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Whitehurst, PVB Fifth Graders Meet with Mayo Neurologic Surgery Chair
doctor talking to kids on zoom

Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, the William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professor and Chair of Neurologic Surgery at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, spoke with on-campus and at-home fifth grade learners during a captivating Zoom conference October 28. Quinones-Hinojosa, a former farmhand born in Mexico who became an American citizen at the age of 19, told students about his life and professional experiences.

Fifth grade Spanish students have been researching interesting Hispanic Americans as a part of Hispanic Heritage Awareness Month on campus. Ponte Vedra Beach Campus World Languages teacher Linda Farber reached out to Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa through a mutual colleague (campus Nurse Tiffany) to see if he would be willing to speak with fifth graders.

"He is an amazingly generous man, so he agreed to Zoom with our classes and tell his incredible story -- which includes surviving a terrible accident at a petroleum site where he worked," Farber said.

His educational journey took him from Mexico to San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California, then on to the University of California Berkeley and Harvard Medical School, where he graduated with honors.

First a Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncology and director of the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Biology Lab at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland, Quinones-Hinojosa conducted much clinical and basic science research during his early professional career and joined Mayo Clinic in 2016. Some of his clinical work includes:

  • Surgical treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors with emphasis in motor and speech mapping
  • Pituitary tumors and skull base tumors
  • Providing personalized medicine to improve patient outcomes.

Quinones-Hinojosa also leads National Institute of Health-funded research to find a cure for brain cancer. He is the author of more than 50 book chapters and has written several textbooks on neurosurgical techniques and stem cell biology.

Whitehurst Grade 5 teacher Laura Ropp said the students loved his presentation. He told them to never give up, to always respect others and many interesting facts about the brain.