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The history of Arizona's physicians is rich in mystery, controversy, innovation and pride. Since the settlers first inhabited the territory, physicians have been a part of Arizona's legacy. They helped shape the culture of this Great State and set the standard for the quality of care delivered to its citizens. The Physicians of Interest page on this website highlights the historical work of Arizona's physicians and the roles they played while shaping the State's future. The biography of a new physician will be added each month and in time, the page will represent a patchwork of the names and faces that brought medicine in Arizona to life.

John R. Green, M.D.

Best known for founding the Barrow Neurological Institute, John R. Green, M.D. left a legacy for those neurosurgeons he trained and for those to follow. His extraordinary talent brought relief to people suffering from neurological conditions. His dedication to the profession brought international acclaim to a self-started institute in the Valley.

John R. Green, M.D. received his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in 1941. He completed his residency in Chicago under the direction of Dr. Eric Oldberg, and then served military obligations in the Philippines in World War II. In 1947, Dr. Green moved to Phoenix and became Arizona's first neurosurgeon.

Within years of his arrival, he founded the Neurological Unit at the Arizona State Hospital. He established the first EEG laboratories at three area hospitals, including St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. In 1953, he became Chairman of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery at St. Joseph's.

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Green operated on Julia Barrow, removing much of a malignant brain tumor and extending her life for several years. To show his appreciation, Julia's husband, Charles Barrow, offered $500,000 toward Dr. Green's dream of founding a neurological institute in Arizona. The Sisters of Mercy, the founders of St. Joseph's, matched the sum. In 1962, Barrow Neurological Institute officially opened.

Dr. Green served as the medical director of Barrow for more than 25 years. During that time, Barrow evolved from a fledgling institute to a center of excellence with an international reputation. He directed the Institute until he retired in 1980, training 18 neurosurgeons. After his retirement in 1986, Dr. Green served as Senior Consultant, advising and raising funds for Barrow.

Besides exercising his administrative skills and clinical talents, Dr. Green also made seminal contributions to neurological research. In 1948, he introduced percutaneous cerebral angiography, which led to the elimination of open cut-down procedures. In an article in 1949, he first elucidated the direct anatomic connections between the frontal lobes and the hypothalamus. Among those who pioneered the surgical epilepsy, he first reported the surgical reversal of the psychotic behavior that accompanies psychomotor epilepsy. He actively pursued enhancements to the neurosurgical armamentarium throughout his career, and in 1972 described the first successful removal of an extensive arteriovenous malformation by microsurgery from the eloquent brainstem in the posterior fossa. Dr. Green received numerous awards and citations for his achievements and dedication, including the 1962 Maricopa Medical Society Joseph Bank Medal for founding the Barrow Neurological Institute.

During his medical career, Dr. Green also found time to be a co-founder of Epi-Hab Phoenix in 1958. He also served as Director of Epi-Hab USA, Inc., a non-profit self-sustaining corporation that employs epileptic, deaf and other challenged individuals. The Maricopa County Medical Society gave Dr. Green its Distinguished Service Award in 1958 for founding Epi-Hab Phoenix. Today, Epi-Hab Phoenix boasts over 80 full time employees who can handle any job, big or small.

Dr. Green died on January 16, 1990.

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