Honorary Lecturer

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Dr. Robert Dempsey is the Chairman and Manucher J. Javid Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He has led the cerebrovascular team at the University of Wisconsin and co-directs the stroke program at that institution since coming to Madison in 1995.  He maintains a daily clinical practice of neurosurgery, primarily in operative cranial cases.  His research activities have been considerable directing multiple laboratories with over 200 refereed publications and 75 grants.  Dr. Dempsey presently directs two separate NIH R01-funded research laboratories in cerebrovascular disorders.  He has been a principal investigator of grants from the National Institutes of Health, Veterans Administration, and the American Heart Association, leading a group of neurosurgeons and scientists dedicated to improving patient care.  In 2007 he was named principal editor for basic science of Neurosurgery, the largest circulation medical journal in the field.  He has a great love of teaching which has been incorporated into all his clinical academic and humanitarian efforts.  He has twice been given the annual teaching award by the students at the University of Wisconsin and as a co-director of the Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons (RUNN), he has mentored a generation of academic neurosurgeons in establishing their own projects to improve patient care by translating science to the clinics.  In recognition of this work, the AANS/CNS Joint Section of has named their annual national resident research award for neurosurgery, the Robert J. Dempsey Research Award for cerebrovascular neurosurgery. 

Dr. Dempsey’s humanitarian projects are where education and international work come together in much of his international projects.  For the past 20 years, he has been active in service and educational projects throughout the world and has been instrumental in service projects including the Medical Mission Ecuador, working to rebuild the health care system and education for the South/Central portion of that country.  Dr. Dempsey was recognized for his contributions in this arena by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons with their presentation to him of their Humanitarian Award.  He was recently awarded the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Society of Neurological Surgeons which noted Dr. Dempsey’s lifetime commitment to service and education in neurosurgery, both nationally and internationally in training young neurosurgeons in Central and South America and Africa.  Dr. Dempsey is a Past-President of the Society and was active in the reorganization of graduate medical education for United States neurosurgeons during his time on the executive committee of that organization.  He now is the Chair of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery where he is active in helping to establish training of neurosurgeons within developing countries throughout the world.  This work continues both in organizational and in personal service, an activity which often includes his family members and extends from surgical procedures, supplies of equipment, to teaching both didactically and in the operating rooms throughout the world in an attempt to provide better neurosurgical care through support of teaching, infrastructure and service.