The Legacy of The Brigham

Boston is the home of many prestigious universities and medical schools and a different medical center on almost every corner. You have MIT, Boston College, Harvard University, Boston Children’s, Mass General, and then there is the Brigham and Women’s Hospital which has been the mecca for neonatal neurology for more than 4 decades now.

Brigham and Women's Hospital has been the mecca for neonatal neurology for more than 4 decades now. Share on X

Names like Drs. Terry Brazelton, Heideliese Als, and Joseph Volpe all have ties back to one famous NICU, fondly known by locals as “The Brigham”.

The NICU team from The Brigham recently hosted their bi-annual Newborn Brain Symposium on the Convention Center on Boston’s Waterfront and drew together a group of nurses, therapists, psychologists, neurologists and neonatologists from around the world.

With the addition of Dr. Terrie Inder to the Brigham team a little over 5 years ago it should not surprise anyone that she would bring this conference back to life in her new home: Boston.

After nearly a decade hiatus since she first offered it in St. Louis while in tenure at Washington University. Capitalizing on their local talent, they had presentations from many of the global experts in topics ranging from genetics and metabolic disease to nutrition and neurosurgery who call Boston their home.




One of the highlights of this conference was the keynote presentation by Dr. Volpe.

He has been a pioneer in the field of neonatal neurology long before it was a popular topic and is probably the only person on earth who has read every single word of all 8 editions of his textbook, Volpe’s Textbook of Newborn Neurology, the only one dedicated exclusively to the comprehensive care of the newborn brain.

In his keynote presentation, Dr. Volpe simply and elegantly described the role of the oligodendrocyte in brain development and brain injury and categorized 5 primary pathways of vulnerability which individually and collectively are likely to explain much of the neurological impairments we see in our smallest babies. To say that I was enthralled by this presentation is an understatement. He is an amazing teacher and I was honored to be present for what might be one of the last lectures he chooses to give to a large audience. Dr. Inder, a protege of Dr. Volpe, is an equally talented teacher and we were lucky enough to have her present several presentations throughout the conference as well. My favorites were on the impact of pain and infection on the developing brain.

As part of the wrap-up on the first day, I was invited to present my perspectives on the expanding role of neonatal nurses in the neuro-intensive care nursery. It was an honor to be invited to The Brigham and to share the stage with so many neuro super-stars!!

Although I love presenting at conferences, I also love being able to meet new people, learn new things, and see old friends. This conference and trip to Boston was no exception. So many nurses are interested in the newborn brain and it was exciting to meet up with many of our ONE Conference planning committee, speakers and past attendees in Boston. Here is a quick photo I took outside the conference room before everyone left the meeting. Can’t wait to see you all in San Diego in 2019!!!

Wanting to expand your knowledge on baby brains? Check out my aEEG Mastery Course!

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