Alumni

Fernando G. Diaz, MD, PhD, 1973-1978

Dr. Fernando Diaz

As Dr. Diaz recalls the time he spent as a resident in the Neurosurgery Department, he describes several principles he learned at the U that helped support the foundation of his distinguished career.

Mentorship
“When I came to the University of Minnesota, I had the great fortune to be mentored by three people who made my life very strong,” he said. “First, Dr. Lyle French, who was then the vice president of the University and was a phenomenal individual and role model. Second, Dr. Shelley Chou who was a brilliant teacher and taught me surgical technique and how to be curious and untiring. The person I worked with most closely, however, was Dr. James Ausman, who taught me cerebrovascular surgery. I specialized in that for the first 20 years of my career.”

The notion of mentorship was carried into his own career. “At the end of my ten years as Neurosurgery Department Chair at Wayne State University in Detroit, I had trained many younger neurosurgeons, one of whom became an endovascular neurosurgeon,” Dr. Diaz said. “I knew it was only a matter of time – the cerebrovascular surgery I was doing was a dying thing. I wanted one of my guys to become the leader, and now, he has the best group of endovascular neurosurgeons in Michigan.”

Dr. Diaz working with students in Manila

Dr. Diaz (pictured here working with students in Manila) attributes his ability to evolve to Dr. Chou’s mentorship. “When I became program chairman at Wayne State and then began running the residency program, I moved more into spine surgery, which was something I learned from Dr. Chou,” he said. “He had a great deal of interest in tuberculosis of the spine, and I worked with him on spinal reconstructions for Pott’s Disease.” That condition is also known as tuberculosis spondylitis, a rare disease of the spine that is typically caused by an extraspinal infection.

Mentorship isn’t just a principle in Dr. Diaz’s professional life. “Right now, my youngest son is 16 so I’m his Uber driver,” he said, laughing. “What I enjoy most is the time I spend with him in the car, talking and bonding. I listen to what matters to him and promote areas of interest he doesn’t quite see he has.”

Aspiration
Although aspiring to great things probably came naturally to Dr. Diaz, he credits Dr. French with instilling that in him during his residency. As a result, Dr. Diaz has chaired two neurosurgery departments, not only at Wayne State University but also at Oakland University School of Medicine and William Beaumont Hospitals, both in Detroit. He built up both of their residency programs and the program at Oakland University is now fully accredited and will accept one resident a year.

Making another aspirational career move, Dr. Diaz founded the Michigan Head and Spine Institute in 1990, which he describes as a mixture of academic and private practice. “I’m restless and have to burn all the time, so I have more degrees than a thermometer,” he quipped. One of those degrees helped him put together the business infrastructure for the Institute. “We cover the southeast portion of Detroit,” he said. “We have 25 providers at several hospitals, including Beaumont.”

Little by little, Dr. Diaz has whittled his responsibilities at the Institute down to almost nothing. “I have ended up becoming a robotic spine, minimally invasive surgeon,” he said.

Excellence and compassion
Another principle that Dr. Diaz learned at the University of Minnesota was to always push for excellence. “I got my PhD with that idea in mind and transferred that philosophy to Wayne State,” he said. “I had 10 residents graduate with PhDs – it was mandatory. We will eventually require that at Oakland.”

Dr. Diaz operating in a military hospital

Dr. Diaz (pictured here working in a military hospital) has excelled in a completely different part of his many lives. He spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel. “I ended up going to the Iraq War, which gave me an opportunity to meet many fascinating people,” he said.

His experience in the Air Force broadened Dr. Diaz’s world view and was part of what inspired him to participate in multiple neurosurgical missions around the globe. “I’ve taught in all of Latin America, speak five languages, and have done surgery in Spain, France, Italy, China, Indonesia, Cyprus, and most of Latin America, including Brazil and Argentina,” he said. “I love teaching and helping people.”

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Former Residents

2021

Adam Khan

Adam Khan, MD
2014–2021

Jack Leschke

Jack Leschke, MD
2014-2021

 

2020

David Darrow

David Darrow, MD, MPH
2013–2020

Coridon Quinn

Coridon Quinn, MD
2013-2020

 

2019

Molly Hubbard, MD

Molly Hubbard, MD
2012–2019
(deceased 1-9-2020)

Joshua Lim, MD

Joshua Lim, MD
2012-2019

 

2018

Amit Goyal, MD

Amit Goyal, MD
2011–2018

Akshay Gupte, MD

Akshay Gupte, MD
2011-2018

 

2017

Paramita Das, MD

Paramita Das, MD
2011–2017

Catherine Miller, MD

Catherine Miller, MD
2011-2017

 

2016

Ciro Vasquez, MD

Ciro Vasquez, MD
2010–2016

Zoe Zhang, MD

Zoe Zhang, MD
2010–2016

 

2015

Daraspreet Kainth, MD

Daraspreet Kainth, MD
2009–2015

Dino Terzic, MD

Dino Terzic, MD
2009-2015

 

2014

Kristin Jones, MD

Kristin Jones, MD
2012-2014

Farhan Siddiq, MD

Farhan Siddiq, MD
2008-2014

 

2013

Rabia Qaiser, MD

Rabia Qaiser, MD
2008-2013

Haejoe Park, MD

Haejoe Park, MD
2008-2013

 

2012

Fotis Souslian, MD

Fotis Souslian, MD
2007-2012

Efkan Colpan, MD

Efkan Colpan, MD
2009-2012

 

2011

Christopher Roark, MD

Christopher Roark, MD
2006-2011

 

2010

Greg Sher, MD, MPH

Greg Sher, MD, MPH
2005-2010

Kyle Uittenbogaard, MD

Kyle Uittenbogaard, MD
2005-2010

Praveen Baimeedi, MD

Praveen Baimeedi, MD
2006-2010

 

2009

Joel Ulloth, MD

Joel Ulloth, MD
2004-2009

 

2008

Hart P. Garner, MD

Hart P. Garner, MD
2003-2008

 

2007

John Drygas, MD, MS

John Drygas, MD, MS
2002-2007

Eun Kyung (Michelle) Won, MD

Eun Kyung (Michelle) Won, MD
2002-2007

 

2006

Adam O. Hebb, MD

Adam O. Hebb, MD
2001-2006

Charles R. Watts, MD, PhD

Charles R. Watts, MD, PhD
2001-2006

 

2005

Edward Rustamzadeh, MD, PhD

Edward Rustamzadeh, MD, PhD
2000-2005

 

2004

Ray M. Chu, MD

Ray M. Chu, MD
1999-2004

Ramachandra P. Tummala, MD

Ramachandra P. Tummala, MD
1999-2004

Sabrina M. Walski-Easton, MD

Sabrina M. Walski-Easton, MD
1999-2004

 

2003

Patrick C. Graupman, MD

Patrick C. Graupman, MD
1998-2003

 

2002

Lars Anker, MD

Lars Anker, MD
1997-2002

Khalid Sethi, MD

Khalid Sethi, MD
1997-2002

 

2001

Darren S. Lovick, MD

Darren S. Lovick, MD
1996-2001

Margaret A. Wallenfriedman, MD, PhD

Margaret
Wallen-
friedman,
MD, PhD
1995-2001

 

2000

Walter C. Jean, MD

Walter C. Jean, MD
1994-2000

Michael P. McCue, MD, ScD

Michael P. McCue, MD, ScD
1994-2000

Alejandro Mendez, MD

Alejandro Mendez, MD
1994-1999

 

1998

Walter E. Galicich, MD

Walter E. Galicich, MD
1993-1998

Joel D. Seigel, MD

Joel D. Seigel, MD
1993-1998

Bradley E. Weprin, MD

Bradley E. Weprin, MD
1993-1998

 

1997

Jerone D. Kennedy, MD

Jerone D. Kennedy, MD
1991-1997

Eric S. Nussbaum, MD

Eric S. Nussbaum, MD
1992-1997

Abhay Sanan, MD

Abhay Sanan, MD
1992-1997

 

1996

Jeffrey P. Blount, MD

Jeffrey P. Blount, MD
1990-1996

Eric P. Flores, MD

Eric P. Flores, MD
1992-1996

Edison P. McDaniels, MD

Edison P. McDaniels, MD
1991-1996

 

1995

Todd Y. Nida, MD

Todd Y. Nida, MD
1989-1995

 

1994

John C. Mullan, MD

John C. Mullan, MD
1988-1994

Leslie A. Sebring, MD, PhD

Leslie A. Sebring, MD, PhD
1991-1994

 

1993

Paul J. Camarata, MD

Paul J. Camarata, MD
1987-1993

Jacques J. Morcos, MD

Jacques J. Morcos, MD
1990-1993

Mitesh V. Shah, MD

Mitesh V. Shah, MD
1988-1993

 

1992

Young Chung, MD

Young Chung, MD
1987-1992

Dennis Y.K. Wen, MD

Dennis Y.K. Wen, MD
1987-1992

 

1991

William F. Ganz, MD

William F. Ganz, MD
1986-1991

Frank L. Genovese, MD

Frank L. Genovese, MD
1986-1991

 

1990

Christine M. Cox, MD

Christine M. Cox, MD
1985-1990 (deceased 2/24/2019)

 

1989

Anthony G. Bottini, MD

Anthony G. Bottini, MD
1984-1989
 
1988

Thomas A. Bergman, MD

Thomas A. Bergman, MD
1983-1988

Mary E. Dunn, MD

Mary E. Dunn, MD
1983-1988

 

1987

H. Dennis Mollman, MD, PhD

H. Dennis Mollman, MD, PhD
1982-1987

S. David Moss, MD

S. David Moss, MD
1982-1987

Aizik L. Wolf, MD

Aizik L. Wolf, MD
1982-1987

 

1986

Edward G. Hames III, MD, PhD

Edward G. Hames III, MD, PhD
1981-1986

 

1985

J. Bob Blacklock, MD

J. Bob Blacklock, MD
1980-1985

Gary L. Rea, MD, PhD

Gary L. Rea, MD, PhD
1979-1985

 

1983

Voravut Chanyavanich, MD

Voravut Chanyavanich, MD
1978-1983

Terry W. Hood, MD

Terry W. Hood, MD
1978-1983

Petr O. Ruzicka, MD

Petr O. Ruzicka, MD
1978-1983

 

1982

John C. Godersky, MD

John C. Godersky, MD
1977-1982

Richard P. Moser, MD

Richard P. Moser, MD
1977-1982

Mahmoud G. Nagib, MD

Mahmoud G. Nagib, MD
1977-1982

 

1981

Alexa I. Canady, MD

Alexa I. Canady, MD
1976-1981

Dennis L. Shubert, MD, PhD

Dennis L. Shubert, MD, PhD
1977-1981

 

1980

John R. Mawk, MD

John R. Mawk, MD
1975-1980

 

1979

W. H. Druckemiller, Jr., MD

W. H. Druckemiller, Jr., MD
1974-1979

Robert D. Harris, MD, PhD

Robert D. Harris, MD, PhD
1974-1979

 

1978

Daniel B. Ahlberg, MD

Daniel B. Ahlberg, MD
1971-1972; 1974-1978

Fernando G. Diaz, MD, PhD

Fernando G. Diaz, MD, PhD
1973-1978

 

1977

Robert G. Clubb, MD

Robert G. Clubb, MD
1972-1977

Kenneth J. Murray, MD, PhD

Kenneth J. Murray, MD, PhD
1973-1979

Andrew J.K. Smith, MD, PhD

Andrew J.K. Smith, MD, PhD
1972-1977

 

1976

Richard S. Gregory, MD

Richard S. Gregory, MD
1967-1970; 1973-1977

 

1975

George S. Allen, MD, PhD

George S. Allen, MD, PhD
1970-1975

Phudhiphorn Thienprasit, MD, PhD

Phudhiphorn Thienprasit, MD, PhD
1970-1975

 

1974

Harry O. Cole, MD

Harry O. Cole, MD
1969-1974

Humberto Ortiz-Suarez, MD, PhD

Humberto Ortiz-Suarez, MD, PhD
1969-1974

Gaylan L. Rockswold, MD, PhD

Gaylan L. Rockswold, MD, PhD
1969-1974

 

1973

Willis E. Brown, MD

Willis E. Brown, MD
1968-1973

Norval M. Simms, MD

Norval M. Simms, MD
1968-1973
Deceased 7/24/1975

 

1972

James I. Ausman, MD, PhD

James I. Ausman, MD, PhD
1964-1965; 1969-1972

Kil Soo Choi, MD

Kil Soo Choi, MD
1970-1972

Harry M. Rogers, MD

Harry M. Rogers, MD
1967-1972

 

1971

Robert E. Maxwell, MD, PhD

Robert E. Maxwell, MD, PhD
1966-1971
Deceased 7-28-22

Anavankot Mohandas, MD

Anavankot Mohandas, MD
1966-1971

 

1970

David Danoff, MD

David Danoff, MD
1965-1970

 

1969

John L. Seymour, MD

John L. Seymour, MD
1965-1969

Donald L. Erickson, MD

Donald L. Erickson, MD
1964-1969

 

1968

Edward L. Seljeskog, MD, PhD

Edward L. Seljeskog, MD, PhD
1963-1968 (deceased 3/16/22)

John P. Wissinger, MD

John P. Wissinger, MD
1963-1968

 

1967

Michael E. Carey, MD

Michael E. Carey, MD
1962-1967

 

1965

John Cleary, MD, PhD

John Cleary, MD, PhD
1965

Fernando G. Diaz, MD, PhD

Fernando Ruiz Garcia, MD
1964-1965

Donlin M. Long, MD, PhD

Donlin M. Long, MD, PhD
1960-1965

 

1964

Warren Boop, MD

Warren Boop, MD
1960-1964

August W. Geise, MD

August W. Geise, MD
1960-1964
Deceased 1/14/1997

 

1963

Joseph H. Galicich, MD

Joseph H. Galicich, MD
1958-1963

John Serbu, MD

John Serbu, MD
1959-1963
Deceased 12/17/1999

 

1962

Erich S. Wisiol, MD

Erich S. Wisiol, MD
1958-1962
Deceased 11/21/2004

 

1961

Jim L. Story, MD

Jim L. Story, MD
1956-1961

Jeong Wha Chu, MD

Jeong Wha Chu, MD
1959-1961

Max E. Zarling, MD

Max E. Zarling, MD
1957-1961

 

1960

Lucien R. Hodges, MD

Lucien R. Hodges, MD
1956-1960
Deceased 6/19/2000

 

1959

Richard H. Strassburger, MD

Richard H. Strassburger, MD
1956-1959

 

1957

Bo Sung Sim, MD

Bo Sung Sim, MD
1955-1957

Ralph L. Suechtin, MD

Ralph L. Suechtin, MD
1953-1957

James E. McIntosch, MD

James E. McIntosch, MD
1953-1957

 

1956

Howard Chandler, MD

Howard Chandler, MD
1952-1956

Purdue L. Gould, MD

Purdue L. Gould, MD
1952-1956
Deceased 8/24/2011

 

1955

Shelley N. Chou, MD, PhD

Shelley N. Chou, MD, PhD
1950-1955
Deceased 7/21/2001

William S. Ogle, MD

William S. Ogle, MD
1954-1955

 

1954

David R. Johnson, MD

David R. Johnson, MD
1948-1954
Deceased 11/4/2005

 

1953

Carrel M. Caudill, MD

Carrel M. Caudill, MD
1949-1953
Deceased 1/1/2006

Gerald L. Haines, MD, PhD

Gerald L. Haines, MD, PhD
1949-1953
Deceased 2/11/2015

1952

Martin E. Feferman, MD

Martin E. Feferman, MD
1948-1952
Deceased 5/21/2011

 

1951

Paul S. Blake, MD

Paul S. Blake, MD
1947-1951
Deceased 5/23/1997

 

1950

Robert L. Merrick, MD

Robert L. Merrick, MD
1949-1950
Deceased 10/16/2004

C. Kent Olson, MD

C. Kent Olson, MD
1946-1950
Deceased 9/6/2000

 

1949

Jules D. Levin, MD

Jules D. Levin, MD
1942-1949
Deceased 2/16/2002

 

1947

Lyle A. French, MD, PhD

Lyle A. French, MD, PhD
1940-1947
Deceased 10/19/2004

 

1946

Leonard A. Titrud, MD, PhD

Leonard A. Titrud, MD, PhD
1939-1946
Deceased 10/18/2004

 

1938

Harold Buchstein, MD

Harold Buchstein, MD
1935-1938
Deceased 10/29/1987

William T. Peyton Society

Established in honor of William T. Peyton, founding head of the University of Minnesota's Department of Neurosurgery, the William T. Peyton Society meets in Minneapolis approximately every five years. All graduates and current and former faculty of the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program are members of the Society.