Meet the Chief


Meet the Chief: Curious, Committed, Compassionate Neurosurgeon

As a youngster growing up in Ohio, Warren Selman dreamed of becoming a musician ― specifically, one of the Beatles. While he never joined John, Paul, George or Ringo on stage, he did become a rock star of a different sort. Today, he’s neurosurgeon Warren Selman, M.D., chief medical executive of Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health.

“I’ve been in bands my whole life, since being a teenager,” Dr. Selman said. “I was really sure that I was going to be a musician. My father looked at me and assessed my skill level and said, ‘Well, that’s very nice, but what are you going to do to support yourself, son?’“

Dr. Selman’s father, a cardiothoracic surgeon at a time when open heart surgery was in its infancy, passed along a number of lessons about being an engaged physician. One in particular resonated with the younger Selman. “I remember his spending the night sitting by the patient’s bedside in what was to become the intensive care unit,” he said. “He wanted to make sure that not only did the operation go well, but that the patient did well. I think that really rubbed off on me in a subconscious way.”


(Watch now and hear from Warren Selman, M.D., chief medical executive of Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health.)

Being a top surgeon, Dr. Selman believes, is as much about getting to know his patients as it is honing his technical skills. “It’s understanding what’s important to them and trying to help them live the best lives they can. Neurological disorders are one of the things that can really rob a person of who they are, their sense of what they are in life. We talk to the patient, get to understand them and get to understand their family.”

In his four decades of caring for patients with brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries and cerebrovascular disorders, Dr. Selman has brought curiosity, commitment and compassion to the job. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University Medical School, where he went on to complete a general surgery internship. That was followed by a research fellowship and a neurosurgical residency at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

Prior to joining Baptist Health, Dr. Selman served as chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, the inaugural director of the Neurological Institute at University Hospitals and professor of neurosurgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Dr. Selman has brought numerous advances to the field, developing virtual and augmented reality technology for surgical planning. “Neurosurgery is very technology driven, and if you think about how a pilot approaches flying an airplane, neurosurgery should be somewhat similar,” he said. “Pilots have used flight simulators for ages. With augmented reality and virtual reality, we’re able to use the patient’s own anatomy to actually construct what we plan to do at the time of surgery and rehearse it in an environment where we say it’s safe to fail. We can look at the best approach.”

When he had the opportunity to lead Marcus Neuroscience Institute, he jumped at the chance to grow a program that was already built on a very strong foundation. The Institute conducts clinical trials and neurological research and provides advanced therapies in a 57,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that includes a 20-bed Neuro Intensive Care and Step-Down Unit and four dedicated operating rooms.

Dr. Selman and his wife, Jennifer, a neuroscience nurse practitioner, packed up their two “wild, crazy, rambunctious” 8-yea- old yellow Labradors and made the move from Ohio to Florida. The couple also has five young adult children.

Although the Beatles never came knocking at his door, Dr. Selman is never far from his guitar or the music he has always loved. Nearly 20 years ago, he co-founded a band appropriately named The Nerve. The group still rehearses and plays together today, performing rock music from some of their favorite groups, including the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young.

He also listens to music during surgery, often letting others in the OR choose the music. “Music to me is never distracting,” he said. “I’m always laser-focused on what I’m doing in the OR. But it sets the mood and allows us to share something other than the intense work that’s in front of us. It keeps us bonded.”

Central to everything, Dr. Selman adds, is the patient. “Neurosurgery is anything but a cookie-cutter-type of specialty. We really need to take every individual patient’s particular problem that’s affecting their nervous system and understand how we can get the best results for what they want to achieve. Everyone wants to enjoy their life. Everyone wants to have their freedom. We want to be able to provide that at all costs.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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