In 1925, the prestigious Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) joined with The Presbyterian Hospital, and construction of a combined site on the banks of the Hudson River in Washington Heights was completed in 1927, making Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center the first academic medical center in the United States.
In the same era, neurological pioneers Pearce Bailey, Joseph Collins, Charles Elsberg, and Joseph Fraenkel founded The Neurological Institute of New York (NI), established 1909. The NI was similarly the first of its kind in the nation: a specialty hospital devoted entirely to the study and treatment of nervous system disorders, at a time when such disorders were considered lowly and largely incurable. Here, the founding fathers and early leaders, including Charles A. Dana, Bernard Sachs, Pearce Bailey, and Joseph Collins, built the foundation of American Neurology. An affiliation with Columbia was formed in 1921 and, in 1928, The Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center was opened in the same site where it remains to this day.
Many of the field's most transformative minds have trained and practiced within these halls, and still do. For more than a century, the Neurological Institute of New York at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center has remained a pillar of academic and clinical excellence, committed to developing the finest scholars and physicians in the field of neurology.
From 1948 to 1967, The Neurological Institute of New York became inextricably linked with Department of Neurology Chair H. Houston Merritt, a giant of modern neurology and one of the most celebrated clinical neurologists of the 20th century. Merritt's Textbook of Neurology, first published in 1955, is now in its 12th edition. The present editors are longtime faculty members, Dr. Lewis P. Rowland, chair of the department from (1973-1998) and one of the most internationally prominent leaders in the field, and Dr. Timothy Pedley, chair of the department from 1998-2011 and former president of the American Academy of Neurology. The current chair of the Department of Neurology at The Neurological Institute of New York is Dr. Richard Mayeux.
In addition to Neurology, the practice of Neurosurgery, Child Neurology, Neuropathology, and Neuroradiology have all flourished at the NI. With the founding of the NI, a Neurosurgery Service was established by Charles A. Elsberg who, with Harvey Cushing and Charles Frazier, founded the Society of Neurological Surgeons. Elsberg was succeeded by a series of eminent neurosurgical leaders including, Byron Stookey, Tracy J. Putnam, J. Lawrence Pool, Edward B. Schlesinger, Bennett M. Stein, and current Neurosurgery chair Robert A. Solomon. Wilder Penfield came to the NI in 1923 as a neuropathologist and neurosurgeon following studies with Santiago Ramόn y Cajal. In 1928, he left to become one of the founders and the first Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute. Dr. Cornelius Dyke was the first full-time radiologist at the NI. He was followed by Dr. Juan Taveras, who established the first training program in neuroradiology in the US. The basement of NI has been beautifully reconstructed as a state-of-the-art brain imaging center. The Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and the Neuroradiology Service continue to work collaboratively in the NI today.
In 2009, The Neurological Institute of New York celebrated its 100th Anniversary