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PNA Spotlight: Dr. Daniel Kelly

By Suzanne Potter, PNA Editor

Dr Dan Kelly 191The PNA Spotlight shines on Dr. Daniel Kelly this month, because he is the recipient of the PNA's highest honor: the Gentle Giant Award. The PNA bestowed the award at the Gentle Giant reception at the Loews Santa Monica Hotel on Friday January 30th. The dinner preceded the PNA's California Hormonal and Pituitary Patient Health Symposium, which was held on Saturday January 31st.


The PNA chose Dr. Kelly for this award because of his exemplary accomplishments in the field of pituitary neurosurgery. He is a board certified neurosurgeon, and is Director of the Brain Tumor Center at Providence Saint John's Health Center and Professor of Neuroscience and Neurosurgery at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. Dr. Kelly is a reknowned neurosurgeon who has won many awards. He is internationally recognized in the field of minimally invasive keyhole surgery for brain, pituitary and skull base tumors. As a practicing neurosurgeon for decades, he has performed thousands of endonasal surgeries, including more than 700 endonasal endoscopic surgeries, and more than 1600 craniotomies for brain and skull base tumors. His current surgical practice encompasses the full spectrum of brain and skull base tumors, both benign and malignant, treated with minimally invasive and conventional approaches.

Dr. Kelly was an early supporter of the PNA who has been on the Board of Directors and is now on the PNA's Scientific Advisory Panel. PNA founder Bob Knutzen said, "He has been a stalwart supporter of the PNA and its goals for many years. He's one of the key individuals in all the PNA's efforts, in the past and going forward."

The PNA lauds Dr. Kelly for his work to establish Pituitary Centers of Excellence. Bob Knutzen added, "A Center of Excellence brings together all the things that play a part in pituitary medicine: including psychological, medical, surgical, fertility issues and more."

Dr. Kelly grew up in Littleton, Colorado, outside of Denver. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Claremont McKenna College in Southern California. He then moved on to medical school at Georgetown University in the nation's capital from 1982-1986. He then set out for New York City and an internship in general surgery at Saint Vincent's Hospital in the West Village. Dr. Kelly went on to do his residency training in neurosurgery back in D.C. at George Washington University, where he spent six years studying under his mentor, Dr. Ed Laws, who is also a good friend of the Pituitary Network Association.

In 1993, Dr. Kelly accepted a position as Assistant Professor at UCLA, where he remained for 14 years. He founded the pituitary program at Harbor UCLA, a county hospital, with Drs. Larry Swerdloff and Christina Wang. Their practice focused on the comprehensive treatment of pituitary patients –with an emphasis on strong collaboration between the neurosurgeon and endocrinologist. Dr. Kelly now brings the same approach to the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's, which was a part of UCLA until 1991.

Dr. Kelly said, "Pituitary medicine is at the crossroads of endocrinology and neurosurgery. A multidisciplinary approach is needed. If you don't have that, the patients aren't well-served."

Dr. Kelly helped establish a patient support group at Saint John's in 2007 with PNA columnist and former Cushing's Patient Sharmyn McGraw He is also the driving force behind the annual California Pituitary and Endocrine Conference.

Dr. Kelly continues to be involved with the PNA, including us in all of his conferences and symposia. He adds, "The PNA is by far the most visible and most important patient support group for people with pituitary disorders. It has done a fantastic job of raising awareness about a part of the body that most people don't know anything about. To Bob's credit, when you type pituitary into google, the PNA is always the first to come up." The PNA's response? The admiration is mutual!


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