Dr. Jacob Goldberg Named Charlie Kuntz Scholar, Brings Home WCM’s First J.A.N.E. Award

At the 2022 joint AANS/CNS Spine Summit, fifth-year neurosurgery resident Jacob Goldberg was named a 2022 Charlie Kuntz Scholar for work he’s done with Dr. Roger Härtl, Dr. Ibrahim Hussain, Dr. Carolin Melcher, and members of our resident training team. Dr. Goldberg also achieved top honors by winning the J.A.N.E. Award (Journalistic And Academic Neurosurgical Excellence) for top resident manuscript of the year.

The winning research project focused on the use of a high-tech simulator to train residents in the advanced techniques of minimally invasive spine surgery. Dr. Goldberg presented findings that showed residents who used the simulator for a procedure three times achieved progressively decreased operative time, with fewer skipped surgical steps and fewer major mistakes. They also demonstrated increased confidence in the procedure.

Residents used the simulator to perform a minimally invasive unilateral laminotomy for bilateral decompression (ULBD). The steps for this procedure were published by Dr. Härtl and endorsed by AO Spine. Dr. Härtl and Dr. Hussain are developing protocols to expand the project to additional spine procedures. They will also assess the trainees in the operating room to evaluate how the procedural knowledge gained on the simulators translates into real-world scenarios.

"Dr. Goldberg played a critical role in this project,” says Dr. Hartl. “He analyzed data from hours of video recording, conducted the literature review, did the statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript. His perspective as a senior resident uniquely positioned him to evaluate this modality for training purposes, and he's acknowledged the difference in his technical and anatomical knowledge when performing and assisting in these surgeries now."

“I’m proud to work with Dr. Härtl, Dr Hussain, and the rest of the resident education team on this project,” says Dr. Goldberg. “I know firsthand the commitment to innovative training at Weill Cornell Neurosurgery, and this is one more tool to help put our residents at the cutting edge.”

Dr. Goldberg presents his award-winning paper at Spine Summit 2022

Dr. Goldberg presented the research at the 2022 DSPN Spine Summit in Las Vegas in February. He joins a long list of previous Charlie Kuntz Scholars from Weill Cornell Medicine Neurosurgery, including Dr. Sertac Kirnaz (2019),  Dr. Ibrahim Hussain (2017 and 2018), and Dr. Nelson Moussazadeh and Dr. Brenton Pennicooke (2016). The Charlie Kuntz Scholar Award was founded in 2016 in memory of neurosurgeon Charles Kuntz IV (1964-2015).

This was the first J.A.N.E. Award for Weill Cornell Medicine Neurosurgery.  The honor, established in memory of John A. Jane Sr., MD, PhD (1931-2015), is awarded to the top manuscript submitted by a neurosurgical resident or fellow.


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