Growing up in a family of doctors and having his fair share of sports injuries, the newest addition to the USA Health neurosurgery team was exposed to medicine early in life. He once thought he might pursue a career as an orthopedic or trauma surgeon but shifted towards neurosurgery during medical school as he became fascinated with the brain and spine.

Published Aug 30th, 2019

By Lindsay Mott
lmott@health.southalabama.edu

Growing up in a family of doctors and having his fair share of sports injuries, the newest addition to the USA Health neurosurgery team was exposed to medicine early in life. He once thought he might pursue a career as an orthopedic or trauma surgeon but shifted towards neurosurgery during medical school as he became fascinated with the brain and spine.

“I gravitated towards complex spinal deformity, especially pediatric spinal deformity, because the surgeries are challenging and can completely change someone's life,” said Richard Menger, M.D., chief of complex spine surgery and assistant professor of neurosurgery. “I enjoy treating complex problems with direct solutions that can really help someone.”

Menger is originally from Garden City, New York, and earned his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in neurosurgery at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, Louisiana, followed by a formal orthopedic spinal deformity fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. He received a Master in Public Administration for the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Menger now joins USA Health, saying that he appreciates being a part of the culture of progress found here.

“I wanted to join an academic practice and help advance the field of complex spine surgery,” he said. “We want to build on the excellent work that's being done and leverage all the assets of an academic health system to provide leading-edge spine care in Mobile.”

His goal is for USA Health’s Center for Complex Spine Surgery to create an academic referral center for both pediatric and adult complex spine surgery.

This progress mindset falls in line his personal care philosophy: “Do the right thing at the right time because it’s the right thing to do.” Menger takes this to heart as a surgeon working to be his absolute best every single day.

“To me, this means learning the cutting edge surgical techniques, performing research, tracking patient outcomes, openly discussing cases with peers, and critically evaluating my performance with every case,” he said. “In other words, ‘What kind of doctor would I want my daughter to have?’”

Menger is also an assistant professor in the department of political science at the University of South Alabama and hopes to continue to grow his research. His work focuses on operative techniques, clinical outcomes, and the intersection of policy and economics on the delivery of spine surgery. He has authored numerous scientific papers in academic journals and is the lead editor of the textbook The Business, Policy, and Economics of Neurosurgery.

He and his wife, Beth Ann, and three daughters are excited to jump into all of the things that Mobile has to offer, including its proximity to the beach, sailing, and love of college football.

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