The Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota has partnered with St. Paul’s Gillette Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Neurosurgery Department in a landmark collaboration, creating the largest pediatric neurosurgery cooperative group in Minneapolis to date.

Under this agreement, U of M pediatric neurosurgeons, Daniel Guillaume, MD; and Carolina Sandoval-Garcia, MD; will share weekend call duties with the three pediatric neurosurgeons from Gillette Children’s Hospital: Patrick Graupman, MD; Debbie Song, MD; and Peter Kim, MD. The collaboration provides opportunities for intellectual exchanges in clinical care, scholarly pursuits, and resident education.

Adjunct faculty
“I am inviting our Gillette colleagues, who I hold in high regard, to become adjunct faculty members in our department so that our residents and patients can benefit from their surgical expertise and insights,” said Guillaume. “This collaboration is something that we have worked toward for several years. It is extraordinarily gratifying to see it reach fruition.”

Through the collaboration, pediatric patients can be directed to the hospital that is most experienced in treating their condition. “Some U of M patients may go to Gillette for expertise that exists there, while some of their patients may be treated at the University of Minnesota in other areas where we offer specialized therapies,” explained Guillaume. For example, Gillette offers specialized spasticity care that is unmatched, while U of M offers highly specialized cancer care.

Patients big winners
“Patients are the biggest winners in this collaboration, as they will be directed to the physician who can provide the highest level of care,” noted Graupman, who is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Department of Neurosurgery Residency Program.

The collaboration also allows sharing of weekend call responsibilities during which surgeons are called to perform emergent neurosurgeries using members of the two teams. “This sharing of call duties with Gillette neurosurgery team means that our hospital will always have a neurosurgeon available whose primary focus area is pediatrics, rather than an adult neurosurgeon who rarely performs procedures on children,” noted Guillaume.

Educational opportunity
Residency Program Director Michael C. Park, MD, PhD, pointed out that U of M neurosurgery trainees will benefit from this partnership as well. “Our residents will have greater participation in life-saving surgeries for pediatric patients who suffer severe head or spine trauma,” he said. “Moreover, the collaboration provides the foundation for a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship training program, which will be the first of its kind for Minnesota.”

Neurosurgery Department Head Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, noted that, “The success of this partnership exemplifies our department’s commitment to engage talented physicians in our community and the resources of a land grant university in the betterment of those we serve. Great things are rarely done in isolation, they arise through genuine partnership. I am confident that many more good things will come of this collaboration.”