Peter J. Jannetta

1996, Montreal

Peter Joseph Jannetta, MD, DSc(hon), FACS, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey and York, Pennsylvania. He attended the University of Pennsylvania where he received both the AB and MD degrees, Achievement came early - he was a high school All American swimmer and president of his class at University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Jannetta trained first in general surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, but saw the light, and after three years as an NIH Fellow in neurophysiology, he undertook training in neurological surgery at UCLA, which he completed in 1966. His first academic appointment in neurological surgery was as associate professor and chief of the division of neurological surgery at Louisiana State University. In 1971, he became professor and chief of the division of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. The division became a department in 1973. He held the Francis Sargent Cheever distinguished professorship at the University of Pittsburgh from 1976 to 1978. In 1989, Washington and Jefferson College granted him the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa. In 1992, he was honored by becoming the first Walter Dandy Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Jannetta is a prolific contributor to scientific literature; he has given invited lectures and has been visiting professor at institutions throughout the world. His seminal contributions in the understanding and treatment of vascular compression syndromes of the brainstem and cranial nerves are internationally known. At the University of Pittsburgh he has created one of the most outstanding schools of neurological surgery in the world. He has fostered an environment of creativity that has produced several of the major advances in neurosurgery in the past two decades. Five of the 17 Van Wagenen Fellows named since 1980 have trained with Dr. Jannetta.

Dr. Jannetta is a musician at heart, schooled on the piano but mastering the tenor banjo, skills honed in the jazz clubs of New Orleans. He has an eclectic interest in the arts and is currently applying some of his surgical skills to sculpting in plaster. He is the proud father of six children: two physicians, two international business executives, a historian and an actor. His wife, Diana, is an art collector and critic.

Dr. Jannetta's charismatic personality and wide ranging skills have brought him recognition outside of neurosurgery. In 1995 and 1996, he was Secretary of Health for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has selected as Man of the Year in the Sciences by Vectors/Pittsburgh in 1990 and elected to membership in the Horatio Alger Association in that year as well.

Peter Jannetta is a unique, innovative and charismatic neurosurgeon and educator. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons is privileged to have him as the 1996 Honored Guest.