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Neurosurgery Resident Dr. Brett Youngerman Wins Prestigious Fellowship to the Washington Committee

Surgery, research, patient consultation—these are all things you expect your neurosurgeon to take part in. But Columbia neurosurgery resident Dr. Brett Youngerman is about to do something you might not expect. He’s off to spend two years working on health policy, representing neurosurgery in health care legislation and regulation.

Dr. Youngerman has been appointed to serve with the Joint Washington Committee for Neurological Surgery, a group that acts as neurosurgery’s “voice” in Washington. In other words, the Washington Committee makes sure the concerns of neurosurgeons are heard and taken into account.

This prestigious two-year appointment will allow Dr. Youngerman to delve into the policy side of healthcare. He plans to study the ways in which insurance models and delivery systems affect access to health care and, in turn, how these factors influence neurosurgical practice and patients.

Competition for this fellowship is steep—in fact, only one is awarded at a time. Dr. Youngerman’s work and background make him more than qualified for this opportunity to study the ways politics, economics and health care intersect. He holds a B.A. from Yale in ethics, politics and economics, with a concentration in health policy, and he worked in the U.S. Senate on health care issues prior to coming to Columbia for his medical degree. He is now a sixth-year neurosurgery resident at Columbia, about to complete a master’s degree in patient-oriented research from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

If that background isn’t impressive enough, only applicants who served as socioeconomic fellows in the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies (CSNS) are able to apply for the fellowship. Dr. Youngerman recently completed a year as one of 12 CSNS socioeconomic fellows, during which he worked on ways to bring high-quality care to more patients and to help patients get access to neurosurgeons through their insurance networks.

Dr. Youngerman will serve with the Joint Washington Committee for Neurological Surgery for two calendar years, 2018 and 2019, during which he will travel to attend committee meetings four times a year. He will also represent neurosurgery twice a year at meetings of the American Medical Association Resident and Fellow Section, an advocacy group of residents and fellows within the AMA. Dr. Youngerman’s fellowship will cover the cost of his attendance at the meetings.

Because the fellowship is not a full-time position, Dr. Youngerman will remain in his residency at Columbia during his term. He is excited to serve on the Washington Committee and learn more about how to advocate for neurosurgery and neurosurgery patients.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to participate on the Washington Committee and represent neurosurgery in the American Medical Association Resident and Fellows Section. It will be a privilege to learn from many of the leaders in our field who take time out of their important clinical and academic work to examine current policies and advocate for the best interests of neurosurgery and our patients. I hope the experience allows me to be a better informed and more effective researcher and advocate.”

We are excited too! Congratulations, Dr. Youngerman, on your prestigious appointment to the Washington Committee. We look forward to hearing about your continued work in advocating for neurosurgery and our patients.

Learn more about Dr. Youngerman and all our residents here.

patient journey

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