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The Department of Neurology was established on August 31, 1977, under the leadership of the founding chair, David Drachman, MD. In the first year, Dr. Drachman recruited six faculty members and was approved to begin a neurology residency to train three residents each year.  In 1980, Randall Long, MD, joined the department, becoming vice chair in 1986. Drachman and colleagues established fellowship programs that remain an integral part of the department and its mission. Between 1977 and 2000, the faculty grew to include 20 physicians and five PhDs. During that period, basic and clinical research programs were initiated in several areas including Alzheimer’s disease, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, neuro-oncology, circadian neurobiology, respiratory neurophysiology, ALS, epilepsy, vision physiology and headache.

Robust clinical services were provided for both inpatients and outpatients. The primary location of clinical activities was the main UMass Chan Medical School campus and affiliates were located at Memorial Hospital, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Worcester City Hospital (now closed) as well as at several outlying facilities. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Memorial Hospital established its own independent neurology service. An act of the Massachusetts legislature merged the clinical facilities at the UMass Chan Medical School campus with Memorial Hospital in 1998.  Drachman stepped down from his position as Chair of Neurology in 2002. Fortunately, he has remained very active both clinically and in teaching residents and students; he has also maintained an academic research program testing concepts in therapy of Alzheimer’s disease. From 2002 through 2008, Randy Long, MD, served as interim chair of neurology. Under Dr. Long’s stewardship, the department remained clinically and academically strong.

[need history from 2008 to present]