Gary R Simonds

Neurosurgeon, Writer, Educator, and Speaker


Gary is a highly experienced neurosurgeon, former head of an academic neurosurgery program at Virginia Tech/Carilion Clinic. He is a Professor, and teaches regularly at, the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Gary was a biochemistry major at Dartmouth College. He went on to medical school at Rutgers and Neurosurgery residency and medical research fellowship at Walter Reed. He also holds a master’s degree in Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth.

Gary has written and spoken widely on the subjects of neuroscience, medical school admissions, humanism, medical socioeconomics, medical ethics, burnout, personal wellness, spirituality, death and dying, and the interface between science and religion. Known for his compassion and sense of humor, he also writes fiction and is an accomplished and entertaining storyteller.

Born in New Jersey, Gary has lived in New Jersey; England; Washington D.C.; Denver; Danville, Pennsylvania; and Roanoke, Virginia. He currently lives in the beautiful town of Black Mountain, North Carolina. And yes, that is my house on the homepage.

Speaking Topics

Writing Fiction

Burnout and Wellness

Clinical Neurosciences

Medical School Admissions

Medical Ethics

Compassionate Care

Life in Medicine

Facing Personal Illness

Death and Dying

Gratitude and Humor in Life

Facing Mayhem and Tragedy

Critical Thinking

Science and Religion


Breaking Bad News

Communicating with Patients and their Families

Living For Today

Living Simply and Sustainably

Why Kindness Matters


Gary is always available for educational collaborations and talks, worldwide. If you want to chat about writing fiction, neuroscience, healthcare, medical ethics, burnout, resilience, wellness, or anything else, don’t hesitate to reach out.


Building Neurosurgery in Neurosurgery Residents

The Thriving Physician

Thriving in Healthcare

Death’s Pale Flag (2023)

One Happy Accident (In revision)

So, You Want to Go to Medical School (Writing)

How to Build a Kick-ass Residency

Other Biographical Summaries (click the icon):