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On keeping of our heritage: family trees, mentorship and the West Coast offense
  1. William J Mack
  1. Correspondence to Dr William J Mack, Department of Neurosurgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1520 San Pablo Street Suite 3800, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA; wjmack{at}

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Not too long ago, I first clicked on a link to the heritage project through the SNIS webpage ( I thought it would be interesting to trace the ancestry of my training and that of my colleagues. For those of you who are not familiar with the project, it is a family tree of sorts, mapping out each neurointerventional surgeon's training lineage and establishing branches or clusters in practitioner's ideological roots. The original article proposing this heritage project was written in the September 2011 edition of the JNIS following the SNIS annual meeting at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort in Colorado Springs. I feel it may now be appropriate to reflect on this project as the work in progress form of the heritage tree was on display 3 years later in the SNIS annual meeting exhibit hall, again held at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. The work is far from complete, but interesting nonetheless. For disclosure sake, I was not involved in the conception or implementation of this project, but have always had a curiosity with regard to the history of our specialty and my professional heritage.

For posterity, presumably, the tree converges proximally on Antonio Egaz Moniz, the founder of diagnostic cerebral angiography and the de facto forefather of our field. Moniz performed the first cerebral angiograms in the 1920s.2 The field as we know it, however, seemingly evolved at a constant and deliberate pace until fairly recently. We practice during a very expansive and interesting time. …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.