February 03, 2014

Samer Elbabaa Invested As Reinert Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery

Posing for a photo after the investiture, are, from left, Philip Alderson, M.D., William Kauffman, Samer Elbabaa, M.D, Jeff Fowler, and Paul Stark, S.J.  

Samer K. Elbabaa, M.D., associate professor of neurological surgery at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, has been named the Reinert Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Elbabaa is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center and an attending neurosurgeon at Saint Louis University Hospital. His clinical practice focuses on all aspects of general and sub-specialized pediatric neurosurgery, with particular interest in microsurgery for pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors, minimally invasive endoscopic treatment of hydrocephalus, pediatric craniofacial surgery, skull-base surgery, fetal repair of myelomeningocele and cranio-cervical junction anomalies.

The Reinert Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery honors two brothers who both played significant roles in the development of SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Rev. Paul C. Reinert, S.J., was president of Saint Louis University from 1949 to 1974. SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital was established and affiliated with the University’s medical school under his leadership. Rev. James A. Reinert, S.J., was chaplain at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital from 1973 until his death in 1987 and was the hospital’s first director of pastoral care.

The Reinert Endowed Chair has been fully funded by an anonymous donor and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, enabling the hospital and Saint Louis University School of Medicine to enhance the care of hundreds of Midwestern children each year by funding the scholarly work of an outstanding neurosurgeon.

Elbabaa, a graduate of the medical school at the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan, completed an internship in general surgery and a six-year residency in neurological surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before undertaking a two-year clinical fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at The Cleveland Clinic.

He began his career as an assistant professor of neurological surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, where he practiced at Arkansas Children's Hospital as an attending pediatric neurosurgeon and co-director of the children's brain tumor clinic. During his practice at UAMS, he was closely mentored by M. Gazi Yaşargil, M.D., who is often considered the father of microneurosurgery, as well as O. Al-Mefty, M.D., a world-renowned pioneer in skull-base surgery.

Elbabaa came to SLU in July 2011 to lead the pediatric neurosurgery program, which has continued to grow under his leadership. Since his arrival, he has collaborated with maternal-fetal medicine and pediatric surgery teams on advancing and promoting a pioneering fetal in-utero microneurosurgery for fetuses with myelomeningocele (spina bifida).

Elbabaa is a frequent contributor to numerous peer-reviewed journals and scientific textbooks and is regularly asked to be a visiting professor, guest lecturer and conference speaker at scientific conferences, surgical training courses, symposia and universities worldwide. He participates in multiple active research projects with students, neurosurgical residents and visiting research fellows. He is actively involved in lecturing and training American and international neurosurgeons at multiple annual hands-on courses hosted by PASE at Saint Louis University.

Elbabaa is the recipient of the 2013 Cardinal Glennon St. Luke's Faithful Healer Award and the 2013 Research Support Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons /Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Elbabaa, his wife Dina M. Rabata, and their children Kamal and Natalie live in St. Louis.

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