By Michael Haederle

New Chair Named for UNM Department of Neurology

Neurocritical Care Expert Michel Torbey Takes the Helm

Michel Torbey, MD, MPH, a nationally prominent stroke and neurocritical care expert, has been appointed chair of The University of New Mexico's Department of Neurology following a national search.

Torbey is a professor of neurology at The Ohio State University. He will join the UNM faculty part-time in September and assume his new duties full-time in January 2019, said Paul B. Roth, MD, MS, Chancellor for Health Sciences, CEO of the UNM Health System and dean of the UNM School of Medicine.

"Dr. Torbey brings a deep and varied background in both clinical neurology and neurological research," Roth said. "He is superbly equipped to lead the department in meeting the new challenges that lie on the horizon."

Torbey, who completed his undergraduate and medical school studies at American University of Beirut in Lebanon, has focused on hemorrhagic stroke and neurocritical care throughout his career, both as a clinician and a researcher. He wants New Mexicans to have access to cutting-edge treatments for neurological disorders.

"The focus is to make sure the patient is always at the center of everything we do," he said. "We want to make sure we're providing the patient with the latest and the best neurological care."

Following medical school, Torbey served a year of surgical residency in Beirut and another year of internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins before completing a neurology residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1999. He later spent two years as a neurocritical care fellow at Johns Hopkins before joining the faculty as an instructor and then assistant professor.

Torbey joined the faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2003 and moved on to Ohio State in 2011. There, as a tenured professor in the departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Neurosciences, he has served as medical director of the Neurocritical Care Unit at Wexner Medical Center, medical director of the Neurovascular Stroke Center and director of the Cerebrovascular and Neurocritical Care Division.

Torbey is a longtime officer and current president of the Neurocritical Care Society. He has also chaired the Critical Care and Emergency Neurology section of the American Academy of Neurology. Over the past decade he has received substantial grant funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and the Department of Defense for clinical trials and the study of brain injury treatments.

Torbey expects UNM will be home to the comprehensive stroke center for New Mexico. And thanks to a recent directive from the Legislature, he is preparing to raise funds and recruit faculty to staff a new movement disorders clinic. He also has high praise for UNM's Neurology faculty and staff.

"They really have done an amazing job over the past 30 years," he said. "They're already leaders in the state. We want to make sure they're leaders within the region and within the nation."

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