Ellen Air, MD, PhD, joins Mayfield Clinic & Spine Institute

Mayfield plays leading role in bringing more women into neurological surgery specialty

CINCINNATI - Ellen L. Air, MD, PhD, one of a small but growing number of female neurosurgeons in the United States, will join the Mayfield Clinic & Spine Institute on Sept. 6. Dr. Air will be the second female neurosurgeon to work for the esteemed physician organization and the first in 27 years.

Although women made up 48.3 percent of medical school graduates in 2010¹, they remain underrepresented in the specialty of neurological surgery. They represented 5.9 percent of the 3,612 board-certified neurosurgeons in the United States in 2010² and 13.5 percent of neurosurgery residents in 2009.³ The only residency specialty with a lower percentage of female residents in 2009 was orthopedic surgery, with 13.4 percent.

The Mayfield Clinic and the closely affiliated UC Department of Neurosurgery are playing a leading role in integrating more women into this challenging, prestigious field, in which doctors train six to eight additional years after medical school.

In 2010, Dr. Air and Marcella Madera, MD, became the second and third female residents - and the first all-female class -- to complete the Department of Neurosurgery’s demanding, six-year residency program, which was founded in 1946 and graduated its first neurosurgeons 1952. The neurosurgery residency program, which trains up to three residents per class, currently includes two additional women: fourth-year resident Lauren Ostling, MD, and first-year resident Katie Myers, MD.

Dr. Air brings impeccable credentials to Mayfield. "She is a well-trained, superb neurosurgeon, with 25 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters to her credit already," said Ronald Warnick, MD, Chairman of the Mayfield Clinic.

"Dr. Air’s intelligence, dedication and integrity are typical of the elite neurosurgeons Mayfield hires," said Mario Zuccarello, MD, the Frank H. Mayfield Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery. "She also demonstrates a collaborative spirit, intense scientific curiosity and composure under pressure."

Dr. Air, a native of the Cincinnati area, graduated from Northwestern University and completed doctorate and medical degrees at UC. She recently completed a fellowship in the neurosurgical treatment of epilepsy, movement disorders, and pain at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco. She is board-eligible with the American Board of Neurological Surgeons (ABNS).

At Mayfield Dr. Air will treat a wide range of neurological conditions and diseases affecting the brain, spine and peripheral nerves. She has particular expertise in the surgical treatment of epilepsy, facial pain, and adult and pediatric movement disorders, including dystonia. She also will perform minimally invasive cranial and spine surgery. She will see patients in Mayfield’s office at the UC Medical Arts Building and perform surgery at University Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and The Christ Hospital Spine Surgery Center.

In addition to building her private practice, Dr. Air will serve as Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at UC and as a member of the UC Epilepsy Center and the UC Neuroscience Institute.

Dr. Air’s professional memberships include the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, World Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Women in Neurosurgery, and the American Medical Association.

Ellen Air, MD, PhD


September 01, 2011

Cliff Peale
Communications Department