Frank Henderson Mayfield, MD

Neurosurgeon, Founder of Mayfield Clinic


Frank Mayfield was born in Garnett, South Carolina on June 23, 1908. Yet, most of his childhood years were enjoyed on a farm near Norlina, North Carolina, the family’s homeplace for seven generations. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina and planned for a career in public health until neurosurgery caught his interest. At the Medical College of Virginia, he was a student of Claude Coleman, a pioneer in neurosurgery. Mayfield is best known for his clinical interests in peripheral nerve and spine injuries, development of neurosurgical instruments, and medical politics.

On July 1, 1937 Mayfield moved to Cincinnati from Louisville to establish neurosurgery services at Good Samaritan Hospital. Within a year Mayfield had so many patients that he was often working 90 hours a week, with 7 to 8 cases a day and frequent late-night trips to rural hospitals. He had a driver and slept en route. He had to carry a large bag of neurosurgical instruments everywhere he operated. This sparked his ingenuity to invent instruments for the new field of neurosurgery.

Soon after arriving in Cincinnati, Mayfield was called to war. He served as Chief of Neurosurgery at Percy Jones Ge treated during this time. Senator Bob Dole was a patient.

After the war, Mayfield focused on resident education and assumed leadership roles in numerous medical associations. His clinical practice and partnership rapidly expanded. In the 1960’s Ohio law allowed limited partnerships but not professional corporations. Taxation and malpractice insurance led the group to challenge the IRS and file for incorporation. In 1971 Mayfield, Lotspeich, Hunter and Budde, Ltd. became the first physician group in Ohio to incorporate.

In the national arena of organized medicine, Mayfield and his colleagues wisely perceived that the neurosurgical profession in America did not possess a unified voice. As president of the Harvey Cushing Society, he addressed this issue by gathering his political forces and diplomatically making plans. During his Presidential Address in 1965, he proclaimed that henceforth the Harvey Cushing Society would be the official voice of neurosurgery in the United States. He went on to suggest that a sub name be added, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. The speech, which became known as the "Mayfield Proclamation," transformed the Cushing Society into the AANS.

Perhaps Frank Mayfield’s greatest local political impact was his three-decade crusade to defuse the town versus gown conflicts between the University and its private hospital competitors. In 1951 Mayor Cash asked Mayfield to join the UC Board of Directors with one charge – to make the community hospitals surrounding the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati General Hospital a part of the University Center. In 1967 Mayfield drafted a Master Plan for Walter Langsam, President of the University. At the time, UC was not ready for such a plan. Not until 1982 did changes in leadership allow elements of Mayfield’s Master Plan to come to fruition.

In 1973, upon his 65th birthday and by pre-arrangement, Mayfield yielded control of the practice. The group renamed the practice Mayfield Neurological Institute, Inc. in his honor. Today it is known as the Mayfield Clinic & Spine Institute.

Despite Frank's humble disavowal of personal credit for the many honors bestowed upon him, his ethics, vision, prodigious energy, and his total regard for the sanctity of friendship led his peers to call him "the neurosurgeon's neurosurgeon" and the "conscience of neurosurgery."


Undergraduate: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1925-27

Medical School: Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, 1927-31

Internship: Hospital Division, Medical College of Virginia, 1931-32

Residency: Neurosurgery, Medical College of Virginia, 1932-35


Board Certification

American Board of Neurological Surgery



1935-37 Instructor & Graduate Fellow, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

1937-42 Head, Section of Neurosurgery, Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio

1942-45 Chief, Neurosurgical Division, Percy Jones General Hospital, Battle Creek, Michigan (under General Norman Kirk), obtained rank of Lt. Colonel

1942-77 Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio

1946-77 Director, Graduate Training Program in Neurosurgery, Christ & Good Samaritan Hospitals, Cincinnati

1951-67 Appointed to Board of Directors, University of Cincinnati (on leave as member of faculty)

1945-91 University of Cincinnati College of Medicine: Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery, 1945-51; Clinical Professor of Surgery, 1967-78; Clinical Professor Emeritus, 1978-91

1939-82 Director, Department of Neurosurgery, The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati



1969 Distinguished Service Award, American Board of Neurological Surgery

1971 Doctor of Science (Honorary), University of Cincinnati

1976 Honored as “Man of the Year” by Ohio State N.S. Society

1976 Establishment of the Mayfield Education & Research Fund

1977 First recipient of Harvey Cushing Medal, American Association of Neurological Surgeons

1979 Honored Guest, Congress of Neurological Surgeons

1979 Distinguished Service Award, American Medical Association

1980 Great Living Cincinnatian Award, Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce

1981 Distinguished Service Award, Society of Neurological Surgeons

1982 Neurosurgeon of the Year, Surgical Neurology

1982 Dedication of The Mayfield Center for Surgical Neurology, Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati

1982 First recipient of Louis Nippert Award, Christ Hospital

1982 Mayfield-Aring Neuroscience Symposium established

1983 “The Mayfield Award” was established by Congress of Neurological Surgeons to be presented annually to a resident for a paper on Spine Research

1989 Frank H. Mayfield Society established (alumni association)



MAYFIELD aneurysm clip and clip applier, 1952
MAYFIELD horseshoe and general purpose headrest, 1967
MAYFIELD skull clamp, 1973


Professional Memberships

Society of Neurological Surgeons (President 1967)

Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati (President 1951)

American Association of Neurological Surgeons (President 1964, Delegate to AMA 1971-76)

American Academy of Neurological Surgery (President 1942)

American Board of Neurological Surgery (Chairman 1962)

American College of Surgeons, Fellow, 1938

American College of Surgeons, Committee on Trauma

American Association for the Surgery of Trauma

American Board of Neurological Surgery, Member 1958-64, Chairman 1962-64

Ohio State Medical Association (President, delegate to AMA 1967)

Ohio State Neurosurgical Society (President 1947)

Cincinnati Society of Neurology & Psychiatry (President)

Cincinnati Society of Neurology and Neurosurgery

Society of British Neurological Surgeons (Honorary)

Academia Mexicana de Cirugia, Corresponding Foreign Member

Alpha Omega Alpha

Former Member, Medicolegal Committee of AMA/ABA

World Federation of Neurological Societies, Honorary President, 1981

Elected to Membership in XEIRON, 1981

Florida Neurosurgical Society, Honorary Member, 1983

Frank Henderson Mayfield, MD 1908 - 1991

The founding partners
Mayfield, Lotspeich, Hunter & Budde, Ltd.

Mayfield Center

O. Bradford Butler, Sister Grace Marie Hiltz, Frank Mayfield, Roger Weseli at the dedication of The Mayfield Center for Surgical Neurology at Good Samaritan Hospital on May 14, 1982

mayfield aneurysm clips

MAYFIELD aneurysm clips (left) and
Drake modifications (right)

mayfield skull clamp

MAYFIELD skull clamp

Frank Mayfield Oak Street

Dr. Mayfield purchased a victorian mansion at 506 Oak Street in 1959 for his clinical offices. As new partners joined the group, a brass name plate was added to the portico. The house served as the Mayfield Clinic corporate office until 2015.