Alumni

Alumni Spotlight: Gaylan Rockswold, MD, PhD, 1969 – 1974

Gaylan Rockswold, MD, PhDGaylan Rockswold came into the U of M neurosurgery residency program under the legendary leadership of both Lyle French, MD, and Shelley Chou, MD, PhD. His early days in the program were daunting. “I remember my first journal club,” he said, noting that the clubs rotated between French and Chou’s homes. “I was just out of the service and felt like a deer caught in headlights.”

French noticed Rockswold’s nervousness. “He had an uncanny ability to know what was going on,” Rockswold said. “As I was leaving, I felt a big hand come down on my shoulder and heard him say, ‘Gaylan, don’t worry about it. In six months this will all be very familiar.’ Forty years later, I still remember that moment.”

French was right, but it wasn’t easy. Rockswold doesn’t remember any rules or manuals being handed out. “You were expected to follow the example of your faculty and more senior residents,” he said. “It worked well. It was very disciplined.”

“Casual” selection process
Unlike today’s national residency match program, there didn’t seem to be a rulebook for getting into the program, either. “French was basically a one-man show and he picked his own residents,” Rockswold explained. “He had the ability to discern character.” French used an interview process to determine with whom he wanted to work. “You just sat there and talked to him; it was very casual,” said Rockswold. “I remember walking down the hall with him during this process. We met another faculty member along the way and French told him, ‘Come meet this kid; he’s pretty smart. I think we’re going to take him.’”

Rockswold felt that the U’s neurosurgery residency program at the time was one of the best in the nation, thanks to French and Chou’s leadership and exemplary training by U of M alumni, Don Long, MD, PhD (1960 – 1965), and Edward L. Seljeskog, MD, PhD (1963 – 1968). “It was certainly in the top 10, if not top 6,” he said. “It was called the Minnesota Way.” Residents trained at the U of M, as well as the Minneapolis Veteran’s Administration Medical Center and Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC).

Read more about Gaylan Rockswold

Enjoy what you’re doing today
Rockswold would advise today’s neurosurgery resident to “not be looking forward to when you’re done. If you don’t appreciate and to some extent enjoy what you’re doing today, you’re probably not going to be happy when you graduate,” he said. “Really make the most of it. It’s hard work but it’s also rewarding. It’s a unique opportunity to learn how to be a neurosurgeon.”

Upon his own graduation, Rockswold joined the neurosurgical staff of HCMC. He is proud of all the patients he and his team cared for and, “at least as important were the more than 70 chief neurosurgical residents that have gone through HCMC, as well as general surgery and ER residents.” As he went through the academic ranks and became a professor, Rockswold watched these students develop and is proud of how “hard working, conscientious and capable they are. It was a privilege to participate in their training.”

Embarking on important TBI trial
In addition to patient care, Rockswold engaged in groundbreaking research at HCMC. His decades of work in the use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers to treat traumatic brain injury set the stage for a new Hyperbaric Oxygen Brain Injury Treatment (HOBIT) Trial. “By March 2018, we will begin enrolling patients at about 20 academic sites across the country,” he said. “I’m the principal investigator. It’s without question the biggest achievement of my career.”

The project’s goal is to enroll 200 patients with acute traumatic brain injury (TBI). “This is severe TBI, which accounts for about 10 percent of all TBI cases,” explained Rockswold. “These patients are usually in a coma when they arrive … many of them die. Treatment for these cases hasn’t improved in 20 years. It’s just flatlined. We’re looking for something that will improve their functional outcome. That’s what has driven me all this time and why I’m still at it. I believe that all the work we’ve done will help these patients.”

Family affair
Much of the preliminary data that went into achieving this grant was analyzed by Rockswold’s daughter, Sarah, who earned her MD through the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program at the University of Minnesota. She is a member of HCMC’s Rehabilitation Clinics staff and co-investigator for the trial. “It takes a village to run one of these trials and we have a great team at HCMC,” Rockswold continued. Members include Michelle Biros, MD, MS, the SIREN liaison at the U; co-investigator and U of M Neurosurgery Department faculty member, Uzma Samadani, MD, PhD; and site principal investigator Tom Bergman, MD (1983 – 1988), Chief of Neurosurgery, Hennepin County Medical Center.

Rockswold added that the project is part of the Strategies to Innovate EmeRgENcy Care Clinical Trials Network (SIREN) funded by the National Institutes of Health. “The infrastructure and expertise you get by being part of the program is just terrific,” he said.

Avid outdoorsman
When he has spare time, Rockswold loves to be outdoors – sailing, skiing (cross-country and downhill), fishing, walking in the woods, and hiking. He has traveled internationally, climbed Kilimanjaro and trekked in Nepal. “I love the wilderness, but I also like to read, visit, and socialize,” he said.

If there is anything to be learned from Rockswold, it’s that he approaches everything from a strong, disciplined center. Perhaps the mentors he had during his U of M neurosurgery residency helped shape that discipline into what continues to drive him today.

Former Residents

2019

Molly Hubbard, MDMolly Hubbard, MD
2012–2019
Joshua Lim, MDJoshua Lim, MD
2012-2019

2018

Amit Goyal, MDAmit Goyal, MD
2011–2018
Akshay Gupte, MDAkshay Gupte, MD
2011-2018

2017

Paramita Das, MDParamita Das, MD
2011–2017
Catherine Miller, MDCatherine Miller, MD
2011-2017

2016

Ciro Vasquez, MDCiro Vasquez, MD
2010–2016
Zoe Zhang, MDZoe Zhang, MD
2010–2016

2015

Daraspreet Kainth, MDDaraspreet Kainth, MD
2009–2015
Dino Terzic, MDDino Terzic, MD
2009-2015

2014

Kristin Jones, MDKristin Jones, MD
2012-2014
Farhan Siddiq, MDFarhan Siddiq, MD
2008-2014

2013

Rabia Qaiser, MDRabia Qaiser, MD
2008-2013
Haejoe Park, MDHaejoe Park, MD
2008-2013

2012

Fotis Souslian, MDFotis Souslian, MD
2007-2012
Efkan Colpan, MDEfkan Colpan, MD
2009-2012

2011

Christopher Roark, MDChristopher Roark, MD
2006-2011

2010

Greg Sher, MD, MPHGreg Sher, MD, MPH
2005-2010
Kyle Uittenbogaard, MDKyle Uittenbogaard, MD
2005-2010
Praveen Baimeedi, MDPraveen Baimeedi, MD
2006-2010

2009

Joel Ulloth, MDJoel Ulloth, MD
2004-2009

2008

Hart P. Garner, MDHart P. Garner, MD
2003-2008

2007

John Drygas, MD, MSJohn Drygas, MD, MS
2002-2007
Eun Kyung (Michelle) Won, MDEun Kyung (Michelle) Won, MD
2002-2007

2006

Adam O. Hebb, MDAdam O. Hebb, MD
2001-2006
Charles R. Watts, MD, PhDCharles R. Watts, MD, PhD
2001-2006

2005

Edward Rustamzadeh, MD, PhDEdward Rustamzadeh, MD, PhD
2000-2005

2004

Ray M. Chu, MDRay M. Chu, MD
1999-2004
Ramachandra P. Tummala, MDRamachandra P. Tummala, MD
1999-2004
Sabrina M. Walski-Easton, MDSabrina M. Walski-Easton, MD
1999-2004

2003

Patrick C. Graupman, MDPatrick C. Graupman, MD
1998-2003

2002

Lars Anker, MDLars Anker, MD
1997-2002
Khalid Sethi, MDKhalid Sethi, MD
1997-2002

2001

Darren S. Lovick, MDDarren S. Lovick, MD
1996-2001
Margaret A. Wallenfriedman, MD, PhDMargaret
Wallen-
friedman,
MD, PhD
1995-2001

2000

Walter C. Jean, MDWalter C. Jean, MD
1994-2000
Michael P. McCue, MD, ScDMichael P. McCue, MD, ScD
1994-2000
Alejandro Mendez, MDAlejandro Mendez, MD
1994-1999

1998

Walter E. Galicich, MDWalter E. Galicich, MD
1993-1998
Joel D. Seigel, MDJoel D. Seigel, MD
1993-1998
Bradley E. Weprin, MDBradley E. Weprin, MD
1993-1998

1997

Jerone D. Kennedy, MDJerone D. Kennedy, MD
1991-1997
Eric S. Nussbaum, MDEric S. Nussbaum, MD
1992-1997
Abhay Sanan, MDAbhay Sanan, MD
1992-1997

1996

Jeffrey P. Blount, MDJeffrey P. Blount, MD
1990-1996
Eric P. Flores, MDEric P. Flores, MD
1992-1996
Edison P. McDaniels, MDEdison P. McDaniels, MD
1991-1996

1995

Todd Y. Nida, MDTodd Y. Nida, MD
1989-1995

1994

John C. Mullan, MDJohn C. Mullan, MD
1988-1994
Leslie A. Sebring, MD, PhDLeslie A. Sebring, MD, PhD
1991-1994

1993

Paul J. Camarata, MDPaul J. Camarata, MD
1987-1993
Jacques J. Morcos, MDJacques J. Morcos, MD
1990-1993
Mitesh V. Shah, MDMitesh V. Shah, MD
1988-1993

1992

Young Chung, MDYoung Chung, MD
1987-1992
Dennis Y.K. Wen, MDDennis Y.K. Wen, MD
1987-1992

1991

William F. Ganz, MDWilliam F. Ganz, MD
1986-1991
Frank L. Genovese, MDFrank L. Genovese, MD
1986-1991

1990

Christine M. Cox, MDChristine M. Cox, MD
1985-1990

1989

Anthony G. Bottini, MDAnthony G. Bottini, MD
1984-1989
 
1988
Thomas A. Bergman, MDThomas A. Bergman, MD
1983-1988
Mary E. Dunn, MDMary E. Dunn, MD
1983-1988

1987

H. Dennis Mollman, MD, PhDH. Dennis Mollman, MD, PhD
1982-1987
S. David Moss, MDS. David Moss, MD
1982-1987
Aizik L. Wolf, MDAizik L. Wolf, MD
1982-1987

1986

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

1985

J. Bob Blacklock, MDJ. Bob Blacklock, MD
1980-1985
Gary L. Rea, MD, PhDGary L. Rea, MD, PhD
1979-1985

1983

Voravut Chanyavanich, MDVoravut Chanyavanich, MD
1978-1983
Terry W. Hood, MDTerry W. Hood, MD
1978-1983
Petr O. Ruzicka, MDPetr O. Ruzicka, MD
1978-1983

1982

John C. Godersky, MDJohn C. Godersky, MD
1977-1982
Richard P. Moser, MDRichard P. Moser, MD
1977-1982
Mahmoud G. Nagib, MDMahmoud G. Nagib, MD
1977-1982

1981

Alexa I. Canady, MDAlexa I. Canady, MD
1976-1981
Dennis L. Shubert, MD, PhDDennis L. Shubert, MD, PhD
1977-1981

1980

John R. Mawk, MDJohn R. Mawk, MD
1975-1980

1979

W. H. Druckemiller, Jr., MDW. H. Druckemiller, Jr., MD
1974-1979
Robert D. Harris, MD, PhDRobert D. Harris, MD, PhD
1974-1979

1978

Daniel B. Ahlberg, MDDaniel B. Ahlberg, MD
1971-1972; 1974-1978
Fernando G. Diaz, MD, PhDFernando G. Diaz, MD, PhD
1973-1978

1977

Robert G. Clubb, MDRobert G. Clubb, MD
1972-1977
Kenneth J. Murray, MD, PhDKenneth J. Murray, MD, PhD
1973-1979
Andrew J.K. Smith, MD, PhDAndrew J.K. Smith, MD, PhD
1972-1977

1976

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

1975

George S. Allen, MD, PhDGeorge S. Allen, MD, PhD
1970-1975
Phudhiphorn Thienprasit, MD, PhDPhudhiphorn Thienprasit, MD, PhD
1970-1975

1974

Harry O. Cole, MDHarry O. Cole, MD
1969-1974
Humberto Ortiz-Suarez, MD, PhDHumberto Ortiz-Suarez, MD, PhD
1969-1974
Gaylan L. Rockswold, MD, PhDGaylan L. Rockswold, MD, PhD
1969-1974

1973

Willis E. Brown, MDWillis E. Brown, MD
1968-1973
Norval M. Simms, MDNorval M. Simms, MD
1968-1973
Deceased 7/24/1975

1972

James I. Ausman, MD, PhDJames I. Ausman, MD, PhD
1964-1965; 1969-1972
Kil Soo Choi, MDKil Soo Choi, MD
1970-1972
Harry M. Rogers, MDHarry M. Rogers, MD
1967-1972

1971

Robert E. Maxwell, MD, PhDRobert E. Maxwell, MD, PhD
1966-1971
Anavankot Mohandas, MDAnavankot Mohandas, MD
1966-1971

1970

David Danoff, MDDavid Danoff, MD
1965-1970

1969

John L. Seymour, MDJohn L. Seymour, MD
1965-1969
Donald L. Erickson, MDDonald L. Erickson, MD
1964-1969

1968

Edward L. Seljeskog, MD, PhDEdward L. Seljeskog, MD, PhD
1963-1968
John P. Wissinger, MDJohn P. Wissinger, MD
1963-1968

1967

Michael E. Carey, MDMichael E. Carey, MD
1962-1967

1965

John Cleary, MD, PhDJohn Cleary, MD, PhD
1965
Fernando G. Diaz, MD, PhDFernando Ruiz Garcia, MD
1964-1965
Donlin M. Long, MD, PhDDonlin M. Long, MD, PhD
1960-1965

1964

Warren Boop, MDWarren Boop, MD
1960-1964
August W. Geise, MDAugust W. Geise, MD
1960-1964
Deceased 1/14/1997

1963

Joseph H. Galicich, MDJoseph H. Galicich, MD
1958-1963
John Serbu, MDJohn Serbu, MD
1959-1963
Deceased 12/17/1999

1962

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

1961

Jim L. Story, MDJim L. Story, MD
1956-1961
Jeong Wha Chu, MDJeong Wha Chu, MD
1959-1961
Max E. Zarling, MDMax E. Zarling, MD
1957-1961

1960

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

1959

Richard H. Strassburger, MDRichard H. Strassburger, MD
1956-1959

1957

Bo Sung Sim, MDBo Sung Sim, MD
1955-1957
Ralph L. Suechtin, MDRalph L. Suechtin, MD
1953-1957
James E. McIntosch, MDJames E. McIntosch, MD
1953-1957

1956

Howard Chandler, MDHoward Chandler, MD
1952-1956
Purdue L. Gould, MDPurdue L. Gould, MD
1952-1956
Deceased 8/24/2011

1955

Shelley N. Chou, MD, PhDShelley N. Chou, MD, PhD
1950-1955
Deceased 7/21/2001
William S. Ogle, MDWilliam S. Ogle, MD
1954-1955

1954

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

1953

Carrel M. Caudill, MDCarrel M. Caudill, MD
1949-1953
Deceased 1/1/2006
    
Gerald L. Haines, MD, PhDGerald L. Haines, MD, PhD
1949-1953
Deceased 2/11/2015

1952

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

1951

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

1950

Robert L. Merrick, MDRobert L. Merrick, MD
1949-1950
Deceased 10/16/2004
C. Kent Olson, MDC. Kent Olson, MD
1946-1950
Deceased 9/6/2000

1949

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

1947

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

1946

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

1938

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