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Pittsburgh Neurosurgeons Join UPMC Hamot

Drs. Brad Bellotte and Raymond Sekula Will Enhance Hamot’s Trauma, Spine and Cranial Nerve Surgery Programs

ERIE, Pa., March 16 – UPMC announced today that two renowned neurosurgeons – J. Brad Bellotte, M.D., and Raymond F. Sekula, Jr., M.D., both formerly of West Penn Allegheny Health System, are relocating to Erie to join the staff of UPMC Hamot.

Dr. Bellotte, who had been the director of complex spine surgery, neurotrauma, and neurosurgical intensive care at Allegheny General Hospital, will become chief of neurosurgery at UPMC Hamot, effective July 1.

Dr. Sekula, formerly co-director of AGH’s Center for Cranial Nerve Disorders, joined Hamot on March 14 as director of the hospital’s Cranial Nerve Disorders Program and director of microvascular and skull base neurosurgery. Both physicians are frequently invited lecturers around the world.

“UPMC Hamot welcomes these two renowned and specialized neurosurgeons to our world-class medical staff,” said John Malone, president and CEO of UPMC Hamot. “Their expertise will bolster the superior quality neurosurgical program already in place at Hamot.”

“The recruitment of Drs. Bellotte and Sekula from Pittsburgh to Erie demonstrates UPMC’s commitment to helping Hamot attract the best specialists to enhance Hamot’s capabilities as the Erie region’s premier tertiary care center,” said Elizabeth Concordia, executive vice president, UPMC, and president, Hospital and Community Services Division. UPMC completed its formal affiliation with Hamot on Feb. 1. “More local neurosurgery patients will be able to stay at Hamot instead of having to go out of town for advanced treatment. Likewise, the advanced specialty care will attract patients from outside the region. For example, almost half of Dr. Sekula’s patients travel in from other states throughout the country.”

Dr. Bellotte is a graduate of West Virginia University School of Medicine and completed his residency and fellowship training in cranial nerve surgery at AGH. As an example of his stature in the field of spinal surgery, Dr. Bellotte recently was called to India to operate on a patient with a complex spine problem. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and is a frequent presenter at national meetings on various neurosurgical issues involving brain and spine injuries and conditions. His professional memberships include the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, North American Spine Society, Pennsylvania Neurosurgical Society, and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). He serves various active roles on the AANS Young Neurosurgeons Committee.

Dr. Sekula earned his medical degree from Georgetown University and completed advanced training in neurological surgery at the Allegheny Neuroscience Institute, Drexel University, including fellowships in minimally invasive neurosurgery, and skull base and microvascular surgery. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals concerning a variety of topics including trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm, Chiari malformation, cerebral aneurysms, tumors of the brain and spinal cord, traumatic injury of the brain and spinal cord, stereotactic radiosurgery, and adult neural stem cells. In his research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Sekula has developed one of the largest operative experiences with microvascular decompression surgery for patients with trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm and other cranial neuralgias in the United States. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Advisory Board of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association and the Hemifacial Spasm Association.

“I am thrilled to have two new distinguished neurosurgeons be part of the UPMC Neurosurgery faculty,” added Robert Friedlander, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Drs. Bellotte and Sekula will see patients at the Great Lakes Neurosurgery and Neurointervention office, 300 State St., in Erie. For an appointment, patients may call (814) 877-5330. For more information, go to www.UPMCHamot.com

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