Name: Joseph R. Linzey
Education: Undergraduate: Brigham Young University
Medical School: University of Michigan Medical School
Graduate School: University of Michigan School of Public Health
Residency: University of Michigan
When and why did you join the Congress of Neurological Surgeons?
I joined the CNS when I was a first-year medical student because of the opportunities to get introduced into the field of neurosurgery and to network. The CNS meetings are always full of great educational initiatives, superb speakers, and volunteer opportunities. Again, networking with leaders and giants in the field, as well as peers, is an invaluable aspect of joining the CNS.
What advice do you have for new CNS members on how they can best reap the benefits of CNS membership?
Go to the meetings. Talk to everyone. It’s amazing how open and down-to-earth so many of the leaders and giants in neurosurgery are. Try to find opportunities to pick their brains. And then start to build your own community of peer neurosurgeons. Volunteer for anything and everything and then follow through. Hard work and dependability are the currency of organized neurosurgery, so the sooner you begin to build that reputation, the sooner you’ll find yourself actively engaged in the CNS.
How did you get into the field of neurosurgery?
Coming into medical school, I knew I was passionate about neuroscience and that I wanted to be in the OR. Once I met the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Michigan, I knew I had found “my people.” I started working with Dr. Aditya S. Pandey, who was a phenomenal mentor for me throughout my medical school career. Once I started working with Dr. Pandey, I never looked back. There were never any other areas of medicine that could hold my attention and excitement like neurosurgery.
Describe your job in a tweet (i.e., 280 characters).
Neurosurgery resident at the University of Michigan, constantly learning and trying to help patients to the best of my ability, Rhoton studier, working toward being a dual-trained cerebrovascular neurosurgeon.
What is the biggest challenge you face on the job, and how are you managing it?
As a young resident, the biggest challenge I face is working to overcome the mountain of new information while learning the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of a healthcare system. The residents at the University of Michigan are unparalleled, so I’m learning from them every day and chipping away at the huge task in front of me. But that’s why people go into neurosurgery; it’s the desire to immerse oneself in a lifetime of knowledge and patients and medical/technological advancements. Joy in the journey; marathon, not a sprint.
What research, science, and/or technology do you see having the biggest impact on the future of neurosurgery?
I’m interested in cerebrovascular neurosurgery. Leaders in the microsurgical world continue to push and revolutionize what we can safely accomplish while directly visualizing brain structures. They’re working to preserve the art and technique needed to treat complex cranial pathologies. On the other end of the spectrum, endovascular advancements seem to be happening daily and are pushing the field forward in leaps and bounds. The ability to effectively treat ischemic stroke as a neurosurgical disease is field-changing and will truly transform a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon’s practice.
What are you proudest of in life or career?
In life, I’m most proud of my wife and kids. In what little career I’ve had so far, the ability to enter into this important field and help patients. There is nothing more noble than helping patients when they really need your help.
If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?
Leonardo da Vinci. There are few people in history who personify the “Renaissance man” so perfectly. I think it would be fascinating to have a conversation with him and try to get a sense for how his mind was able to grasp so many diverse topics with such strength, imagination, and ingenuity.