Howard Kirshner, MD

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019

As a past president of SCNS, Howard Kirshner, M.D., has attended many annual meetings. He listed “trying to answer Terry Detrich’s questions about tPA in 1999, I think I convinced him” and “three meetings at Ixtapa, Mexico – it was a wonderful hotel, receptions with tequila and Mexican food” among his favorite meeting memories.

Dr. Kirshner looks forward to the 2020 meeting so he can visit with “the many friends I have made through SCNS—they are all best friends, though I see most of them for one week out of the year!”

Many SCNS members probably know Dr. Kirshner well given his long history of involvement to the organization, but for those that don’t, he chose to work in neurology because of his fascination with questions of mind and brain, which appealed to him during science, philosophy and psychology courses at Williams College. This interest continued through his time at Harvard Medical School.

When he finished training in Massachusetts, he began looking for an academic position, and “the South was wide open.” Dr. Kirshner “wanted to try a new area of the country, and a smaller city, and the warmer weather was also an encouragement after the blizzard of March 1978.” One of his senior colleagues in training had come to Vanderbilt, Dr. Gary Duncan, and both he and the chairman at the time, Gerald Fenichel, made him want to come to Tennessee

Now Dr. Kirshner enjoys working with his colleagues and trainees at Vanderbilt, combining practice with clinical research. Among his VUMC colleagues are fellow SCNS members Bassel Abou-Khalil, Kevin Haas, Daniel Claassen, David Charles and Bob Macdonald.

Dr. Kirshner is active in stroke clinical trials. Recent studies include the POINT study on dual antiplatelet therapy for TIA and minor stroke and he’s currently engaged with the BMS Axiomatic study on a new anticoagulant drug and the Arcadia study on cryptogenic stroke, among others. He also has a contributory role in grants related to Alzheimer’s disease, follow-up of stroke patients post hospital (the C3FIT study), and a study on delirium and risk of dementia

Outside of work, Dr. Kirshner enjoys hiking, swimming and traveling. Perhaps he will have the opportunity to spend more time at his family’s second home in Amelia Island, Florida or visiting his one grandson, who lives in York, England, in the near future.