This month the PNA Spotlight focuses on Dr. Paul A. Gardner.

Paul A. Gardner, MD, joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery in 2008 after completing his residency and fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his undergraduate studies at Florida State University, majoring in biochemistry, and received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Gardner completed a two-year fellowship in endoscopic endonasal pituitary and endoscopic and open skull base surgery. His research has focused on evaluating patient outcomes following these surgeries and more recently on genomic and molecular analysis of skull base tumors. Dr. Gardner has been the neurosurgical director of the Center for Cranial Base Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center since April of 2008 and, along with Carl Snyderman, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Ophthalmology, leads a renowned course on endoscopic endonasal surgery three times a year.

His answers follow.

What inspired you to choose your career path?

The variety of deeply impactful effects of pituitary tumors as well as the intricate anatomy around the pituitary.

What is the primary focus of your work/research?

Patient outcomes including quality of life; genetic research into the sources of tumors as well as differences between different tumor types; impact of surgery of patients

What do you consider to be the future of your field?

Refining surgical techniques to lessen impact on patients and understanding the genetics of tumors to provide other treatment options

What should patients know about your field/what deserves more recognition/awareness?

Pituitary surgery is borne out of practice by multidisciplinary teams of ENT and neurosurgery. This kind of collaboration is not common in medicine but leads to better outcomes and even new approaches.

What would you like to convey about yourself to your patients?

I do my best to understand every person’s story. This helps me apply the knowledge and experience that I have attained over 20 years in practice to that individual to help them best achieve their health goals. This shared decision making allows me to honestly apply my treatments to the utmost of my ability in line with their wishes.

Why did you get involved with the PNA; what is the extent of your involvement?

I originally became involved after sitting in on a patient support group. I was very impressed with the PNA leadership and passion and inspired to further my work and research with pituitary and similar tumors. I have been involved in the PNA ever since, largely with lectures and promotional support with my and others’ patients.