David Darrow, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Neurosurgery, was named the Rockswold-Kaplan Endowed Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury by Hennepin Healthcare. The endowed chair was established in 2014 through the generosity of Elliot and Eloise Kaplan in gratitude for the care Eloise received and Gaylan Rockswold, a Hennepin Healthcare neurosurgeon, to support research and innovation at the Hennepin Healthcare Traumatic Brain Injury Center.

“The intention of the Kaplans and myself in creating this endowed chair is to attract the brightest minds and advance the treatment for those suffering from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries,” Dr. Rockswold said in a press release. “The appointment of Dr. Darrow does just that.”

The appointment is also historic because it is the first time an endowed chair in the Hennepin Healthcare system has been awarded to a faculty member whose primary appointment is in the  Department of Neurosurgery, reflecting a renewed effort to foster collaboration between the two organizations. 

“Hennepin Healthcare neurosurgeons Thomas Bergman and Walter Galicich are already highly valued adjunct professors in our neurosurgery department at the U of M Medical School,” said Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, professor and head of the Department of Neurosurgery. “I believe that Dr. Darrow’s appointment will further enhance opportunities for clinical and research collaborations.”

Dr. Darrow, who joined the faculty in 2020, initiated key collaborations with the Departments of Psychiatry, Bioengineering and Neurology during his residency training at the U of M Medical School resulting in several innovative clinical trials, including the E-STAND (Epidural Stimulation After Neurologic Damage) study, aimed at optimizing epidural spinal cord stimulation to restore volitional movement in spinal cord injury patients. Dr. Darrow’s focus on using neuromodulation and electrophysiology to create novel treatment options brings a new lens to understanding and treating injuries of the central nervous system. 

“I am confident that this collaboration between the clinical expertise of Hennepin Healthcare and the research experience of the University of Minnesota Medical School will position us well to continue our outstanding neurotrauma care for the communities that we are proud to serve,” said Daniel Hoody, MD, interim chief medical officer of Hennepin Healthcare.