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Niswonger Children’s Hospital, East Tennessee Brain and Spine Center bring pediatric neurosurgery services to Tri-Cities


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Officials from Niswonger Children’s Hospital and Mountain States Health Alliance announced today a major development in the expansion of high quality specialized services for children. In partnership with East Tennessee Brain and Spine Center, the hospital is launching a pediatric neurosciences program with the introduction of Dr. Valentine T. Nduku, who comes to the area from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Nduku will join East Tennessee Brain and Spine Center to provide advanced neurosurgical services at Niswonger Children’s Hospital as the region’s first pediatric neurosurgeon. In partnership with Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Nduku will help lead efforts to establish and build the region’s first pediatric neurosciences program.

Nduku’s practice will treat the full spectrum of pediatric neurosurgery needs, including epilepsy and seizure disorders, congenital neurological diseases, and pediatric head trauma. He is currently covering trauma call one weekend per month at Johnson City Medical Center and will officially join East Tennessee Brain and Spine Center full time October 1.

“It will be a privilege and an honor to serve this community as a pediatric and general neurosurgeon,” said Nduku. “I look forward to joining East Tennessee Brain and Spine Center and Mountain States Health Alliance to provide excellent service and quality care to the people of this region.”

Nduku is currently completing his specialized fellowship training at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which is affiliated with Niswonger Children’s Hospital. The most recent rankings from US News and World Report place Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Neurosurgery and Neurology program as the 4th best in the nation among all children’s hospitals, and overall rank 10 of the specialties at Cincinnati Children’s as among the best in the nation. In addition to its affiliation with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Niswonger Children’s Hospital is also one of only six children’s hospitals in the nation to be affiliated with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“In the past, more than 60 percent of children in our area with neuro-related diagnoses have had to receive their health care services outside the Tri-Cities,” said Steven Godbold, CEO of Niswonger Children’s Hospital. “We are the only children’s hospital between Knoxville and Roanoke, and we believe our children and families deserve to be able to receive high quality services from the best-trained neurosurgeon right here at home.

“Not only have we found a high quality doctor, but we recruited him from one of the best pediatric neuroscience programs in the nation. This is a huge win for families in the Tri-Cities, and I’m proud that Niswonger and Mountain States Health Alliance have made this a priority. I also want to thank the physicians associated with East Tennessee Brain and Spine Center. Their devotion to quality and partnership is going to help make our region a leader in the neurosciences.”

“We are very excited to add pediatric neurosurgery to our practice and to the community,” said Dr. David Wiles, president of East Tennessee Brain and Spine Center. “Our goal as a practice has always been to provide a comprehensive service. By partnering with Mountain States Health Alliance to recruit Dr. Nduku, we will be much closer to that goal. The people of this region will benefit greatly by being able to get the care they need closer to home.”

Nduku’s recruitment represents an example of the focus Mountain States Health Alliance is placing on expansion of pediatric specialties at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

“A key measure of a community is how it cares for its most vulnerable children,” said Alan Levine, president of Mountain States Health Alliance. “And thanks to Scott and Nikki Niswonger and the many supporters of the Children’s Hospital, we are now in a position, as a community, to invest in the growth of this precious regional asset. We plan to make expansion of access and services for children a key priority of Mountain States Health Alliance, and plan to make some announcements on this initiative in the coming weeks.”

Nduku’s other areas of interest include brain diseases and spinal disorders, including hydrocephalus, complex and simple craniostenosis, brain and spinal tumors, spina bifida and congenital malformations, Chiari malformations and syringomielia, vascular malformations, and trauma.

Nduku graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry, and completed his doctor of osteopathic medicine training at the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his internship at Michigan State University and his residency in osteopathic medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Nduku is a member of the American Medical Association and the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons – Neurosurgery.

Nduku’s practice can be reached at (423) 232-8301 for appointments or more information. To learn more about East Tennessee Brain and Spine Center, visit www.etbscenter.com. For more information about Niswonger Children’s Hospital, call (423) 431-4847 or visit www.msha.com/children.

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