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Our Neurosurgery Team

Jeffrey P. Blount, MDJeffrey P. Blount, MD

Dr. Blount is Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Professor of Neurosurgery at UAB and the Raymond J. Harbert Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery. He is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery. He is President of the Medical Staff of Children’s of Alabama and a member of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgery, the American Epilepsy Society and the Pediatric Section of the AANS/CNS. Dr. Blount is the past chair of the Professional Advisory Council of the Spina Bifida Association of America and has recently completed service on the Accreditation Council of Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowships.

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James M. Johnston, MDJames M. Johnston, MD

Dr. Johnston is a Professor of Neurosurgery at UAB and the Dan L. Hendley Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery. He is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological surgery. He is Director of the UAB Global Neurosurgery Program, Children’s of Alabama Global Surgery Program and the UAB/COA Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship.

Dr. Johnston grew up in Colorado and attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia for undergraduate studies. He then received his M.D. degree from Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis in 2002 and completed Neurosurgery residency in the Washington University Department of Neurosurgery from 2003-2006. He pursued post-doctoral training in functional and diffusion tensor MR imaging at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology Neuro-Imaging Laboratories from 2006-2008. During this time, he also served as neurosurgical registrar at the National Referral Centre for Neurosurgery, Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Ireland from July to December 2007. Dr. Johnston was then named Chief Resident in Neurosurgery at Barnes Hospital from 2008-2009 and went on to complete fellowship training in pediatric neurosurgery at Saint Louis Children's Hospital in 2010.

He is a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, International Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons and the Children’s Oncology Group.

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W. Jerry Oakes, MDW. Jerry Oakes, MD- Professor Emeritus

W. Jerry Oakes was born and raised in DeSoto, Missouri and pursued his undergraduate university education  at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He completed his medical school training and neurosurgery residency at Duke University. During his residency, he spent a year in Toronto, first in neurology and then in pediatric neurosurgery at the Hospital for Sick Children. Following the completion of his residency, he spent the next year in Europe; first at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London and then in Zurich with Professor Gazi Yasargil.

Returning to Duke, he spent the next fourteen years, developing the pediatric neurosurgical service. In 1992, he and his family relocated to Birmingham, Alabama and the Children's Hospital where he assumed the directorship of the Section of Pediatric Neurosurgery. Dr. Oakes is currently the UAB Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Neurosurgery. In the past twenty-four years, he has served as the Division Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Chief of Staff of Children’s Hospital of Alabama and Chief of Surgery at Children’s of Alabama. Nationally he has served as the editor in chief of Journal of Neurosurgery; Pediatrics and president of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons. He served many years on the American Board of Pediatric Neurosurgery first as a director and then as vice-chair.

W. Jerry Oakes has retired and is no longer seeing patients in clinic or performing surgeries.

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Curtis J. Rozzelle, MDCurtis J. Rozzelle, MD

Curtis J. Rozzelle is Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of the UAB Department of Neurosurgery Residency Program.  He grew up in Western North Carolina and attended Duke University as an undergraduate.  He then served as an artillery officer in the United States Army in Germany. He received his MD degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University and then completed residency in Neurosurgery at UAB School of Medicine.  Dr. Rozzelle went on to complete fellowships in Pediatric Neurosurgery at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Branch, in Dallas and epilepsy surgery at the University Of South Florida College Of Medicine in Tampa. Dr. Rozzelle is a member of the Society of Neurosurgeons, American Epilepsy Society, American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons, and the Pediatric Section of the AANS/CNS, and is active in the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies. He is board-certified by both the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery.

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Brandon Rocque, MDBrandon Rocque, MD

Brandon G. Rocque is Professor of Neurosurgery at UAB, Director of Clinical Research, and Associate Program Director of the UAB Neurosurgery Residency. His primary focus is pediatric neurosurgery, including care for hydrocephalus, spina bifida, pediatric brain tumors, spasticity, peripheral nerve injuries, and Chiari malformation. In addition, Dr. Rocque practices general adult neurosurgery at the Birmingham VA Medical Center, with a focus on care for spinal disorders. He is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, and is an active member of the AANS, CNS, the Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery, and the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons.

Dr. Rocque was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. He attended the University of Georgia, where he was a member of the NCAA top-ten men’s swim team and graduated summa cum laude with majors in chemistry and biology. He received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis and went on to neurosurgery residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. During residency, he completed a Master’s Degree in Clinical Investigation. Dr. Rocque spent an additional year in Madison for a fellowship in Complex and Reconstructive Spinal Surgery prior to completing his training with the renowned pediatric neurosurgery fellowship at Children’s of Alabama.

Dr. Rocque’s research focuses on improving the experience of care for children with neurosurgical conditions and their families. He has received multiple competitive grants for his work to improve the transition process from pediatric to adult care for individuals with spina bifida. He received a UAB CCTS KL2 award to support his research on distress and psychosocial risk among families of children with newly diagnosed brain tumors. In addition to those ongoing projects, Dr. Rocque is exploring the psychological effects of a lifetime of neurosurgical encounters for children with hydrocephalus.

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Nurse Coordinators

Nadine Bradley RN, BSNNadine Bradley RN, BSN

Nadine Bradley grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and immigrated to Alabama. She is a graduate of  Samford University School of Nursing in 1997.  She initially worked as the coordinator in the Neurosurgery Clinic. Her talent was immediately recognized by the Neurosurgery team and we were privileged to have her join the Pediatric Neurosurgery team in 2004. She functions primarily as the Nurse Clinician for Dr. James Johnston.


Jessica Gore, RN,BSNJessica Gore, RN, BSN

Jessica grew up in Hueytown, Alabama and currently resides in Alabaster, AL. She is a graduate of University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing in 2012, receiving her BSN degree. She has been a nurse at Children's since June 2012, spending the last 6 years in the operating room with experience in neurosurgery, orthopedics, and ENT surgery. She transferred to the neurosurgery team in December 2019, where she functions primarily as the nurse clinician for Dr. Curtis Rozzelle.


Casey Lee, RNCasey Lee, RN

Casey Lee is from Meridian, MS. She graduated from the University of Alabama in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in business but decided to change careers shortly thereafter. She received an ADN from Jefferson State Community College in 2012. She has worked at COA since 2011 starting as a clinical assistant while in nursing school and continuing as a nurse in Med-Surg and Surgical Services. She joined the Pediatric Neurosurgery team in August 2021 where she functions primarily as the nurse clinician for Dr. Brandon Rocque.


Heather Rush RN, BSNHeather Rush RN, BSN

Heather grew up in Tuscaloosa, AL. She attended UAB and graduated in 2014 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She has worked at Children's since 2013. After she received her nursing degree, she worked on the medical surgical floor at Children's until 2015 where she joined the operating room, specializing in neurosurgery. In January 2021, she joined the Pediatric Neurosurgery team where she functions primarily as the nurse clinician for Dr. Jeffrey Blount.



Research Staff

Anastasia Arynchyna, MPHAnastasia Arynchyna, MPH, CCRP

Anastasia Arynchyna is the Research Manager of Pediatric Neurosurgery. Anastasia grew up in Minsk, Belarus. She has graduated with Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and Masters in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health Policy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2012. She joined our team in 2011. She plays an essential part in improving and expanding the research efforts in the division. Her duties range from study design, regulatory compliance to manuscript preparation. She is also our site coordinator for the HCRN and the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium. Her research interests include prematurity, non-accidental trauma and spina bifida. Anastasia enjoys working and mentoring medical and graduate students interested in clinical research.

HCRN Research Coordinator


Tori CaudillCaroline (Tori) Caudill

Tori is a Research Coordinator II for Pediatric Neurosurgery. She graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience in 2019 and has spent the last few years as a research assistant in various departments including Nephrology and Pediatric Oncology. She loves developing research questions, assisting with research design, presenting research, and learning about the brain (especially in relation to behavior and psychology). She is planning on pursuing a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience.


Betsy Hopson, MSHABetsy Hopson, MSHA

Betsy Hopson is the Program Coordinator of the Spina Bifida Program at Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has been instrumental in managing multi-disciplinary programs for patients with chronic multifaceted conditions. She has also been an integral part of developing and maintaining national registries designed to improve patient outcomes and standardize care through the creation of national networks. She most recently has become a leader in the Spina Bifida community for her efforts toward creating a model for positive, optimal transition.

Betsy has a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management from Huntingdon College and is a graduate candidate for a Master’s of Science in Healthcare Management in May 2014. She has spent the last 7 years conducting research on various topics relating to Spina Bifida care and etiology. She also serves as the President of the Spina Bifida Association of Alabama and serves on several national committees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Spina Bifida Association. She received the Outstanding Spina Bifida Champion Award from the Spina Bifida Association as well as the SBA Partnership Collaboration Award in June 2011.