For the further training of individuals in neurosurgery: a history of the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship

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The William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is an annual award given by the AANS and administered by the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF). Named after its benefactor, Dr. William Van Wagenen, the fellowship continues his legacy of mentorship and innovation. As the premier research award for young neurosurgeons, it has provided a foundation for career development for many thought leaders in the field. The award was created in the spirit of Van Wagenen’s belief in collaboration with other institutions as a means of refining neurosurgical technique, creating new research initiatives, and improving patient outcomes. Van Wagenen’s commitment was informed by his early experiences in neurosurgery with his mentor Dr. Harvey Cushing, who helped to fund Van Wagenen’s scientific endeavors in Europe. This journey catalyzed Van Wagenen’s lifelong commitment to mentorship, which is exemplified by his instrumental role in the creation of the Harvey Cushing Society, now the AANS. Over the last 50 years, the recipients of this award have used the endowment to lay the groundwork for many scientific and technical innovations in neurosurgery. The fellowship remains an unmatched opportunity to explore new lines of investigation, foster academic and research goals, incorporate new technology and skills into American neurosurgical practice, and motivate young neurosurgeons to transform the field. The legacy of mentorship, scientific inquiry, and clinical excellence personified by Cushing and Van Wagenen is memorialized in the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship.

ABBREVIATIONS NREF = Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation.

Article Information

Correspondence Tyler Schmidt: University of Rochester, NY.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online April 27, 2018; DOI: 10.3171/2017.10.JNS17999.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



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    Photograph of Van Wagenen from the 1918 Cornell University yearbook. Image courtesy of the Van Wagenen family.

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    Photograph of Van Wagenen in the Spielmeyer laboratory in Munich. Dr. Van Wagenen is seated in the center. Image courtesy of the Van Wagenen family.

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    Page from Dr. Van Wagenen’s will detailing the formation of the endowment that would become the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship. Image courtesy of the Van Wagenen family.

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    Frank P. Smith. Steward of the Van Wagenen Fellowship. Image courtesy of the Department of Neurosurgery at University of Rochester.





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