Department History

A Return From Oblivion by A.J. McLean
Dr. McLean

The first neurosurgeon at OHSU (then called the University of Oregon Medical School) was Arthur J. McClean, M.D. 

Arthur John McLean (1894 -1938) a student of Harvey Cushing, the father of American neurosurgery and Otfried Foerster, the celebrated German neurosurgeon was Portland’s first trained neurosurgeon. His life was cut short by a tragic accident and so it is uncertain what his future might have held.

Dr. John Raff
Dr. Raff

John Raaf, M.D., (1905 – 2000) of the Mayo Clinic joined Arthur J. McClean, M.D.

These two prominent physicians continued to manage and develop the neurosurgical training until Dr. McClean's death.


Dr. Raaf formed the first formal neurosurgical training program, which was located at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Dr. George Austin
Dr. Austin

George Austin, M.D., (1916-2002) was appointed head of the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, Division of Neurosurgery within the Department of Surgery, where he remained for 10 years.

In 1974, he developed a non linear differential equation describing blood flow in a saccular brain aneurysm;  Austin Equation.

First neurosurgical residents are trained at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, Division of Neurosurgery.

Dr. Paxton
Dr. Paxton

Harold D. Paxton’s (1924-2015) distinguished medical career spanned more than 50 years. Dr. Paxton joined the faculty of the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in 1956 as a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Neurosurgery.

In 1967, he was appointed professor and head of the division, retiring in 1991 as professor emeritus.

Dr. Paxton recruited A.E. Gallo, Jr., M.D., as the chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Dr. Kim Burchiel
Dr. Burchiel

Kim J. Burchiel, M.D., takes the place of Dr. Paxton (Professor Emeritus) as the chief of the division.

The division of Neurosurgery was granted full department status within the School of Medicine and officially became known as the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Kim Burchiel, M.D., was appointed John Raaf Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery in 1988.

Dr. Selden
Dr. Selden

Nathan R. Selden, M.D., Ph.D., was Head of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Division from 2000-2015 and was named OHSU's first Campagna Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery in 2012.

Nathan R. Selden, M.D., Ph.D., was appointed Campagna Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery in 2016.