A Classroom Manner as Good as His Bedside Manner: Society of Neurological Surgeons Honors Dr. Quest

Congratulations to Columbia Professor of Neurosurgery and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Donald O. Quest! A new award singles him out as the most effective teacher of neurosurgery in North America. We at The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York are very proud.

The oldest neurosurgical professional organization in the world, the Society of Neurological Surgeons, has chosen Dr. Quest to be the inaugural recipient of its Medical Student Teaching Award.

The award presentation took place in front of a backdrop featuring pictures of Dr. Quest. “No contemporary neurosurgeon has influenced so many people to choose a career in neurosurgery,” the caption read.

Dr. Paul McCormick, Director of The Spine Hospital at The Neurological Institute of New York, had this to say about Dr. Quest:

“It has been a delight for me to have Don as a mentor, colleague, and friend since I first began my residency in 1984. He personifies the values, principles, work ethic, and commitment to the science and practice of neurosurgery. For so many of us Don has been a role model and advocate, not just during medical school and residency but also throughout our careers. He is a true ambassador of neurosurgery- respectful of our past, deeply focused on the present, and dedicated to our future. When asked why Columbia University is so successful in attracting medical students to pursue a career in neurosurgery, I answer in two words, ‘Don Quest.’”

Like patients, medical students hope for more than technical expertise from their doctors. Dr. Quest goes above and beyond for his patients and students, offering thoughtfulness, kindness and a deep commitment to the individuals involved.

Dr. Quest shows his students the importance of respect for patients. He tells them that doctors and patients are a “team.” Doctors should listen carefully to patients and “not interrupt them.” As a team, they work together to come to a decision about the best method of management.

Dr. Quest mentors 30 students from each medical school class each year. One student, Michael Cloney, says the environment Dr. Quest has created with his colleagues is inviting to students who want to join in high-level research.

Dr. Quest has been widely recognized for his excellence as a neurosurgeon. But not all brilliant surgeons can be great teachers. Dr. Quest’s dedication to teaching has everything to do with the kind of doctor—and the kind of person—he is.

Learn more about Dr. Quest on his bio page here.

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