Board of Directors


President - 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.



President-Elect - 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.




Program Chair - Adam Polifka, MD

Adam J. Polifka, MD, 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.




Treasurer - Rabih Tawk, MD

Rabih G. Tawk, MD, is a neurosurgeon, with subspecialty in cerebrovascular neurosurgery. His clinical practice focuses on the open surgical and endovascular treatment of complex cerebrovascular disorders, with an emphasis on functional outcomes. A primary interest lies in the treatment of patients with skull base tumors using minimally invasive and endoscopic approaches. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Tawk is active in research and education, providing mentorship to residents and fellows. He authors expert content and publishes in high-impact scientific journals. He is a peer reviewer for prominent peer-reviewed journals in the field of cerebrovascular neurosurgery.




Secretary - Ashish Shah, MD

Ashish Shah, MD is Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biology, Chemistry and Spanish. During his undergraduate studies, Dr. Shah was awarded the prestigious Foote Fellowship and inaugurated in the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He received his medical degree from the University of Miami Medical School, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He completed his neurosurgical internship and residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, followed by a fellowship in Surgical Neuro-Oncology at the University of Miami. Following residency, Dr. Shah completed another fellowship in Translational Neuro-Oncology at the National Institutes of Health within the Surgical Neurology Branch where he specialized in clinical trials for brain tumors. As Director of Clinical Trials and Translational Research within the University of Miami Brain Tumor Initiative, Dr. Shah’s main clinical interests include surgical and radio surgical treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors as well as pituitary lesions and meningiomas. Dr. Shah is a specialist in minimally invasive approaches to brain tumors utilizing cutting-edge techniques such as Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy, Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, Awake Craniotomies, and Robotic Neurosurgery. Dr. Shah is an investigator on several clinical trials aimed at improving outcomes for our brain tumor patients. Dr. Shah is currently serving as principal investigator for the Section of Virology and Immunotherapy and Director of clinical trials and translational research in the UMBTI. The laboratory goal is to develop novel treatment options for brain tumors including virotherapies, immunotherapies, and targeted molecular therapeutics. Dr. Shah has authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, book chapters and invited editorials, and has received funding from the National Institutes of Health as well as other national and regional grants for his research. He is a member of the Society of Neuro-oncology, American Association of Neurological Surgery and the Congress of Neurological Surgery. He is a reviewer for several neurosurgical and virology journals. Aside from his clinical work, Dr. Shah is deeply invested in mitigating global health disparities. Since 2008, Dr. Shah has actively involved with Project Medishare to create a sustainable neurosurgery residency program in Haiti in collaboration with the Haitian Minister of Health and the Dean of the National School of Medicine in Port-Au-Prince. The work in Haiti has been internationally recognized by the World Federation of Neurological Surgery and has been funded by national and regional organizations.




Immediate Past 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.




Rep to the CSNS
Greg Murad, MD
Heather McCrea, MD
Steve Pirris, MD




Reps to FMA House of Delegates
Gazanfar Rahmathulla, MD




Members at Large
Shelby Burks, MD
Travis Dailey, MD
Matthew Decker, MD
Heather McCrea, MD




Rep to the SNS - Steve Pirris, MD




Resident Liason
Patricia Miller, MD
Zachary Sorrentino, MD




Advocacy Consultant - Chris Nuland Esq.