Dr. Russin is the assistant surgical director of the USC Neurorestoration Center at Keck Medicine of USC.
Here’s what you won’t find on his resume.
He doesn’t take the small things for granted.
“You will rarely encounter dramatic, life-changing decisions. It is the small, seemingly insignificant decisions that you make every day, which add up to define who you are as a person. That is the most important piece of advice I have ever received.”
He treasures family time.
“I love to spend my free time with my family. I help my wife take care of our three daughters. This takes up the majority of the time I have outside of work.”
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The outdoors calls his name.
“I love hiking, fishing and camping up in northern Maine during the summer. It has been a family tradition that I look forward to sharing with my kids. When I was a medical student, I spent several months in the western Himalayas setting up health camps for Tibetan refugees. The experience gave me a glimpse into the global variations in health care systems. It also allowed me to experience a starkly different culture while providing an important and scarce resource.”
He enjoys running marathons.
“After a successful surgery, my patient Kathy Nguyen convinced me to run my first marathon with her. We performed a PICA-PICA (posterior inferior cerebellar artery) bypass, which is a rare procedure that only a handful of medical centers can perform. It was a wonderful experience! On the rare occasions that my family is occupied, I’m out training.”
He’s working on his bucket list.
“The top three things I have yet to cross off my personal bucket list is taking my wife out to dinner in Paris, thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and marlin fishing in Hawaii.”
He can change someone’s life with one surgery.
“I frequently have the opportunity to treat patients with medically refractory epilepsy. These are generally young patients who are otherwise healthy with the exception of their seizure disorder. Patients lose their drivers license, become isolated socially and are unable to maintain employment. Providing a surgical intervention that can cure these patients and give them their lives back is one of the most rewarding parts of this career.”
Technology is redefining patient care.
“Cerebrovascular disease is when the arteries supplying oxygen to the brain are affected. Most commonly, this causes a stroke or ministroke. In recent years, there has been a need for open surgical treatment. With the development of endovascular techniques, treatment is becoming less invasive, more accessible and will largely replace the need for open surgical treatment in the future.”
His work allows him to do research.
“One particularly exciting project I’m working on is the genetic characterization of single neurons from patients with epilepsy. This is a collaboration between multiple teams to try and identify unique signatures of individual cells that may cause seizures.”
Keck Medicine of USC is his home.
“The support for collaboration between world-class scientists and clinicians makes this environment fertile with opportunities to advance the practice of neurosurgery. Keck Medicine of USC has a well-known reputation as one of the premier neurosurgical departments in the United States. It is not because we have the fancy instruments or the newest tools. It is because we have the best people. The leadership of this department has been and continues to be an example for all other neurosurgical departments around the country.”
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