Endowed Lectureships


Robert Goodkin, M.D. Endowed Lectureship in Neurological Surgery

The purpose of this endowment shall be to bring to the University distinguished scholars in the field of neurological surgery to speak and teach at UW Medicine.

This endowment recognizes Dr. Robert Goodkin’s work and legacy.  Dr. Goodkin received his medical degree from The Chicago Medical School in 1964 and completed his residency in Neurosurgery at New York University Bellevue Medical Center in 1971. He joined the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington in 1987. During his tenure as a faculty member at UW Medicine, he was committed to resident training and quality assurance issues in addition to his research and practice as a physician. He wrote articles regarding medico-legal issues concerning complications related to surgery of the lumbar spine, some of which have been regarded as major articles on the subject. Dr. Goodkin was also involved in surgery with deep brain stimulators for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and movement disorders. From 2003 to 2007, he served as co-director of the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Center at the Harborview Medical Center of the University of Washington and was responsible for the neurosurgical care of patients undergoing Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery.

Early in his career, Dr. Goodkin's research efforts were focused on experimental traumatic spinal cord injury. His findings led to redefining the pathophysiology from the development/concept of "hematomyelia" to a "progressive ischemic necrosis" as the main process that occurs in complete traumatic spinal cord injuries. He was also involved in exploring various treatment paradigms in experimental traumatic spinal cord injury and in the advancement of skull base surgery for secondary tumors involving the skull base.

Dr. Goodkin received much recognition for his achievements and contributions. In 1989, he received a Commendation from the General of the Madigan Army Medical Center, where he served as Chief of Neurosurgery from 1987 to 1989. He was also honored by his colleagues when he was nominated and served as the President of the Neurosurgical Society of America during its 50th Anniversary in 1997 and 1998. In 2008, The Chicago Medical School awarded him the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. And, in 2010, Dr. Goodkin was appointed as an Associate Editor-in-Chief of a new neurosurgical open access journal, Surgical Neurology International.

Though he retired December 31, 2006, Dr. Goodkin continued to work on a reduced schedule at the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Center and in the Department of Neurological Surgery participating in patient care and resident teaching. He also acted as a consultant to the Medical-Legal Department of the VA.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Dr. Goodkin embodied medical excellence. He served as a role model and mentor to young physicians during their formidable years of training, including meticulous surgical technique and clinical judgment. From his graduation from medical school in 1964, to his senior faculty appointment in UW Medicine's Department of Neurological Surgery in 1987, Dr. Goodkin's dedication to the quest for knowledge has forever changed how neurological surgery is performed and evaluated.  He sadly passed away in 2012.

Goodkin Lecturers:

  • 2011  Howard P. Goodkin, MD, PhD
  • 2013  John A. Jane, Sr., MD, PhD, FRCS(C), FACS
  • 2014  Gerald D. Fischbach, MD
  • 2015  James I. Ausman, MD, PhD
  • 2016  Kim J. Burchiel, MD, FACS
  • 2017  H. Hunt Batjer, MD, FACS
  • 2018  Fredric B. Meyer, MD
  • 2019  Linda Liau, MD, PhD, MBA
  • 2022  Howard L. Weiner, MD, FACS, FAAP, FAANS
  • 2023  Edward F. Chang, MD

Fred Plum Endowed Lecture in Neurological Surgery

The purpose of this endowment shall be to bring to the University of Washington distinguished scholars in the field of neurological surgery.

In 1993, Nancy D. and Ellsworth C. “Buster” Alvord, a pioneer in the field of neuropathology at the UW School of Medicine, made a gift to establish a lectureship named after Fred Plum, MD.  Born in 1924, Dr. Plum established formative theories on consciousness and the treatment and diagnosis of comatose patients. Plum chose to pursue a career in neurology after his sister died of poliomyelitis while he was a teenager. He earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1944 and was awarded his medical degree from the Cornell University School of Medicine in 1947.

His first published paper was co-written with future Nobel Prize winner Dr. Vincent du Vigneaud. In 1953 at the age 29, he was recruited by Chair of Medicine, Robert Williams, MD, to head the Neurology Division of the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington and was the youngest person at the time to hold such a position. Because of his expertise in poliomyelitis, he developed a respiratory center at Harborview Hospital located between the neurology ward and the infectious disease ward that housed patients with acute polio. With August Swanson, MD, his first resident, he flew to Alaska to help in their polio epidemic. Because the most common cause of coma at that time was barbiturate overdose, an illness that often led to respiratory failure, neurology became the logical place to admit all comatose patients and, later, virtually all patients with alterations of consciousness. Dr. Plum’s groundbreaking paper “The Diagnosis of Stupor and Coma” (1966), written with Jerome Posner, provided techniques for evaluating and treating unconscious patients at a time when these methods were seldom explored in medical study because little technology existed with which to monitor the brain.

With Scottish neurosurgeon Bryan Jennett, Plum coined the phrase “persistent vegetative state” and developed the Glasgow Coma Scale, an objective way of documenting and monitoring the conscious state of a patient based on eye motion, and motor and verbal responses still used in evaluating the severity of a coma.  Plum also coined the term "locked-in syndrome" to describe a condition in which a patient is aware and awake but cannot move or communicate due to complete paralysis of most voluntary muscles in the body except for the eyes.

Throughout his career he advocated a patient’s right to die with dignity and promoted the use of living wills, which allow patients to express what level of treatment they would like to receive if they become unconscious. Issues of treatment for comatose patients were highlighted by the 1975 case of Karen Ann Quinlan, whose parents requested their irrevocably comatose daughter be taken off a respiratory system, and in which Plum was called as an expert witness. In 1994, he treated Richard M. Nixon after the former president suffered a stroke and credited Nixon's living will with allowing the former President to control his course of treatment with authority over how decisions were made at the end of his life.

Uttley-Richardson International Lectureship in Neurological Surgery

The purpose of this endowment shall be to bring to the University distinguished scholars to deliver lectures for faculty and residents in the field of neurological surgery. 

This lectureship was established in honor of renowned British neurosurgeons, David Uttley, FRCS and Alan E. Richardson FRCS.  Dr. Uttley held a faculty position as Clinical Professor Emeritus until 2006 at the University of Washington.  Dr. Richardson served on the faculty until his death in July 1998.  The lectureship honors both men and serves as permanent recognition of the close relationship between the University of Washington and Atkinson Morley’s Hospital at St. George’s Medical School in Wimbledon, England.  At one time, Neurological Surgery residents from the UW School of Medicine spent a year of their residency program at Atkinson Morley’s Hospital to receive academic training in an international clinical facility.