Board of Directors

President - Jason Blatt, MD

Jason E. Blatt, MD is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he was a National Merit Scholar and graduated magna cum laude. While in Nashville his honors included election to Alpha Epsilon Delta, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi, and an Alpha Phi Omega Distinguished Service Key. He then completed his medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and received the Harold C. Pillsbury Student Research Award.

After receiving his MD, he remained at the University of North Carolina to complete his internship and residency, both in Neurological Surgery. He received numerous awards during his training, including both the Hydrocephalus Association Award and the Resident Traveling Fellowship, both from the AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery, was elected to UNC’s Academy of Educators, and was named a Socioeconomic Fellow of the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies. Finally, he relocated to Pittsburgh to complete a prestigious subspecialty fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh under renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Ian Pollack, MD.

Dr. Blatt’s clinical interests include all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery, with special focus on brain tumors, epilepsy, minimally-invasive and transnasal (through-the-nose) brain surgery, and craniofacial disorders. His research interests include not only those aspects of pediatric neurosurgery, but also medical and surgical education, surgical simulation, and physician process automation. He collaborates with computer modeling researchers at Old Dominion University and with the large Brain Tumor Immunotherapy group at UF Shands/McKnight Brain Institute.

Dr. Blatt is passionate about the care and wellbeing of children, and prides himself on the ability to make complex neurosurgical decisions easy to understand for patients and their parents. Caring for an ill child is never easy, but Dr. Blatt and his team strive to alleviate worry and suffering, and provide world-class care for kids of all ages. The UF Pediatric Neurosurgery Team recognizes that children with brain and spine disorders aren’t just “small adults,” and need to be treated by expert subspecialists with extensive experience. Shands Children’s Hospital accepts all pediatric neurosurgery referrals for assessments or second opinions.

President-Elect - Adam Oliver, M.D.

Dr. Adam Oliver is a board-certified neurosurgeon from Tallahassee, FL. He received his undergraduate degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He then attended Louisiana State Medical School in New Orleans. Following medical school, Dr. Oliver moved to Memphis, TN for neurosurgical training at the University of Tennessee and Semmes-Murphey Clinic. He completed residency in 2012.

After residency, Dr. Oliver completed his dedicated fellowship in open cerebrovascular and endovascular surgery at Capital Health Institute for Neuroscience in Trenton, NJ. In addition to board certification in neurosurgery, Dr. Oliver is CAST certified for neuro-endovascular surgery.

Upon returning to Tallahassee in 2013, Dr. Oliver joined Tallahassee Neurological Clinic, a multidisciplinary private practice. He is a partner in this clinic and also serves as the Director of Neuroendovascular Surgery at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. Because of the success of TNC’s stroke program, TMH is a Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center.

In addition to the Florida Neurosurgical Society, Dr. Oliver is a member of the American Academy of Neurologic Surgeons, The Congress of Neurologic Surgeons and the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery. His practice is clinically oriented. It spans the breadth of general neurosurgery including spine and cranial cases while maintaining his niche specialty in vascular neurosurgery.

Program Chair - Lance Governale, M.D.

Lance S. Governale, MD, FAANS, FAAP is the Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery and the L.D. Hupp Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics. He joined the University of Florida’s Department of Neurological Surgery in 2017 after serving as a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Dr. Governale obtained his Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Maryland, research training from the National Institutes of Health, and his Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School. He then stayed at Harvard to complete neurosurgical residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and pediatric neurosurgical fellowship training at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Dr. Governale has the distinction of having received awards from his colleagues for excellence in research, teaching, and clinical care, including the Harvard Medical School Richardson Research Fellowship for MD Scientists and a nomination for the Harvard Medical School Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching. His research interests focus on clinical outcomes, quality improvement, and medical informatics; and he is a member of multiple professional societies including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Although he enjoys the full range of pediatric neurosurgery, Dr. Governale is especially interested in craniosynostosis, minimally invasive neurosurgery (including endoscopic treatment of hydrocephalus, craniosynostosis, pituitary disease, and skull base disease), brain / spinal cord tumors, tethered spinal cords, arachnoid cysts, and cavernous malformations. He is board certified by both the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery.

Treasurer - Ian Cote, M.D.

Dr. Ian Cote, MD, is a neurological surgeon who specializes in the surgical treatments of spine. He joins the UM Department of Neurosurgery and serves as co-director of Neurosurgery at Jackson South Medical Center (JSMC) as well as the JSMC Chief of Spine Service. He has headed the development of a state-of-the art spine surgery facility, which includes minimally invasive spine surgery, image guidance technology, complex spinal instrumentation, disc replacement surgery, osteobiologics to promote bone healing and is a proponent of intraoperative safety, utilizing cutting edge neuro-monitoring techniques. Dr. Cote obtained his medical doctorate at the University of Ottawa, and completed his neurosurgical residency at The Ottawa Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. He was awarded a dual fellowship in complex spine and peripheral nerve surgery, which he completed at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine. He obtained board certification and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He has roots in the Canadian and Haitian communities, and is fluent in both French and English. He has taken part in international efforts to bring neurosurgical treatment to patients in Haiti, and is proficient in providing cost- effective care. Dr. Cote sees patients at Jackson South Medical Center, Jackson Memorial Hospital and the University of Miami’s Spine and Brain Clinic.

Secretary - Adam Polifka, M.D.

Adam J. Polifka, M.D, is an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. Dr. Polifka is the Division Chief of Cerebrovasular surgery and is also the fellowship director for endovascular surgical neuroradiology. He was awarded his bachelor of arts with a concentration in molecular biology from Colgate University and his doctorate of medicine from the University Of Vermont College Of Medicine. Dr. Polifka completed his internship and residency training in neurological surgery at the University of Maryland. During his residency, Dr. Polifka completed his pediatric training at Johns Hopkins University and also completed a one-year enfolded endovascular fellowship with the Department of Radiology at the University of Maryland.

After residency, he completed a prestigious neurosurgical fellowship in endovascular surgery at the Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Polifka received extensive training in open and endovascular management of complex vascular disorders of the neurovascular system including cerebral aneurysms, avms, stroke and carotid artery stenosis.

Dr. Polifka joined the faculty at the University of Florida as an Assistant Professor in July 2015.

While treating patients at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore Maryland, Dr. Polifka gained extensive experience in the treatment of spinal trauma as well as complex spine surgery. He treats the entire breadth of spinal disorders with a special interest in complex spine reconstruction and revision spine surgery. He utilizes both minimally invasive and open surgical techniques to provide compressive spine care to his patients. His research interests include subarachnoid hemorrhage and management of arteriovenous malformations. Dr. Polifka performs craniotomies for brain tumors and vascular disorders, endovascular management of vascular disorders, carotid artery stenting, carotid endarterectomy and complex spinal instrumentation for the entire spectrum of spinal disorders.

Immediate Past President - Raul Olivera, MD FAANS

Raul Olivera, MD, FAANS is an Associate Professor of the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair at the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. He is currently the Medical Director of USF neurosurgery at Advent Health Tampa.

Dr. Olivera is originally from Cuba where he almost graduated from the School of Medicine at the University of Havana, Faculty of Matanzas, before living the country on his last year of Med School. He was at the top of his class and was part of the National Talent Program for medical students there as a nongraduated instructor for Neurosurgery. After emigrating to the U.S., he eventually finished his medical education graduating from the Autonomous University of Central America in Costa Rica, Cum Laude Probatus.

As a foreign medical graduate he did a Pre-Residency fellowship in Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Olivera went on to do his Internship in General Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and after that his Neurological Surgery training at Saint Louis University in Missouri, where he received the Caring Physician Award. After residency, Dr. Olivera did his skull base and cerebrovascular fellowship at the University of South Florida where he stayed as faculty after graduation.

Dr. Olivera has implemented a tertiary multidisciplinary group at Advent Health Tampa as part of USF Neurosurgery. He has had a special interest in creating and advancing the Comprehensive Stroke Center and developing complex brain tumor surgery and skull base surgery including endoscopic transsphenoidal approaches. He has also pioneered the minimally invasive robotic 3D exoscopic approaches for brain and spine surgery at that Institution.

Dr. Olivera is a member of the Southern Neurological Society, the North American Skull Base Society, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

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Rep to the CSNS - Greg Murad, MD

Reps to FMA House of Delegates
Gazanfar Rahmathulla, MD

Members at Large
Paya Alikhani, MD
Ashish Shah, MD
Rabih Tawk, MD
Maria Toledo, MD

Rep to the SNS - Steve Pirris, MD

Resident Liason - Sandra Yan, MD

Advocacy Consultant - Chris Nuland Esq.