Nagagopal Venna appointed chief at Massachusetts General Hospital

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Dr. Nagagopal Venna (Courtesy: Nagagopal Venna)

NEW YORK – Dr. Nagagopal Venna has been appointed as the chief of the newly-created Division of Neuro-Immunology and Neuro-Infectious Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital, primarily working in the neurology department’s inpatient and outpatient services.

Venna is a distinguished neurologist in Boston and has just completed 20 years of service at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the flagship medical institution for Harvard Medical School and one of the best hospitals in the country.

Prior to joining Massachusetts General Hospital, Venna was the director of Clinical Neurology in the Neurological Unit at Boston City Hospital for 18 years.

His appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital comes with the recognition of his leading role in the rapidly expanding specialty field within neurology, which is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of patients affected by unusual autoimmune disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

Venna leads a team of bright, young and mid-career academic neurologists who are working in collaboration with researchers in related clinical and basic science fields to develop earlier diagnosis and rapid treatment of the variety of some newly-recognized neurological disorders.

Venna is also the founder and director of the Fellowship in Advanced General and Autoimmune Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital where he practiced and trained several neurologists in the specialized field of Autoimmune Neurology for 10 years, providing advanced training to over 20 young neurologists.

Autoimmune Neurology encompasses an ever-expanding group of neurological diseases that are unusual and often difficult to diagnose as they are caused by one’s own disordered immune system attacking nervous tissues of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves in various combinations and resulting in serious and complex disabilities.

The Fellowship is also dedicated to the comprehensive and compassionate care of patients with other complex and often previously unsolved diagnoses.

A component of the new division that Venna now heads at Massachusetts General Hospital is the section of Neuro-Infectious Diseases for the diagnosis and care of infections and infection-related complications of the nervous system including those caused by HIV.

His involvement in this rapidly changing and complex field of neurological complications and disabilities associated with HIV, started with some of the first cases of HIV-AIDS in the Boston area in the early 1980s while he was director of Clinical Neurology at the Neurological Unit of Boston City Hospital, which naturally lead to establishing the first HIV Neurology subspecialty clinic in association with an Infectious Diseases department at Massachusetts General Hospital 20 years ago.

Today, Venna continues to direct this section providing world class comprehensive care for people affected by neurological infections.

In these 20 years, Venna trained and mentored many neurology residents, inspiring them to pursue neuro-infectious diseases as long term career path while he taught and trained the over 20 Fellows of the infectious diseases in the neurological complications of variety of infections in addition to HIV.

Venna has been recognized for his dedication and excellence as teacher, educator and mentor for generations of neurologists.

In 2014, he was honored by being appointed as Master Clinician-Educator for the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital to help guide and train future neurologists in the science and art of Neurology.

Venna also leads a select group of senior and junior neurology faculty physicians in the Partners Residency Training Program in Neurology at MGH-Harvard Medical School, who excel in, and are dedicated to train as well as inspire trainees in the best skills and practices.

Venna’s teaching in Neurology has also received the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Boston University School of Medicine where he worked for 18 years and his portrait is now a permanent part of the Boston University Medical School library and the Sherman Auditorium at the main campus of Boston University.

He was also selected many times for the Teacher of the Year Award in Neurology by both Boston City Hospital at Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard.

Venna has also had the honor of leading and teaching in the “Chief’s Rounds” in the neurology department at Massachusetts General Hospital, which was held every two weeks, where trainees would bring in and present cases of patients admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital neurology service and were selected for the complexity of their disorders.

Excellence in the care of patients with disorders of the nervous system has been the central focus of Venna’s career.

Venna has been selected as the Best Doctors in America by his peers for many years now since 1997 and was honored by the Brian McGovern Award for Clinical Excellence in 2007, an award across all specialties of Medicine and Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Venna is an alum of Guntur Medical College in India, and did his post-graduate training and experience in Internal Medicine in Ireland leading to the Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in Ireland and UK.

He considers Dr. Thomas Sabin, at the Neurological Unit of Boston City Hospital, which is considered the “Cradle of American Neurology,” as his chief mentor.