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A Conversation with Dr. T: Insights into Neurosurgery, Patient Care, and Career Sustainability

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This episode of the MGMA Insights Podcast features Dr. Dawn Tartaglione, DO, FACOS, DFACOS, Medical Director of Neurosurgery at Bayhealth. Known as “Dr. T,” she discussed her journey into neurosurgery while highlighting its challenges, rewards and innovations. In 2003, Dr. T was the first female Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine to become a board-certified neurosurgeon. This launched her 22-year career in neurosurgery practice, where she has specialized in multiple areas including spine, neurotrauma, brain and spine tumors, and critical care. Dr. T is also the first neurosurgeon to be elected President of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons. Dr. T sat with MGMA Senior Editor Daniel Williams, MBA, MSEM, to offer insights into the intricacies of neurosurgery, the importance of stress management and trends such as navigation tools.

Key Takeaways:
- Dr. T discussed her path from an early interest in science into a successful neurosurgery career through medical school and residency.
- Delivering bad news to patients and their families presents numerous challenges, requiring being both direct and empathetic while considering cultural and linguistic factors. Using a structured approach, Dr. T starts with definitive statements before softening the blow while being mindful of the patient’s/family’s emotional state. 
- Work flexibility and self-care is important to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Some best practices include reducing or cutting time spent on social media, finding hobbies outside work and creating a work environment that supports everyone’s passions. 
- Deep brain stimulation has become a revolutionary treatment for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions by improving symptoms and fine motor control. Other innovations, such as navigation tools and AI applications, allow for better visualization that improves how neurosurgeons mitigate risks while operating on the nervous system.

MGMA Resources:
Let us know if there's a topic you want us to cover or an expert you would like us to interview or if you'd like to appear on the member spotlight podcast. Email us at If you have a question for our Sr Advisor Cristy Good, email

Today’s podcast is sponsored by RingCentral 
RingCentral brings staff, patients, and payers together with compliant cloud communications and a modern call center on any device. A free new ebook from RingCentral and MGMA focuses specifically on the payer-provider relationship. With all-too-familiar patient reviews, must-see statistics, and a transformative case study, this eBook illustrates how easily cloud communications can bring patients, providers, and payers together. Download your copy at

Support for this podcast also comes from ilumed
ilumed helps Medicare providers practice better medicine so they can get paid in up to three ways. Whether you’re just starting your value-based-care journey or ready to take it to the next level, ilumed can help you do more for your patients while earning more. ilumed offers simple solutions for a complicated industry. Let’s heal healthcare together. Visit to learn more.
A Conversation with Dr. T: Insights into Neurosurgery, Patient Care, and Career Sustainability
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