Issam A. Awad

2001, San Diego

Issam Abdullah Awad was born in Beirut, Lebanon September 23, 1956 to a family with roots tracing to the 15th century. His childhood was shattered by his father’s passing when he was 11 years old but he was raised by a devoted mother and siblings with solid family ties, strong religious values and rigorous academic aspirations. He completed his preparatory education at the famous College de la Sagesse in Beirut, excelling in French and Eastern literature and philosophy, distinguishing himself in mathematics and experimental sciences, and receiving the baccalaureate degree as class valedictorian at the age of 17. Dr Awad traveled to the United States to pursue his university education in the care of an aunt and cousins. He received the Bachelor or Sciences degree in Biochemistry (Summa Cum Laude) in 1976, Master of Sciences degree in Biochemistry in 1979, and Doctor of Medicine degree in 1980, all from Loma Linda University in California. He graduated first in his medical school class and received the “Student Investigator of the Year” Award, the Griggs Medical Scholarship Award, and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. While at Loma Linda, Dr Awad decided on a career in neurosurgery following exposure to the service under Professor George Austin.

Dr Awad completed his residency training in neurological surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in 1985 under the mentorship of Joseph Hahn and John Little, including neurotraumatology training at the Head and Spinal Injury Unit of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1983 with the late Professor J. Douglas Miller, and received the Neuroscience Resident Research Prize (1983), and the Crile Traveling Fellowship (1985). He pursued fellowship training in neurovascular surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona (1985-1986) and was a full-time faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine (1986-1987). In 1987 he returned to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation where he was Head of the Section of Epilepsy Surgery (1988-1992), Head of the Section of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Surgical Director of the Cerebrovascular Center (1990-1993), and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery (1991-1993). In 1993, Dr Awad joined the Faculty of Yale University School of Medicine as Director of the Neurovascular Surgery Program and the Yale Cerebrovascular Center. In 1994, he was promoted to Professor of Neurosurgery with continuing appointment. He has received an Honorary Master of Arts degree from Yale University, and in 1997 he was appointed to the endowed Nixdorff-German Professor Chair in Neurosurgery. In January 2001 Dr Awad relocated to the University of Colorado School of Medicine as the Ogsbury-Kindt Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Pathology, and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, with an ambitious strategic plan to develop the Department into a premier center for neurosurgical innovation, research, community outreach and education.

Dr Awad has been active in the leadership of numerous professional and learned societies, serving on the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) since 1993, the Executive Council of the American Stroke Association and the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons. He spearheaded numerous international outreach initiatives, outcomes assessment projects, chaired the CNS Education Committee including development the first medical student curriculum guidelines for neurological surgery, and introduced numerous education and annual meeting innovations. He worked for more than a decade on the Executive Council of the AANS/CNS joint Section on Cerebrovascular Surgery, serving as membership chairman, secretary and treasurer, initiating the highly successful section annual meeting, and most recently serving as Section Chairman in 2000-2001. As 51st President of the CNS he has overseen the consolidation of infrastructure, enhancement of membership services, integration of novel information and technology, and international liaison and development activities. His leadership has emphasized dialogue and coordination among professional organizations serving our discipline, education, internationalism and the articulation of the value and values of neurosurgery.

Dr Awad directs the course Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons (RUNN) at the Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and serves on several Editorial Boards. He is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of hemorrhagic stroke, intracranial aneurysms, vascular malformations, carotid surgery and neuro-critical care. He has been cited in Who's Who and Best Doctors of America, and has been an invited Nominator for the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. He has authored over 250 scientific papers and book chapters, edited eleven books and presented over 300 papers and lectures at major meetings and symposia. He has been a visiting professor at numerous institutions, including the Rasmussen Professor at the Montreal Neurologic Institute, The Wilkins Professor at the University of Oklahoma, the Tindall Distinguished Professor at Emory University and the Distinguished Alumnus Lecturer at the Cleveland Clinic. His fundamental contributions include the characterization of subcortical ischemic lesions in the aged, advances in the understanding of the natural history and biologic behavior of cerebral vascular malformations, outcome assessment in neurovascular and epilepsy surgery, and the compilation of the first scholarly treatise on philosophy of neurological surgery. He is current recipient of a National Institutes of Health Midcareer Development Award in Patient-Oriented Research.

In true adherence to the values that have shaped his life, Issam Awad remains dedicated to professional and scientific excellence in the service of mankind and to cultural integration in the broadest sense. He met his lifelong partner Catherine while in Cleveland, and they have been married for16 years. Along with their12 year old son Armand, they enjoy reading, music, biking, travel, and the friendship of colleagues and their families throughout the world.