Neurology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso has a long track of providing excellent patient care since its beginning on our campus in 1972. At the time, neurology and psychiatry formed part of the same department. The Department of Neurology was created as an independent department in 2011 and I joined the school of medicine as the founding chair in 2013.
We are living interesting, challenging, and very exciting times as we have been able to grow into the biggest neurology practice in this city and the only academic neurology group in a 500 mile radius. To put this growth in context, in January 2013 the department had 3 full time faculty members that is 2 neurologists and 1 nurse practitioner, we did not have a residency program and offered little hospital consultation coverage with the bulk of the clinical activity in the outpatient clinic. As of October 2020 our department has 12 fulltime faculty in different subspecialty areas including general neurology, vascular neurology, neurocritical care, neurophysiology, epilepsy, neuromuscular diseases, neuro-ophthalmology, and neuro endovascular intervention. In addition, our team includes 8 nurse practitioners that support the outpatient clinic, the neurocritical care unit and the neuroendovascular intervention service. In collaboration with the University Medical Center of El Paso we opened the first neurocritical care unit fully staffed by neurointensivists and help the hospital become the only Joint Commission accredited Comprehensive Stroke Center in the region. More recently, we opened our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit with the goal to become a Level III Epilepsy Center in the next two years. Our outpatient footprint is also growing. About 2 years ago, we opened the only ALS clinic in the region and will be seeking recognition by the ALS society in the months to come.
Academically, we started a neurology residency currently with three positions per year and graduated our 3rd cohort of residents in July 2020 with most of our resident graduates continuing their training in excellent fellowships. Our faculty and residents have presented their research in national and international meetings. We have established weekly combined neurology, neurosurgery and neuroradiology conferences, morning reports, monthly Grand Rounds and more recently a multidisciplinary Tumor Board. I have been exceptionally fortunate to have such a cohesive team that took on our vision to become the trusted choice for neurological care, research and education in the region.
Yet, there is much more to be done. As I look to the future, I envision the expansion of the residency program, the beginning of fellowship programs, the accreditation of our neurophysiology lab, the accreditation of an epilepsy center, the creation of a pediatric neurology division and a Multiple Sclerosis Center, and the beginning of an advance practice provider neurology residency, all of which will help fulfill our vision and will increase access to neurological care for our community.
It is indeed an exciting time full of opportunity, you can join us in the effort as a trainee, Faculty, Advance Practice Provider, or Staff, or you can support our cause to fulfill our goals, what say you?
Salvador Cruz-Flores, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Neurology
Chairman, Department of Neurology