Where in the world is Michael Haglund? Tracking down the busy Duke neurosurgeon isn’t easy, as Haglund regularly leads teams of medical professionals to countries including Ecuador, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya to perform complex neurosurgical procedures and establish surgical facilities in-country.
After his first trip to Uganda in 2006, Haglund founded the Duke Global Health PLUS (Placement of Life-Saving Useable Surplus) program. Thus far, the program has provided more than 92 tons of medical equipment and supplies worth $13 million to Uganda and more than $1 million of equipment to Rwanda. He started and co-directs Uganda’s first Neurosurgery Training Program—one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s only neurosurgery residency programs—at Mulago National Referral and Teaching Hospital which has doubled the number of neurosurgeons in Uganda from five to ten, with a goal of 50 by 2030. In addition, Haglund created a course to train Uganda’s general surgeons in basic lifesaving neurosurgery procedures and has organized surgical camps led by Duke Health professionals to perform surgeries and train Ugandan neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, and nursing staff on how to use the surplus equipment, increase their clinical efficiency, and perform more complex surgeries. He has secured grants to conduct research to build surgical and care capacity and, ultimately, a countrywide neurosurgery network.
Haglund also serves as volunteer coordinator for the Foundation for International Education for Neurological Surgery, assigning teams of medical personnel to work in underserved communities around the world. Many of these providers use Haglund’s strategic and effective efforts in Uganda as a model to have a similar humanitarian impact in other regions.
Renowned worldwide for his expertise in treating epilepsy and cervical spine disease, Haglund is the surgical director for the Duke Epilepsy Center. He is also heavily involved in education and is a role model for both students and colleagues on the power of giving back. He has mentored Duke undergraduates, medical and graduate students, neurosurgery residents, and postdoctoral fellows, and led a group of Durham students from underrepresented minority backgrounds through a yearlong leadership course that culminated in a life-changing trip to Uganda. His passion and persistence even led the Duke Department of Neurosurgery to start the Division of Global Neurosurgery and Neurology—the first global neurosurgery division in the country—which sends multidisciplinary teams of providers to perform complex brain and spinal surgeries, and offers fellowships for Duke and UNC medical students to participate.
Haglund has received numerous accolades for his humanitarian work and efforts in global health education, including the Leonard Palumbo Duke University Teaching and Mentoring Award, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Humanitarian Award, and the University of Washington Alumni Humanitarian Award.
Education: Pacific Lutheran University; University of Washington School of Medicine; University of Washington; University of Southern California
Training: University of Washington; Harvard Medical School; Atkinson Morley’s Hospital, St. Georges Medical School, London
Current Titles: Distinguished professor of neurosurgery, neurobiology, and global health with tenure, School of Medicine, Duke University; vice chair of education and program director, Neurosurgery Residency founder and chief, Division of Global Neurosurgery and Neurology, program and training director, Duke Neurosurgery; surgical director, Duke Epilepsy Center; co-director Ugandan Neurosurgery Training Program