John Hurlbert, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS

Professor, Neurosurgery
Co-Medical Director, Spine Program
Program Director, Complex Spine Fellowship Program
Academic Professional Bio: 

John Hurlbert, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS, joined the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery in August 2016 in the role of co-director of the UA Spine Program. His focus includes program-building, residency, and spine fellowship training and clinical and translational research.

Dr. Hurlbert's clinical interests include intramedullary spinal disorders, spinal cord injury, congenital (adult and pediatric) spine disorders, complex cranio-cervical spinal disease, trauma and degenerative spine disease, and cervical disc arthroplasty. Dr. Hurlbert received his neurosurgery training at the University of Toronto, where he also attained a PhD through the Institute of Medical Science in electrophysiology and spinal cord injury. After residency, he completed a fellowship in complex spine surgery in Toronto and another at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix before taking his first (and only) posting at the University of Calgary.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Hurlbert has worked with his orthopedic surgery counterparts to co-found the University of Calgary Spine Program and served as its inaugural Chair from 1996-2001. This program is currently the largest spine surgery fellowship program in Canada, with 11 faculty training 4-5 fellows per year. The program has trained over 60 fellows from different countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Ireland, the United States, and Canada.

In 1999, Dr. Hurlbert co-founded the Canadian Spine Society, also serving as its inaugural president from 2000-2002. The society has 150 surgeon members representing neurosurgery and orthopedic spine surgery across Canada. He was a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons neurosurgery examination committee for 10 years, 5 of them in the capacity of chief examiner. Dr. Hurlbert also spent two 5-year terms as neurosurgical residency program director at the University of Calgary. He has been a member of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves since starting practice and has served on the executive committee for 16 years. He was Chair of the Spine Section in 2014.

Currently, Dr. Hurlbert reviews for the journal Neurosurgery and is a section editor for World Neurosurgery. He has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

  1. PhD, Electrophysiology and Spinal Cord Injury: The University of Toronto
Honors and Awards:
  • Sonntag Award, AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, 2002
  • University of Toronto, Neurosurgery, 1986-1994
  • University of Saskatchewan, General Surgery, 1980-1985
  • Barrow Neurological Institute, Neurosurgery Spine, 1995-1996
  • The Toronto Hospital, Neurosurgery Spine, 1994-1995
Board Certifications:
  • American Board of Neurological Surgery, 2009

Selected Publications

Ramey, W. L., C. M. Walter, J. Zeller, T. M. Dumont, M. G Lemole, and J. R Hurlbert, "Neurotrauma From Border Wall Jumping: 6 Years at the Mexican-American Border Wall.", Neurosurgery, vol. 85, issue 3, pp. E502-E508, 2019 Sep 01. PMID: 30873543