Course Directors:

Jamie S. Ullman, MD, FACS *

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Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine

Director of Neurotrauma,
Northwell Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery
North Shore University Hospital

Jamie S. Ullman, MD, FACS, joined Northwell Health in 2013 as director of neurotrauma at the Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital. She brings 25 years of specialized expertise in the surgical management of head and spinal cord injuries, as well as acute neurological conditions such as stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, hydrocephalus and brain tumors.

A founding member of the Northwell Health Concussion Program, Dr. Ullman leads a team of experts in traumatic brain injury. She also works closely with the neurocritical care team in the Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit at North Shore University Hospital to deliver comprehensive neurological services to the community.

Fully committed to being accessible for her patients, Dr. Ullman is always there to answer questions and address any concerns with kindness and compassion. She takes the time to go over every aspect of care, whether it s reviewing diagnostic films or explaining the thorough details of a procedure.

Research is also important to Dr. Ullman. She is actively involved in various neurosurgical clinical trials and studies including intracranial pressure monitoring and minimally invasive removal of blood clots in strokes. Her work has been highlighted in more than 60 medical publications.

A recognized leader in her field, Dr. Ullman has received numerous awards from national organizations, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. She was also nominated for Northwell s President s Award, recognized for her leadership in elevating the neurotrauma program at North Shore University Hospital, the first trauma center in downstate New York to receive level I verification from the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Ullman received her medical training from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. She completed a residency in neurosurgery and fellowship in neurosurgery critical care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and an additional fellowship in neurotrauma at the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

After completing her training, Dr. Ullman continued to pursue her passion for education. She has held faculty and leadership roles throughout her career, and currently serves as professor of neurosurgery at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. As a core faculty member of Northwell s neurosurgery residency program, she is committed to training the future leaders of brain surgery.

Dr. Ullman currently serves on the New York state trauma and advisory committees, and was the first woman to serve as an officer and vice president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. She also previously served as chair of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care.


Simone Betchen, MD, FACS *

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Neurosurgery Division
Maimonides Medical Center

Dr. Betchen is a board-certified neurosurgeon. She currently practices at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and is proud to have served the community there for a decade now. Dr. Betchen received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins Medical School. She did internship and neurosurgery residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. After completing a neurosurgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center she made the big move south to Brooklyn where she now treats a wide variety of clinical problems in both the brain and spine including tumors, hydrocephalus, chiari malformation, herniated disks, and spinal stenosis. Her research interests are in clinical outcomes and quality of life with neurosurgical treatment. Outside of the hospital she is married with two children.

Dr. Betchen is a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Women in Neurosurgery, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. She serves on the board of the Brooklyn-Long Island Chapter of the ACS. She joined AWS at the time of initiation into the college and is thankful she made that choice. Joining has expanded my circle of successful, strong, and dedicated female surgeons across specialties and has given me a better view as to what great heights are achievable. I am honored to be the membership committee chair and entrusted with building the membership of this wonderful organization.

* Planner


Najia El Abbadi headshot

Najia el Abbadi, MD

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Head of World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies; Professor and Department Head, Neurosurgery, Ibn Sina Hospital, Morocco; Professor, Paris Descartes University


Kathryn Ko, MD, MFA

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Dr. Ko, a self taught ambidexter, completed neurosurgery training at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City and earned a MFA from the Academy of Art University. During residency she also launched her complementary career in art by using the pulsed ruby laser to create medical holograms of the human brain in collaboration with Holographics, Inc. Ko regards art as a necessary continuation of her surgical practice. The operating theater is her studio; the treatment of the subject begins with the scalpel and ends with the brush.

OShea headshot

Joan O’Shea, MD, FAANS

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A board-certified neurosurgeon with fellowship training in orthopaedic spine surgery, Dr. O’Shea has dedicated her career to treating spinal disorders. She earned her M.D. at the SUNY Upstate Health Center in Syracuse. After a residency in neurological surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, Dr. O’Shea completed an additional orthopaedic spine surgery fellowship under the direction of Gloria Estefan’s spine surgeon, Dr. Michael Neuwirth, at the Hospital for Joint Disease and The Spine Institute of New York at Beth Israel Medical Center, both in New York City.

Before founding the Spine Institute of Southern New Jersey, Dr. O’Shea practiced neurosurgery at Cooper Trauma and Medical Center in Camden. She has been honored annually with the Top Doc award by Philadelphia and SJ magazines from 2002 thru present.

Dr. O’Shea annually teaches other neurosurgeons how to do spine surgery, as she has been the invited lecturer at the American Association of Neurologic Surgeons annual meetings since 1996 to teach other surgeons how to perform lumbosacral fusions. She is also active in the Medical Society of New Jersey and the Camden County Medical Society. She created the first outpatient spine surgical center in Southern New Jersey, The South Jersey Surgical Center in Mt. Laurel, NJ, in 2005, which boasts lower infection rates and greater patient satisfaction in spinal surgeon outcomes. She continues to move the field of spinal surgery forward by performing cervical artificial disc replacements and minimally invasive lumbar fusions.

Dr. O’Shea has been honored as a Top Doc by Philadelphia Magazine and SJ Magazine from 2002-2018.

Hongyan Jenny Zou, MD, PhD

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Hongyan Jenny Zou, Ph.D., M.D. is an associate professor with tenure at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Zou is a physician scientist and an academic neurosurgeon, who heads a research laboratory investigating signaling pathways and epigenetic mechanisms of axon regeneration and neuroimmunity for neural repair in CNS injury. Dr. Zou graduated with a PhD from Cornell University/Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute and an MD from Stanford University.

She completed neurosurgical residency at Stanford, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Genentech under Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne. Her laboratory at Mount Sinai combines mouse genetics, animal models, 3D organoid cultures, and genome-wide approaches to study neurodevelopment and neural stem cell biology under physiological and pathological conditions.

Recently, she has also teamed up with biomechanical engineers and tumor biologists to study fundamental biology of tumor dormancy and tumor microenvironment in order to tackle glioblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumor.

Planning Committee Members


Martina Stippler, MD

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Clinical Interests
Complex spine surgery
Minimally invasive spine surgery
Cervical disc replacement
Brain and spinal tumor surgery
Endoscopic pituitary surgery

Board Certifications
American Board of Neurological Surgery

Academic Titles
Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School

Ami B. Raval, MD

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Chief resident
Tufts-New England Medical Center

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Tufts-New England Medical Center

North Shore University Hospital

Staten Island University Hospital

Isabelle Germano, MD, MBA, FACS

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Neurosurgery PROFESSOR
Oncological Sciences PROFESSOR

Cancer (Oncology)


Hospital Affiliations
Mount Sinai Beth Israel
The Mount Sinai Hospital
Mount Sinai Morningside
Mount Sinai West

Susan C. Pannullo, MD, FAANS

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Dr. Pannullo is the Director of Neurosurgical Radiosurgery and Neuro-oncology at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center. Both a neurosurgeon and a neuro-oncologist, Dr. Pannullo is board-certified in neurology and neurological surgery, is fellowship trained in neuro-oncology, and has completed specialty training in stereotactic radiosurgery. She is one of the few neurosurgeons in the world with a neurosurgical practice focused only on stereotactic radiosurgery, and one of the few neurosurgeons in the country with access to three different technologies — Novalis, Gamma Knife and CyberKnife — for stereotactic radiosurgery procedures. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Pannullo serves in leadership positions in several important institutional and national organizations, including the Weill Cornell Institutional Review Board, the National Brain Tumor Society, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the Brain Tumor Foundation.

Read about some of Dr. Pannullo’s patients:
Saving Face
Nobody Else Understood

Dr. Pannullo received her undergraduate degree with honors in anthropology from Cornell University in 1983 and her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1987. Following a medicine internship at Harvard-Beth Israel Medical Center, she completed a neurology residency at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in 1991. From 1991 to 1992, Dr. Pannullo was an American Cancer Society Fellow in Neuro-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She then completed a second residency in neurological surgery at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1997, becoming the program’s first female graduate.

Dr. Pannullo’s research portfolio has included clinical studies at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicineand Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as well as laboratory research at the National Institutes of Health. In the laboratory, Dr. Pannullo collaborates with faculty and students in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University’s Ithaca, New York, campus to develop novel brain tumor therapies and radiosurgical technologies.

Kelly Wexlar

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Director of Service Line Development,
Northwell Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery


Flora Sahlman

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Project Manager, Lenox Hill Neurosurgery


Shiela Smith, RPA-C

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Neurosurgery Division,
Maimonides Medical Center