World-renowned neurosurgeon leaving N.S. for Saskatchewan
Published Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:45PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:22PM AST
Dr. Ivar Mendez, an international authority on deep brain stimulation and neuroscience and a pioneer in the world of brain medicine, is leaving Nova Scotia for Saskatchewan.
“It’s been a privilege to realize a vision from scratch,” says Mendez, a native of Bolivia whose work began in Halifax 18 years ago.
Mendez’s vision has allowed him to develop robotic technology, uniting doctors and patients in different provinces.
“I was the head of neurosurgery for 12 years and I’ve been the chairman of the Brain Repair Centre for a decade,” he says. “It is time for new leadership to come and it is time to advance neurosurgery and neuroscience.”
Mendez isn’t leaving the profession, but he is leaving the province. He will soon become the head of surgery at the University of Saskatchewan, a position he says “entitles the overseeing all of the surgeons in the province.”
Out of all his accomplishments, he is most proud to say Nova Scotia is now known for its track record of innovation when it comes to brain repair and neuroscience.
“One of the things we’ve been able to do is change the perception of Nova Scotia,” he says.
“When I have a patient who has a tremor or a 15-year-old girl that cannot walk and I do an operation and they can walk again, that is a terrific moment."
Mendez’s announced departure comes almost five months after he was replaced as the head of the brain centre in Halifax – a facility he co-founded.
But Mendez says the move is in no way related to his replacement at the brain centre.
“I don’t leave with any angst or hard feelings. I’m actually proud of what we have accomplished here.”
Martha Crago, vice-president of research at Dalhousie University, says that after almost two decades, the timing is right for Mendez to pursue a new challenge.
"When researchers get to a certain point in their career, to a certain age in their career, they realize they are at a capacity to attract other things, and other opportunities present themselves," says Crago.
Mendez will begin the next chapter of his career in June. He also plans to take six members of his support staff with him.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth