Our Multidisciplinary Brain Mets Team

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The multidisciplinary Brain Metastases Clinic at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center is fully dedicated to treating the whole patient. We know that being diagnosed with a metastatic brain tumor is a complex event, with physical, emotional, social, and financial implications. To meet our goal of providing the very best, most comprehensive and compassionate care for our patients, we have assembled an expert team of professionals to help patients and their families. To make an appointment with any of the providers in the program, please call 646-697-6387 to speak with the Brain Mets Program Coordinator.

Neurological Surgery | Integrative Medicine | Radiation Oncology
Oncology Rehabilitation | Neuropsychology | Palliative Care
Social Work | Pain Management | Neurology/Neuro-oncology

NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY
Surgery is often an important part of treating a metastatic brain tumor, since these tumors tend to be accessible and have well-defined borders.

Dr. Philip E. StiegDr. Philip E. Stieg is the Chairman and founder of the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief of Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. He is a world-renowned neurosurgeon with expertise in cerebrovascular disorders and skull base surgery as well as a widely published author and internationally known lecturer. Dr. Stieg has been named by Castle Connolly Medical as one of the nation’s Top Doctors for 15 years in a row and has also been named to lists of America’s Top Surgeons, America’s Best Doctors, America’s Best Doctors for Cancer, New York’s SuperDoctors, and Best Doctors in New York.

Dr. Rohan RamakrishnaDr. Rohan Ramakrishna is an award-winning neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of brain tumors and other central nervous system tumors. Dr. Ramakrishna uses advanced awake mapping, imaging techniques, and microsurgery to ensure maximal tumor removal and achieve the safest possible surgical outcomes. He has advanced training in some of the most leading-edge technologies available, allowing him to provide the latest, most efficient options for each patient. These technologies include advanced laser surgery, minimally invasive subcortical and interventricular surgery, brain mapping, and advanced open/endoscopic skull base techniques.  He is widely published and has also been consistently named to the SuperDoctors list. Finally he serves on the executive committee of the AANS/CNS section on brain tumors.   

Dr. Theodore SchwartzDr. Theodore Schwartz is among the nation’s leading neurological surgeons specializing in minimally invasive surgery for brain tumors and skull base surgery. He is particularly known for advancing the use of state-of-the-art intraoperative technology, such as endonasal endoscopy, brain mapping, and intraoperative imaging.  He has been consistently named to the lists of America’s Top Surgeons, America’s Best Doctors, America’s Best Doctors for Cancer, New York’s SuperDoctors, and Best Doctors in New York. His research has been widely published and he has received numerous national awards. 

Dr. Michael KaplittDr. Michael Kaplitt is a neurosurgeon who combines surgical expertise with advanced training in state-of-the-art stereotactic techniques to provide patients with effective, minimally invasive treatments for degenerative movement disorders and chronic pain.  Dr. Kaplitt is an expert in the use of implanted devices for the treatment of medication-resistant complex pain, including cancer- and chemotherapy-related pain. Dr. Kaplitt is also an expert in various surgical therapies that provide relief of complex craniofacial pain. He is recognized for his contributions by leading medical and patient associations, and has repeatedly been named to Castle Connolly’s America’s Top Doctors and New York Metro Top Doctors and regularly appears on the New York SuperDoctors list.

Dr. Susan PannulloDr. Susan Pannullo is the Director of Neurosurgical Radiosurgery at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center. Both a neurosurgeon and a neuro-oncologist, Dr.  Pannullo is board-certified in both neurology and neurological surgery, is fellowship trained in neuro-oncology, and has completed specialty training in stereotactic radiosurgery. She is one of the few neurosurgeons in the world with a neurosurgical practice focused only on stereotactic radiosurgery, and one of the few neurosurgeons in the country with access to a CyberKnife, Gamma Knife, and Linear Accelerator (LINAC) to conduct stereotactic radiosurgery procedures.  

RADIATION ONCOLOGY
The Brain Metastases Program at Weill Cornell Medicine includes an expert team of radiation oncologists, whose services supplement – or may be used instead of – a neurosurgical approach.

Dr. Silvia Formenti is Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine, Associate Director of the Meyer Cancer Center, and Radiation Oncologist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Formenti has introduced a paradigm shift in radiation biology by combining radiotherapy with immunotherapy in solid tumors. Her work has opened a new field of application for radiotherapy, whereby localized radiation can be used as an adjuvant to immunotherapy of solid tumors. Dr. Formenti is currently leading four investigator-initiated clinical trials of immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

Dr. A. Gabriella Wernicke is a board-certified radiation oncologist who specializes in treating primary and metastatic cancer of the Central Nervous System.  She is committed to introducing the most cutting-edge technology, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, stereotactic radiotherapy, hypofractionated radiotherapy, brachytherapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy, and intraoperative radiation techniques, with the intent of reducing toxicity to normal tissues and improving treatment outcomes.

INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE
We recognize the importance of treating the whole patient, including nutritional therapy, stress and grief management, and emotional issues.

Dr. Chiti Parikh and Dr. Alka Gupta are co-directors of Integrative Health at Weill Cornell Medicine. They provide an individualized, holistic, and evidence-based approach to treating patients with metastatic brain tumors, with the goal of improving physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Patients receive an in-depth consultation and review of medical records, a comprehensive physical exam, and laboratory testing. They are then provided with a personalized treatment plan that might include acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition counseling, yoga instruction, psychotherapy, mindfulness coaching, and meditation.

Reverend Cheryl Fox is a board-certified chaplain (AP C/BCCI) and ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. She is Manager of Pastoral Care and Education at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, where her specialty is oncology and crisis pastoral care. Rev. Fox is passionate about the provision and integration of spiritual care in the healthcare setting. Her work includes staff and patient education in the areas of well-being and self-care.


ONCOLOGY REHABILITATION
Metastatic brain tumors and their treatments may create secondary conditions that require specialized care. The Metastatic Brain Tumor Program at Weill Cornell Medicine offers these services as part of our integrated treatment plan.

Nasim A. Chowdhury, MD, is a Cancer Rehabilitation Physician who specializes in bone, muscle, or nerve issues that may result from cancer or its treatment. Dr. Chowdhury diagnoses and treats pain, neuropathy, and spasticity using a wide range of therapies. Treatment may include medications, injections, bracing, splinting, or physical/occupational/speech therapy as needed. Dr. Chowdhury coordinates care by prescribing home nursing care as well as outpatient or home-based therapies, including prescribing equipment that may be needed at home.   

NEUROLOGY/NEURO-ONCOLOGY
The Metastatic Brain Tumor Program includes neurological care for patients with these secondary brain and spine tumors

Rajiv Magge, MD, is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain Tumor Center. Dr. Magge, who specializes in neuro-oncology and sees patients with brain and spinal cord metastases and leptomeningeal metastasis. In addition, he specializes in treating the neurologic complications of brain metastases. He is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, and is an active member of the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the American Academy of Neurology.  

PAIN MANAGEMENT
We are committed to helping our patients find relief from pain and restoring quality of life. Our pain management experts work with patients to develop an individual plan for managing their pain.

Neel Mehta, MD, Medical Director of Pain Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, is board-certified in both Anesthesia and Interventional Pain Medicine. His goals are to optimize pain control, enhance functional ability as well as physical and psychological well-being, and quality of life. He focuses on musculoskeletal pain of the back, neck, and joints, neuropathic disorders, and cancer pain. His clinical interests lie in the minimally invasive procedures to treat musculoskeletal pain, including various types of injections, intrathecal pump therapy, and spinal cord stimulation.

Dr. Sadiah Siddiqui, an anesthesiologist specializing in Interventional Pain Medicine, specializes in the management of chronic pain. She uses a combination of state-of-the-art medical treatments and interventional procedures and works closely in collaboration with her colleagues in multiple specialties including Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Oncology, Palliative Care, Psychiatry, Radiology and Rehabilitative Medicine to customize a treatment plan tailored to the needs of her patients. All of her interventional procedures are done under ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance using the latest minimally invasive techniques.

Dr. Shakil Ahmed, Medical Director of the Division of Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, specializes in the management of complex pain. Dr. Ahmed has a special interest in developing a comprehensive cancer pain program in collaboration with his oncology colleagues. He has co-authored several publications, including book chapters on cancer pain and regional anesthesia techniques. He is expert at performing diagnostic and therapeutic spinal injections, implantation of spinal cord stimulators and intrathecal pumps, and pulsed and thermal radiofrequency neurolysis.   

NEUROPSYCHOLOGY
Patients affected by a metastatic brain tumor may experience cognitive or emotional issues related to their condition. Our neuropsychology experts provide the treatment required to achieve maximum functioning.

Dr. Amanda Sacks-ZimmermanAmanda Sacks-Zimmerman, PhD, ABPP-CN, is as a neuropsychologist who works with patients who are experiencing cognitive and emotional difficulties that may arise after the diagnosis of a metastatic brain tumor. Dr. Sacks-Zimmerman uses integrated cognitive remediation and cognitive behavioral therapy to help patients maintain and improve their functioning, and teaches them how to use intact cognitive functions to the best of their ability. Dr. Sacks-Zimmerman also provides patients with emotional coping techniques to help them contend with the emotional impact of having brain disease. 

PALLIATIVE CARE
Our palliative care physicians work with patients who have functional limitations or pain related to their cancer and assists them with all aspects of managing their symptoms.

Milagros D. Silva, MD, is a board-certified Palliative Care physician. Dr. Silva works with patients in the Metastatic Brain Tumor Program to provide comprehensive, expert symptom management to help maintain quality of life. She provides support in coping with issues surrounding cancer management and assisting patients and families with making choices based on their own values and priorities.      

SOCIAL WORK
The many logistical needs of a patient with a metastatic brain tumor can be overwhelming. Our social workers assist with these issues, including financial/insurance, home care, and meeting the unique needs of caregivers.

Stephanie Friedman, LCSW, is a social worker who works with patients in the Neurology and Neurological Surgery departments at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. In theMetastatic Brain Tumor Program, she provides short-term supportive counseling, connects patients to community support and resources, assists patients in accessing appropriate benefits and entitlements, and provides guidance regarding end-of-life issues.