Notable Alums


Specialty: Neurological Surgery

Graduation Year: 1956

Harold Portnoy

Harold Portnoy, M.D., ’56, received his medical degree from the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Following graduation, he entered an internship at the Grace Hospital in Detroit. In 1964, he completed a residency in neurological surgery under E.S. Gurdjian, M.D., at the WSU-affiliated program at Grace and Detroit Receiving hospitals. He obtained board certification by the American Board of Neurological Surgery in 1966.

Dr. Portnoy has held many positions at various institutions in Michigan, including clinical assistant professor of Neurosurgery at Wayne State University, clinical professor of Medical Physics at Oakland University in Rochester, chief of Neurological Surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Oakland in Pontiac, chief of Surgery at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester and chief of staff at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Oakland. He maintained a neurological surgery private practice and was attending neurosurgeon at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, North Oakland Medical Center, Pontiac and Crittenton Hospital Medical Center. More recently he was a senior member of the Michigan Head and Spine Institute and its director of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Research.

He has been a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, including its Pediatric Section and Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves; the Congress of Neurological Surgeons; the American College of Surgeons; the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery; the Society for Research into Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida; and an honorary member of the American Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Dr. Portnoy has participated on the Joint Council of State Neurosurgical Societies, the National Head and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Program, the Mental Illness Research Association (founding member), and both Oakland University’s College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board and Biomedical Research Strategic Planning Task Force. He has been a consulting editor of the international neurosurgical journal Surgical Neurology and has been a reviewer of research proposals for the National Institute of Health.

Though in private practice, Dr. Portnoy continued his interest in research, particularly in the fields of hydrocephalus and brain edema. He has published more than 70 papers, and has contributed to the development of shunt systems for the treatment of hydrocephalus. He is a leading expert on hydrocephalus and helped create the Hydrocephalus Clinic for St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and served as its clinic director.

Among Dr. Portnoy’s honors are the Robert H. Pudenz Award for Excellence in Cerebrospinal Fluid Physiology, the Excellence in Research Award of the Oakland Health Education Program Center for Medical Education, the March of Dimes Humanitarian of the Year Award and, from the Mental Illness Research Association, both the Gold Key Award and the Pat Elwell “Above and Beyond” Award.

In 2011, after 47 years in practice, Dr. Portnoy retired. He is emeritus of the Michigan Head and Spine Institute in Bloomfield Hills and Southfield.