New Dean at the Helm


Julie G. Pilitsis, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A. Photography by Katarzyna Bytnar.

Faculty Spotlight: New Dean at the Helm

Leading Neurosurgeon and Physician-scientist to Continue Medical School’s Legacy

FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine is one of only 155 accredited allopathic medical schools in the nation, and its new dean has big plans for its future.

As a leading neurosurgeon and physicianscientist, Julie G. Pilitsis, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., assumed her role as dean and vice president for health affairs in February to spearhead the college’s innovative medical education programs, cutting-edge research and clinical practice.

“With Florida expected to be short nearly 18,000 physicians by the year 2035, training and residency programs are imperative to provide care to Florida’s population,” Pilitsis said. “I am excited to lead the Schmidt College of Medicine during a pivotal time in our history.”

Pilitsis, who earned her Doctor of Medicine with distinction from Albany Medical College in New York in 1998 and her doctorate in physiology from Wayne State University in Detroit in 2002, has made significant contributions nationally in medicine, education, advocacy and research. Funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than a decade, she has served as a principal investigator on several grants exceeding $7 million. She also received more than $2.5 million in grant funding from industry partners and holds three patents and two filed patent applications.

Before joining FAU, Pilitsis served as division chief of functional neurosurgery and chair and professor of the basic neuroscience department at Albany Medical College – an integral component of the Albany Medical Center (AMC), the only academic center in northeastern New York and western New England. During her tenure, the department’s grant funding increased tenfold; academic productivity, as measured by publications, increased fourfold; and graduate students who self-identify as underrepresented in medicine increased by 40 percent.

As division chief of functional neurosurgery at AMC, Pilitsis developed the service line of functional neurosurgery, a subspecialty of neurosurgery aimed at improving quality of life, which includes multidisciplinary pain/movement disorders teams.

Pilitsis said she supports interdisciplinary collaboration, and together with a colleague, she designed an inter-professional teambased master’s degree curriculum in clinical investigation at AMC. She has dedicated her career to mentoring junior faculty in professional and leadership development activities and has mentored more than 150 students through translational research projects.

A national leader across multiple organizations, Pilitsis has served in numerous leadership roles and recently was named president-elect of the North American Neuromodulation Society, which has about 2,000 members. She also chaired two of seven American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons sections. She is a frequent presenter at national meetings and at neurosurgical grand rounds across the country, including a very popular TED Talk titled, “So You Want to be a Neurosurgeon,” which has more than 250,000 views on YouTube.

Now, Pilitsis is ready to take the reins at FAU’s College of Medicine. “Together with my colleagues, we will build upon the medical school’s legacy, grounded in diversity and inclusivity, to provide patientcentered care and pioneering translational research to improve quality of life,” she said.

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