Division Spotlight: Pediatric Neurology

Paul R. Carney, MD joined the Department of Neurology last fall as the new Chief of Pediatric Neurology, a role well-served by Dr. Robert S. Greenwood for over 33 years.

In the fall of 2016, Paul R. Carney, MD joined the Department of Neurology as the new Chief of Pediatric Neurology, a role well-served by Dr. Robert S. Greenwood for over 33 years. Dr. Carney came to UNC from the University of Florida in Gainesville where he held a variety of positions including the B.J. and Eve Wilder Chair Endowed Professor for Epilepsy, and Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Carney was fortunate to join a strong existing Pediatric Neurology team comprised of:

  • Faculty Physicians Timothy Gershon, Zheng Fan, Robert Greenwood,
    Yael Shiloh-Malawsky and Michael Tennison;
  • Residents Senyene Hunter, Adeel Yousaf and Krystal Sully;
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner Carolyn Zook Lewis;
  • Nurse: Betty Allen; and
  • Administrative associates Cynthia Kenan and Vince Lewis.

Mission and Goals

The primary mission of UNC’s Division of Pediatric Neurology is to care for, and find cures and innovative treatments for pediatric neurological diseases. To fulfill this mission, four overall goals have been set for the Division. These include:

  • Expansion of pediatric services;
  • Building our neuroscience research programs;
  • Reviewing and expanding the pediatric residency program; and
  • Cultivating a community and awareness of services for families of children with neurologic disorders.

Expansion of Pediatric Services

In order to meet the rising demand for services, the Neurology Department is actively recruiting at least four additional clinical pediatric neurologists, clinician scientists, and research faculty; and several candidates are currently under consideration. The Division also hopes to hire additional advanced nurse practitioners to provide timely access to patient care and coordination of services.

Another means of expanding services is through the development of the Division’s subspecialty programs, beginning with epilepsy. Since Dr. Carney is trained as an epilepsy and sleep specialist, the Division will be able to treat more children who are not responsive to common medications used for seizure disorders – representing roughly one-third of all epilepsy patients. Also, Ammar Hussain, MD from Virginia Commonwealth University will join the team in July as a pediatric epilepsy specialist. The Division hopes to recruit one to three additional physicians for the epilepsy program.

Plans are also in the works to implement a telemedicine program, establish more offsite clinics, and increase partnerships with UNC stakeholders.

Building Research Programs

Since his arrival, Dr. Carney has launched an active research program at the UNC Neuroscience Center beginning with the recruitment of research scientist, Thomas DeMarse, PhD from the University of Florida. Dr. DeMarse is investigating novel ways to control seizures as well as researching pre-clinical models using advanced neurotechnology.  Gowri Natargan, PhD; Junli Zhao, MD, PhD; and Christopher Anderson, PhD, have also joined this year.

Dr. Carney’s own research interests reflect his commitment to developing treatments for children with “untreatable” epilepsy. His research includes leveraging advanced diagnostics in neuro-imaging and neuro-physiology in his efforts to develop more effective treatments.

Reviewing Educational Programs

The Division will review and expand its educational program as health care needs continue to evolve. The Division also plans to continue recruiting top talent for the research and residency programs. This summer, Sonia Ann Varghese, MD (PGY1) will begin the first two years of her Pediatric Neurology residency with the Department of Pediatrics, and Jordan D. Broman-Fulks, MD (PGY3) will join the Department of Neurology to begin his three years of specialty training in pediatric neurology.

Cultivating a community and awareness of services

Integral to the Division’s services will be the Pediatric Neurology Service program. The goal of this program will be to provide technical assistance and consultation, professional training programs and public education activities, and also enhance the visibility of the program across the region and nationally. Program members will work with families, caregivers and professionals to serve counties in NC. 

The Department of Neurology is pleased to welcome Dr. Carney and the ambitious goals he has set forth for the Division of Pediatric Neurology. Through his efforts, we look forward to better serving our patients through expanded clinical care, cutting-edge research, a comprehensive residency program and community outreach.

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