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Three new Upstate neurosurgeons.

Upstate expands size, scope and coverage area of neurosurgery department with hiring of three new surgeons

Upstate Medical University has expanded its neurosurgery department with the hiring of three new surgeons, allowing Upstate to offer additional and expanded services to a larger region of New York state.

New to the department are Harish Babu, MD, PhD; Ali Hazama, MD; and Timothy M. Beutler, MD. The three new neurosurgeons expand Upstate’s existing department, which consists of 10 doctors, making it the largest neurosurgical team in Central New York. The expansion of the department by nearly a third will allow Upstate to provide neurosurgical care to a wider portion of New York state, said Interim Department Chair Satish Krishnamurthy, MD.

“Upstate’s department of neurosurgery has been serving the region for more than 60 years,” Krishnamurthy said. “We are dedicated to the Upstate Medical University mission to improve the health of the communities we serve through education, biomedical research and patient care. The addition of these three specialist neurosurgeons will enable us to provide excellent patient care to more patients in more specialty areas.”

The Department of Neurosurgery multispecialty group offers advanced care and technologies as well as basic, translational and clinical research aimed at finding new treatments and improved strategies for disorders of the brain and spine. The department plays a central role in the following Upstate facilities: the region’s only adult and pediatric Level-1 trauma center, a dedicated Cancer Center, the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, neonatal care units, the region’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and the region’s Telestroke Network, supporting stroke care at 11 hospitals across Upstate and Central New York.

Harish Babu, MD, PhD, joins Upstate after completing residency from the department of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Following residency training, he completed fellowships first in epilepsy/functional neurosurgery at the University of Toronto in Canada, followed by tumor/skull base neurosurgery fellowship at the Center for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney in Australia. Babu obtained his neuroscience PhD from Charite Medical University in Germany.

Babu’s specializations at Upstate will include adult brain tumors, skull-base tumors and gamma knife; functional (epilepsy), general and spinal surgeries.

“He will be a great addition to the four other neurosurgeons operating on brain tumors  and increase our complement of two other functional neurosurgeons to three,” Krishnamurthy said.

Ali Hazama, MD, has been a resident in the department of neurosurgery at Upstate since 2013. Hazama is a graduate of Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.

Hazama’s specialties at Upstate will include general, spine and minimally invasive spine surgery. He will practice at Upstate Community Hospital and the downtown campus.

“He is one of the few surgeons in this region who can do spine surgeries using smaller incisions,” Krishnamurthy said. “This minimally invasive approach will decrease the length of hospital stay and postoperative pain. While not every spine problem can be treated in this manner, a significant portion of common spine problems can be treated this way.”

Timothy M. Beutler, MD, completed a residency in neurological surgery at Upstate Medical University, which began in 2013 and included a fellowship in Neuro Critical Care (CAST Program) from 2017 to 2018. Beutler is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Beutler’s specialties at Upstate will include critical care, general and spine. He is Upstate’s first neurosurgeon dedicated to critical care neurosurgery.

“This field is an important addition and patients who need a critical care neurosurgeon are in need of intensive care for neurological emergencies such as brain and spine injuries, strokes, brain hemorrhages, infections of the brain and spine, aneurysms, etc.,” Krishnamurthy said. “He will be doing general neurosurgery in addition to being a critical care neurosurgery physician.”


Additional physician members of the Upstate Neurosurgery Team are:


Lawrence S. Chin, MD, brain tumors, gamma knife and spine


Michael A. Galgano, MD, adult and pediatric spine tumors and deformity, spine oncology


Grahame C. Gould, MD, open and endovascular neurosurgery


Walter A. Hall, MD, MBA, brain tumors, degenerative spine disease


Satish Krishnamurthy, MD, brain tumors (adult and pediatric), spine


G. Duemani Reddy, MD, PhD, brain tumors, functional neurosurgery


Michael Shende, MD, neurological surgery consultant


Zulma Tovar Spinoza, MD, pediatric neurosurgery and pediatric functional neurosurgery


Caption: Harish Babu, MD, PhD; Ali Hazama, MD; and Timothy Beutler, MD, have joined Upstate's Department of Neurosurgery. Their appointments bring an expansion of services to Central New York.

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