Jay Wellons MD, MSPH holds the Cal Turner Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery and is Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. He is a Professor in the Departments of Neurological Surgery, Pediatrics, Plastic Surgery, and Radiology and Radiological Sciences. He also is the Vice Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, Vice Chair for Clinical Research in the Section of Surgical Sciences, and serves as the Medical Director of the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids, which he co-founded in 2015. He also served as Program Director of the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program at Vanderbilt from 2014-2018.
He received a B.A in English from the University of Mississippi in 1991, his medical degree from the University of Mississippi Medical School in 1995, and completed his residency in neurologic surgery at Duke University Medical Center in 2001. This was followed by a one-year fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at the University of Alabama – Birmingham and the Children’s Hospital of Alabama. After his fellowship was complete in 2002, he remained on faculty at UAB for a total of 10 years, obtaining an MSPH during that time. He came to Vanderbilt in September of 2012.
Dr. Wellons has participated as a site investigator in two multi-institutional research networks centered on pediatric hydrocephalus and Chiari malformation surgical and patient-centered outcomes. His expertise in the surgical management of Chiari Malformation, congenital neurosurgery, intrauterine neurosurgery, and lesions of the brachial plexus has informed additional research endeavors evaluating health disparities, quality of life and in utero vs. post-natal surgery outcomes.
He has served on the editorial board of Journal of Neurosurgery – Pediatrics, Co-hosted the AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery Annual Meeting in Nashville in 2018, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons in the capacity of Treasurer.
In addition to his scientific writing, he has been a contributor to the New York Times Sunday Review, TIME, Garden and Gun Magazine, Fresh Air: NPR, and OprahDaily.com. His book All That Moves Us: A Pediatric Neurosurgeon, His Young Patients, and their Stories of Grace and Resilience with publisher Penguin Random House debuted in June of 2022. His non-scientific writing focuses specifically on his specialty of pediatric neurosurgery, but also the broader field of medicine and the profound lessons learned from the children and parents that he has cared for over the last 25 years.