading surgeons in the field since then.For over a decade, Dr. Cusimano has done research and been a public advocate on ways to prevent injuries, especially brain injuries and is outspoken when it comes to keeping people well and promoting healthy lifestyles that keep our brains healthy.

He is a reviewer for many medical journals and has over 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts, some in leading journals such as The Lancet, JAMA and Nature.He loves to teach and has been praised for his ability to communicate ideas from kindergarten to the post-MD and post-PhD levels. His trainees are now throughout the world. He has won many awards for his research, his teaching and for his compassion as a doctor.

Dr. Ruth Donnelly, PhD, C.Psych.

Department of Psychology, The Hospital for Sick Children

Educated at Smith College in Massachusetts and at the University of Toronto. Dr. Donnelly obtained her Ph.D. in Experimental Cognitive Psychology in 1988.Dr. Donnelly conducts neuropsychological assessments of a wide variety of Neurosurgery patients, including children with hydrocephalus, traumatic brain injuries, arterio-venous malformations, brain cysts, and non-malignant tumours.Her research interests centre on children with hydrocephalus and kids with acquired brain injuries.Dr. Donnelly is currently a co-investigator with Dr. Abhaya Kulkarni, SickKids Neurosurgery, on a study examining cognitive, emotional, and physical outcomes for children with hydrocephalus.

Ms. Herta Yu

Herta Yu has been a neuroscience nurse for over 20 years since her graduation from George Brown College in 1990. She started her professional career as a staff nurse in the neurology ward at the Toronto Western Hospital where she also helped develop the Neuroscience Critical Care Step-down Unit. Her passion for neuroscience nursing has led her to return to school to complete her post-RN Bachelor’s degree at Ryerson University and then her Masters in Nursing Science with an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of Toronto.

After completion of her Master’s degree in 2001, Herta bid farewell to adult neuroscience nursing and entered the world of pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children in the role of a pediatric nurse practitioner in the division of Neurosurgery, a position which she still holds today. In this role, Herta provides advanced inpatient care and management for children with acute and chronic neurosurgical problems as well as holistic follow up and anticipatory guidance and education to patients and families in the neurosurgical out-patient clinic.

Dr. Adrianna Ranger, MD, FRCSC

Pediatric Neurosurgery, London Health Sciences Centre-Victoria Hospital

Dr. Ranger is a Guelph native who graduated from McMaster University medical school in 1993 and completed her residency training in neurology at Western in 1999. She did a year’s fellowship training in pediatric neurosurgery in Ottawa and has particular interest in critically head-injured children and the treatment of brain swelling from trauma.

Dr. Ranger is currently Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at the University of Western Ontario. She is one of the first female neurosurgeons in the country and the first to specialize in pediatric neurosurgery. Dr. Ranger won the prestigious Kenneth Shulman award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in 1999 for outstanding basic science research by a neurosurgical resident. She joined the London Health Sciences Centre faculty in 2000.

Dr. Ranger hopes to develop Canada’s first intrauterine surgery program at London Health Sciences Centre. If successful, London would become one of the few places in the world to treat neurological birth defects on the fetus before birth.

Ms. Andrea Neufeld

Andrea has been a pediatric nurse at the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario in London for the past 25 years, most of which has been spent as a Nurse Practitioner with the Pediatric Neurosurgery Team. In an earlier time, she taught Child Health Nursing at the University of Western Ontario and coordinated various research studies on pediatric kidney disease and childhood injuries and prevention for Health Canada.

Andrea received her Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from the University of Western Ontario. In 1998, she received her post-graduate certificate as a Tertiary Care Nurse Practitioner. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurses, and the RNAO Pediatric Nurse Interest Group. She was a prior recipient of the Clinical Practice Award of Excellence from Sigma Theta Tau International and a recent recipient of the Surgery Clerkship Nursing Award from the Schulich School of Medicine for her contribution to enhancing medical student learning at London Health Sciences Centre. Andrea works as a member of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Team and can be found in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She is actively involved in the clinical care and education of children and families with health concerns involving the central nervous system. Andrea is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Hydrocephalus Canada.

Dr. Michael Vassilyadi, MD, CM, MSc, FRCS (C), FACS, FAAP

Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, University of Ottawa, Division of Neurosurgery, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Dr. Vassilyadi completed medical school at McGill University and neurosurgical residency at the Montreal Neurological Institute. His Pediatric Neurosurgery fellowship was at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Between 1996 and 1999 he was a neurosurgical associate in the Department of Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa.

Between 1999 and 2000 he worked at the Children’s Hospital Medical Centre in Cincinnati where he was the neurosurgeon responsible for the epilepsy and spasticity programs. Thereafter, he returned to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and was promoted to Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics in 2003.

He is on the Editorial Board of the journal “Pediatric Neurosurgery” and is the Ottawa Chapter Director for the ThinkFirst Foundation of Canada. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, a Diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He performs all surgeries in Pediatric Neurosurgery and has published articles on neuroendoscopy, hydrocephalus, Chiari malformations, neurooncology, epilepsy, spasticity, cerebral vascular malformations, including a chapter in a major textbook of Pediatrc Neurosurgery. He is married to Anastasia Lyras and they have three children; Frank, Christal and Anthony. The whole family is involved with volunteer work at church, “Hike for CHEO” and promoting head injury prevention at schools and in the community.

Dr. Sandrine de Ribaupierre, MD, FRCSC

London Health Sciences Centre, Assistant Professor, Division of Neurosurgery at Western University

Dr. de Ribaupierre earned her MD at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. After a Neurosurgery Residency in Lausanne (Switzerland), she completed an Epilepsy Fellowship in the Fondation Rothschild in Paris (France), then a Paediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

A large proportion of paediatric neurosurgery involves the management of hydrocephalus, sometimes associated with spina bifida. She is involved in a multidisciplinary spina bifida clinic at Thames Valley Children Centre in London, Ontario. Part of her clinical research is in hydrocephalus.