Steven L. Galetta, MD, Appointed Chair of the Department of Neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center

Laura Balcer, MD, MSCE, Joins As Vice Chair

June 27, 2012 - 3:15pm

NYU Langone Medical Center announced today that Steven L. Galetta, MD, has been appointed the Philip K. Moskowitz, MD Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, and Laura Balcer, MD, MSCE, has been appointed vice chair of the department. The appointments are effective November 1, 2012.

A nationally recognized leader in neurology and medical education, Dr. Galetta joins NYU Langone from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) where he is the Ruth Wagner Van Meter and J. Ray Van Meter Professor of Neurology, vice chair of the department, and director of the Division of Neuro-Ophthalmology. During his tenure at Penn, Galetta led the Department of Neurology residency program for an unprecedented 23 years. He also leads the neuro-ophthalmology fellowship program and serves as associate dean of admissions of the medical school.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Galetta as chair of neurology,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO at NYU Langone. “As one of today’s leading clinical neurologists, he brings a depth and breadth of experience and expertise in neurology, neuro-ophthalmology, and program development, making him the ideal chairperson to lead our already stellar department to even greater heights.”

Often noted for his abilities as an educator, Dr. Galetta has received nearly 50 awards including the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, Penn’s highest teaching award. In 2004, he was also honored for his role as an educator by receiving the American Neurological Association’s Distinguished Neurology Teacher Award, granted to only one teacher in the U.S. each year, as well as the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Additionally he received the Palmer Parker Award from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Dr. Galetta was the recipient of the Louis Duhring Outstanding Clinical Specialist Award at Penn in 1998. His areas of expertise include research and advances in the treatment of double vision, multiple sclerosis (MS), neuro-ophthalmology, and optic nerve disorders. He is a prolific researcher and has authored more than 200 original papers, as well as 113 editorials and serves on the editorial boards of Neurology and the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology. Additionally, he served as president of the Philadelphia Neurological Society in 2004.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Dr. Galetta received his undergraduate degree from Penn in 1979, and in that same year received the Class of 1915 Award, which is presented annually to the senior male student-athlete who shows outstanding athletic, academic and leadership qualities. Additionally, in 2005 he was inducted into Penn Athletics Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in both lightweight football and track during his undergraduate career. Dr. Galetta received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1983. He completed his neurology residency training at Penn and his neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Florida.

“It is an honor to join NYU Langone, and I am delighted to return to my roots in New York City,” said Dr. Galetta. “I am eager to begin this next chapter of my career and to lead NYU Langone’s already world-class Department of Neurology in delivering exceptional patient care, advanced scientific research, and quality graduate education.”

The principal investigator for several notable clinical trials that examine strategies and potential roles for early therapy in MS, Dr. Galetta is also an outstanding mentor, inspiring his trainees to become physician-scientists in neurology and neuro-ophthalmology. In fact, Dr. Galetta introduced one of his first neuro-ophthalmology fellows, Dr. Balcer, to MS as an area for vision research. Since then, they have been teammates and collaborators for over 20 years at Penn, where she serves as a professor of neurology and division chief for MS since 2004, leading a diverse group of physician-scientists, clinicians and staff. She will now join Dr. Galetta in steering the Department of Neurology at NYU Langone.

Dr. Balcer was one of the first epidemiologists within the field of neuro-ophthalmology. She is an established clinical investigator whose team’s work has focused on the development of visual outcome measures for MS. Dr. Balcer’s research, through collaborative efforts with researchers from several other leading institutions, first identified structure-function correlations in the visual pathway that now allow the measuring of axonal and neuronal loss in patients with MS and optic neuritis. She has co-authored more than 150 publications, and is the principal investigator for NIH and foundation grants totaling more than $1 million.

A Baltimore native, she received her medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and completed her fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a master of science degree in clinical epidemiology (MSCE) from the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, as part of her research training on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) K-23 “Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award.”

According to Dr. Balcer and Dr. Galetta, a key element of the success of their research has been the efforts of many trainees. While their collaborative MS vision investigations have brought vision to the forefront as a model for studying neuroprotection and neuro-repair in MS, they believe that by far the most productive and rewarding aspect of their work has been the opportunity to mentor students and clinician-scientists of all ages. During the past decade, Drs. Balcer and Galetta’s team at Penn has mentored more than 50 trainees, many of whom have received awards for outstanding presentations at national and international meetings.

Of note, given their success in developing vision tests for MS, Drs. Galetta and Balcer have recently applied the same study paradigms to sports-related concussion.

“Drs. Galetta and Balcer are a talented, dynamic team and I am confident that under their leadership, our Department of Neurology will reach even greater heights in providing exceptional clinical care, conducting translational research, and training the next generation of neurologists,” said Dean Grossman.

NYU Langone is ranked among the best in the country for Neurology and Neurosurgery in U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals annual ranking of hospitals.


Media Inquiries: 
Lisa Greiner