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Department News

James B. Walker, MD

UNC Neurosurgery is pleased to welcome community physician, James B. Walker, MD, to First Health Neurosurgery in Pinehurst. Dr. Walker received his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Auburn University in 2000 and his medical degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 2004. He completed his neurosurgery residency at the University of Mississippi in 2011, and received board certification in 2014.

Congratulations and welcome to our new residents, Aaron Gelinne, MD, and Sam Reed, MD, who will be joining our residency program this summer. Sam is a UNC-CH medical school graduate and Aaron joins us from the University of Vermont. We look forward to working with both of them for the next seven years!

Aaron Gelinne, MD
Aaron Gelinne, MD
Sam Reed, MD
Sam Reed, MD

The residency program was re-accredited for another year after a successful 10-year, full accreditation site visit in February.


Eldad Hadar, MD, and Carolyn Quinsey, MD, along with other researchers, published, “Brain death in low-income countries: a report from Malawi” in Tropical Doctor in January.

Kevin Carneiro, DO, and other researchers, published, “Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating Aerobic Training and Common Sport-Related Concussion Outcomes in Healthy Participants” in the Journal of Athletic Training, December.

Dr. Carneiro also was on a research team that published, “Influence of Self-reported Fatigue and Sex on Baseline Concussion Assessment Scores” in the Orthopaedic Journal Sports Medicine in January.

Presentations and Conferences

UNC was well-represented at the North American Skull Base Society’s 29th Annual Meeting in Orlando last February. Drs. Matt Ewend, Deanna Sasaki-Adams, and Carolyn Quinsey all made individual presentations and participated in a skull base match on an interdisciplinary UNC team that included ENT, Ophthalmology and Radiology. In addition, PGY-1 resident, Andrew Abumoussa, MD, presented a talk on computational methods for measuring vasopasm.

UNC Team at NASBS 2019

Neurosurgeon Carolyn Quinsey, MD, presented “Is Household Estimated Income Associated with Proper Seatbelt Use in Pediatric Patients Involved in a Motor Vehicle Crash?” at the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons’ 42nd Annual Meeting in Hawaii on January 28.

A contingent of UNC faculty, residents, medical students and alumni traveled to San Diego in April to learn the latest innovations and techniques at the 2019 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting.

UNC Group

Simon Khagi, MD, was invited to present at Mose Cone Department of Internal Medicine Grand Rounds on January 11. Dr. Khagi was also invited to give a lunch talk to the Greensboro Kiwanis group on March 14 entitled, “The Promise of Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Cancer.”

Melody Watral, CPNP-PC and Adjunct Assistant Professor for the UNC School of Nursing, presented a lecture titled “Nursing Care of the Child with Cancer” to 60 UNC School of Nursing students on April 18.

Kristi Hildebrand, MSN, CPNP-AC, traveled to New Orleans last March to attend the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners’ 40th National Conference on Pediatric Health Care.


Carolyn Quinsey, MD, received the AANS 2019 Young Neurosurgeons Public Service Citation for her work in Malawi.

Deanna Sasaki-Adams was a recipient of the 2019 UNC Health Care and UNC Faculty Physicians Award for Carolina Care Excellence. Learn more

Carolina Care’s highlighted patient comment in Vital Signs during the week of January 10 featured Sivakumar Jaikumar, MD: “Dr. Jaikumar showed a genuine concern over my condition and answered all of my questions in an honest, straightforward, and completely understandable way…”


Melody Watral, CPNP-PC, CPON wrote a blog about macrocephaly to support our social media efforts.

Eldad Hadar, MD, and Carolyn Quinsey MD, traveled back to Malawi in March to continue building UNC Neurosurgery’s partnership with the Kamuzu Central Hospital.

Malawi - Drs. Hadar and Quinsey


Carolyn Quinsey, MD, was interviewed by WRAL on February 22 regarding UNC Neurosurgery’s life-saving work in Malawi. In addition, The Daily Tar Heel and Becker’s Spine Review published articles about Dr. Quinsey, Dr. Hadar and their efforts to support UNC-Project Malawi.

WRAL interview with Dr. Quinsey

Deanna Sasaki-Adams, MD, discussed the risks of developing an aneurysm and who should receive a screening test in an article for Bustle.

Physiatrist Kevin Carneiro, DO, and resident Michael Cools, MD, are part of the research team for the NFL’s concussion studies at UNC. View WCCB video >


Wilkins Lecture
Al Sills, MD
, was the distinguished lecturer at the fifth annual Robert H. Wilkins, MD, Lectureship in Academic Neurosurgery, sponsored by the Wilkins family. The UNC and Duke Departments of Neurosurgery co-hosted the event at the Washington Duke Inn on February 19. Over 75 guests dined and later enjoyed Dr. Sill’s talk titled, “Is there a future for football?” Dr. Sills is the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer as well as a Professor of Neurological Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, and Founder and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center.

Al Sills, MD     Wilkins lecture 2019

UNC Spina Bifida Conference

Kristi Hildebrand, MSN, CPNP-AC, is leading the planning efforts for a  UNC Spina Bifida Family Conference & Reunion on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill. This event will provide education, support and networking opportunities to UNC pediatric spina bifida patients and their families. The conference will be a collaborative effort between the UNC Departments of Neurosurgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Urology, Orthopedics, and Physical and Occupational Therapy.

Head for the Cure Kickoff
The Head for the Cure team hosted a kickoff reception on Tuesday, April 16 at the Top of the Hill Restaurant. About 15 guests gathered to exchange promotional and fundraising ideas for this year’s run/walk event on Saturday, September 7.

HFTC Kickoff 2019 - Dr. Khagi    HFTC Kickoff 2019

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