2016 New Members

Rafael J. Tamargo, M.D., F.A.A.N.S., F.A.C.S.

Rafael J. Tamargo was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1958. His family fled Cuba in 1961 to escape Communism. He grew up in Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Puerto Rico. He graduated Class Valedictorian from the Academia del Perpetuo Socorro High School in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States in 1976 to attend Princeton University, graduating in 1980 with a degree in Biology Magna Cum Laude. He attended medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and graduated in 1984. He completed a General Surgery internship at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1985, and a Neurosurgery residency under Dr. Donlin Long at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1992. During the Neurosurgery residency, he completed an in-folded fellowship in Neurosurgical-Oncology under Dr. Henry Brem.

In 1992, Dr. Tamargo joined the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Department as an Assistant Professor. He has been at Johns Hopkins his entire career.. In 2004, he was promoted to full Professor in Neurosurgery and in Otolaryngology. His appointment in Otolaryngology was in recognition for his neuro-otologic contributions to the microsurgical management of vestibular schwannomas. In November of 2004, he was awarded and became the inaugural recipient of the Walter E. Dandy Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. He has been the Director of the Division of Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery since 2000, Vice-Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery since 2009, and Co-Director of the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit since 2011.

Dr. Tamargo’s clinical work has focused on the microsurgical treatment of aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, and moyamoya disease, as well as the microsurgical and radiosurgical treatment of skull base lesions, particularly vestibular schwannomas. His basic science research has focused on endothelial cell-leukocyte interactions (inflammation) after subarachnoid hemorrhage and polymeric controlled drug delivery. His clinical research has focused on microsurgical techniques, epidemiological features, and outcomes of aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, vestibular schwannomas, and skull base malignancies.. He was one of the developers of the controlled-release polyanhydride polymers with nitrosoureas for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. He was one of the earliest proponents of the critical role of inflammation in vasospasm and delayed ischemic injury after subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Dr. Tamargo has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and 30 chapters, is co-editor of three books, has reviewed for more than 15 major medical journals. He is the Cerebrovascular Section editor for Operative Neurosurgery and served on the editorial board of Surgical Neurology. Dr. Tamargo was the inaugural recipient of the Richard J. Otenasek Neurosurgery Faculty Teaching Award at Johns Hopkins in 1995.

Dr. Tamargo’s is a member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, the Neurosurgical Society of America, and the Society of Neurological Surgeons. He serves pro bono on the Medical Advisory Boards of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (Hanover, MA) and of the Acoustic Neuroma Association (Cumming, GA).

Dr. Tamargo enjoys dog training, clay target shooting, upland bird hunting, and fly-fishing. He has been married for 31 years to Teresa Altimont Tamargo. He has two sons, Rafael who is a medical student at Vanderbilt University, and Ian who is a medical student at Emory University.


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