Schwartz, Henry G.

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Schwartz, Henry G.

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1909-1998

History

Henry Gerard Schwartz (1909-1998) is remembered as one most important and influential American figures in the field of neurosurgery. His primary research interests were focused in anatomy, surgery, and physiology of the nervous system. Dr. Schwartz made important clinical contributions to neurosurgery in pain, intracranial aneurysms, and pituitary and cerbellopontine angle tumors. He designed one of the first spring vascular clips for aneurysm surgery and refined open surgical techniques for cervical cordotomy.

Born in New York City on March 11, 1909, he obtained a bachelor's degree in 1928 from Princeton University. He then earned a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1932. Dr. Schwartz began his career as a surgical house officer at Johns Hopkins. He then studied anatomy and neuroanatomy at Harvard University for three years as a National Research Council fellow. Upon completion of his fellowship, he served as an anatomy instructor at Harvard Medical School before joining Washington University School of Medicine in 1936.

Dr. Schwartz spent the larger part of his career at Washington University, serving in a number of different positions: Fellow in Neurosurgery (1936-1937), Instructor (1937-1942), Assistant Professor in Neurosurgery (1942-1945), Associate Professor (1945-1946), Professor (1946-1970), Chairman of the Division of Neurological Surgery (1946-1974), and August A. Busch, Jr. Professor of Neurological Surgery (1970-1985). In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Schwartz was acting Surgeon-in-Chief at Barnes Hospital from 1965 to 1967 and Chief Neurosurgeon at Barnes and St. Louis Children's Hospital from 1946 to 1974. As a well-respected educator, his training program attracted many talented students to Washington University.

During World War II, Dr. Schwartz served as Assistant Chief of Surgery and Chief of Neurosurgery in the U.S. Army's 21st General Hospital. During his service, he developed a method for handling wounds to the head and nerves that became standard procedure for the military. For this accomplishment, he received the prestigious Legion of Merit in 1945. Dr. Schwartz was honored numerous times throughout his career for his contributions to neurosurgery. Among his many other awards are the Harvey Cushing Medal from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

In 1985, Dr. Schwartz was elected Honorary President of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. He also served as Chairman of the American Board of Neurological Surgery (1968-1970) and as President of the Southern Neurosurgical Society (1952-1953), the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons (1967-1968), and the Society of Neurological Surgeons (1968-1969).

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