Pediatric Neurosurgery Program Founder Hector James, MD, Honored with $2.5 Million Grant for Endowed Chair
May 23, 2012
Pediatric neurosurgeon Hector James, MD, responded to the call in 2003 when there were no pediatric neurosurgeons in the city and Wolfson Children’s Hospital was recruiting for his specialty. He accepted the offer from the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine-Jacksonville to head up their Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery ? as well as the Pediatric Neurosurgery Program at Wolfson Children’s Hospital ? with a vision to significantly expand services and recruit the best pediatric neurosurgeons in the country to Jacksonville.
With an initial $5 million gift from The Lucy Gooding Charitable Foundation Trust, Dr. James established the Lucy Gooding Pediatric Neurosurgery Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital to begin building a world-class program that has now expanded to include a total of three full-time pediatric neurosurgeons from UF Jacksonville and two vascular neurosurgeons with Mayo Clinic Florida on the hospital’s medical staff. This physician team
was carefully selected for their specialized skills in brain tumors, epilepsy, spasticity, congenital malformations and other neurological childhood conditions. Two pediatric neurosurgeons are expected to join the Gooding Center this summer, to keep the full complement of pediatric neurosurgeons. This is a benefit for Jacksonville and the surrounding North Florida and South Georgia region since only 10-15 pediatric neurosurgeons complete their fellowship nationwide each year.
The Lucy Gooding Charitable Foundation Trust later gave an additional $2.5 million in 2009 to further develop the program.
On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, the Trust honored Dr. James with an endowed chair in his name valued at $2.5 million to be held at the Baptist Health System Foundation. These funds will be used to further grow the services and expertise of the Lucy Gooding Pediatric Neurosurgery Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. As faculty of the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville, these pediatric neurosurgeons engage in the education of residents (in neurosurgery and other pediatric specialties), clinical research, and the service of the neurosurgical needs of children in the region and beyond.
“Through his dedication, talent and hard work, Dr. James assembled a neurosurgical team that has developed into an outstanding program. In partnership with Nemours Children’s Clinic and UF, the program at Wolfson Children’s Hospital was recently recognized among the top pediatric neuroscience programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report,” says Philipp Aldana, MD, who succeeded Dr. James as chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. He was the first pediatric neurosurgeon recruited to develop the clinical programs at the Lucy Gooding Pediatric Neurosurgery Center. “The quality of our physicians and the pediatric neurosurgery program at Wolfson Children’s Hospital attract patients from the Southeastern United States and around the world due to its expertise. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. James and are proud that he has been honored by this endowed chair in his name that will ensure the future development of our program. Countless children’s lives will be impacted.”
The Lucy Gooding Charitable Foundation Trust was established in 1988 by Lucy B. Gooding, whose husband, Henry Gooding, was the Founder and President of the Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company. Its mission is to provide funds to organizations that provide services directly to children and that provide relief services to the community as a whole.