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Women in Neurosurgery

Frances K. Conley, MD

Who hasn’t heard of Frances Conley, MD? Having been a pioneering force in the recognition of the problems women pursuing medical careers face, she has put her love for her profession and personal ethics above personal gain. She has recently written a book that details the struggles she has endured to survive in her beloved profession as an academic neurosurgeon. Well worth reading, Walking Out on the Boys is a riviting account of her departure in 1991 and return to acaemic neurosurgery practice at Stanford University as the first tenured female professor of Neurosurgery.

Dr. Frances Conley was born in Palo Alto, California. She attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and Stanford University from which she graduated in 1962, receiving a B.A. with distinction in biology. In 1966, Dr. Conley graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine, having received the Graduate Division Award in 1964-65. In 1975, Dr. Conley completed a residency in neurological surgery at Stanford, having also spent time training in neuropathology and neurology, the latter of which included a clerkship at the National Hospital, Queens Square in London, England. In 1986, she received an M.S. in Management from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

In 1977, Dr. Conley became the fifth woman to be board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. From 1975 to the present, she has been Chief of the Section of Neurosurgery at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Medical Center. In 1988, she was appointed Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery) at Stanford University School of Medicine. In 1992, she received the Kaiser Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching.

Walking Out on the BoysDr. Conley has extensive research interests and has conducted highly productive laboratory and clinical research on a variety of neurological topics. She has published over 70 articles and over 50 abstracts, letters and book reviews. An experienced speaker, Dr. Conley has presented nearly 60 papers at neurosurgical meetings. Her current research interests concern the immunology of brain tumors and spinal instrumentation. She is on the editorial boards of Neurosurgery and American Family Physician.

Dr. Conley has held numerous leadership positions in her career. At Stanford, she has served actively on the Medical Faculty Senate and the Senate of the Academic Council. She serves on the Joint Neurosurgical Committee on Drugs and Devices. She has served as Chairman of Public Relations for both the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and is on the Program Planning Committee of the Joint Section on Tumors.

Louise Eisenhardt, MD

As a right hand to Harvey Cushing, MD, Louise Eisenhardt, MD was the first neuropathologist and kept records on all of his surgical pathology specimens.

Ann Marie Flannery, MD

Rarely in life do you meet a person whose hard work, determination, ambition and willingness to help others profoundly affects your life

Ruth Kerr Jakoby, MD

Dr. Ruth Kerr Jakoby was born in Palo Alto, California. She attended Barnard College of Columbia University, receiving her B.A. in 1949.

Joan Venes, MD

Dr. Joan Venes attended Downstate Medical Center of the State University of New York, graduating in 1966.