Robert Dempsey, MD, chairman of neurosurgery in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, is the third recipient of the national society’s Medical Student Teaching Award.
The world’s oldest neurosurgery organization and the primary academic society in the field cited Dempsey for his lifelong teaching including his stewardship of its annual Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons (RUNN) course and his humanitarian work of more than 25 years of training a generation of physicians in the developing world.
At the UW, Dempsey is a three-time winner of Clinical Teaching Awards as voted by the students. He has been inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society in 2014 and in 2015 was named the “Best Clinical Teacher Across the Statewide Campuses” for outstanding teaching and mentorship for UW students.
“The fact that a subspecialist was even considered for this award is quite remarkable,’’ the SNS noted. “The fact that a neurosurgeon won the award by a vote of the medical school classes is a testament to Dr. Dempsey’s dedication to medical students.”
In addition to his clinical practice, Dempsey has multiple research projects with a focus on cerebral ischemia, vascular cognitive decline, and repair of the injured brain. He has more than 240 refereed publications and over 80 research grants.
In 2014, Dempsey was also honored by SNS with its “Distinguished Service Award” for a lifetime of service to national and international medical education.
The award noted Dempsey’s decades of teaching trips in Central and South America and Africa. As chairman of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery, Dempsey and his entire family have participated in medical teaching throughout the world leading to self-sustaining neurosurgery programs in those countries. He remains active in the establishment and maintenance of neurosurgical training programs in the developing world, especially the program in East Africa.
Dempsey has been the Manucher J. Javid Professor and Chairman of Neurological Surgery at UW-Madison since 1995. His research has been NIH-funded for more than 30 years. He has served on numerous societies, committees, and review organizations including the executive committees of the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association, the Joint Section of Cerebrovascular Surgery of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, which gave him its “Humanitarian Award” and The Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The Joint Section has also honored him by naming an annual resident research grant in his name, the “Robert J Dempsey, M.D. Cerebrovascular Research Award.”