Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery


Allan Friedman, MD, is the Guy L. Odom Distinguished Professor of Neurosurgery and the interim chair of the Duke Department of Neurosurgery.

Friedman served as chief of the Division of Neurosurgery for 18 years, stepping down in 2014 as the division became a department. He took over the helm once again after John Sampson, the inaugural chair, left the position to become president of the Private Diagnostic Clinic, the faculty practice of Duke Health, in March 2020.

Friedman has played a key role in establishing Duke as one of the premier neurosurgery services in the United States. Since first coming to Duke as a resident in 1974, Friedman has become internationally regarded as one of finest neurosurgeons in the world. His prolific practice has focused on the surgical treatment of peripheral nerve disorders, seizure disorders, and notably, brain tumors. He was the first in the United States to use nerve transfers to reanimate paralyzed upper extremities. He also assisted in the development of the DREZ procedure, developing new instruments to minimize complications.

The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center was consolidated in Duke Neurosurgery under Friedman's leadership. He was also the founding neurosurgeon in the Duke Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

Friedman has authored 374 peer-reviewed articles and 64 book chapters. He has served as president of the Southern Neurosurgical Society, the NC Neurosurgical Society, the Neurosurgical Society of America, and the Society of Neurological Surgeons.

As an educator, Friedman is mentoring the next generation of neurosurgeons. He is director of the Society of Neurological Surgeons’  RUNN course (Research Update in Neuroscience for Neurosurgeons) for residents; co-founder of the CAPE program (Collegiate Athlete Pre-Medical Experience), a mentorship program at Duke that fosters women athletes interested in medicine;  and past program director for Duke Neurosurgery’s residency program.

Among Friedman's awards are the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS); the Medical Student Teaching Award from SNS; the Duke School of Medicine Master Clinician/Teacher Award; the Duke School of Medicine Leonard Palumbo Jr., MD, Faculty Achievement Award; and the Duke Department of Surgery Master Surgeon Award.