Dr. Glenn Keiper is an experienced neurosurgeon and the founder of KeiperSpine – an Oregon-based medical practice specializing in neurosurgery and surgical assistance. Dr. Keiper obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the College of Wooster, Ohio, before receiving his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He was granted the Salvador M. Adriano Memorial Award in Pathology and completed his residency in general and neurosurgery.

Dr. Keiper has also contributed to the development of various surgical techniques such as motion segment preservation and artificial disc placement. Both innovations have led to less invasive surgeries and faster recovery times. As an industry-leading surgeon, Dr. Keiper also serves as a teacher and mentor for those looking to advance in the medical field.

Tell us a little about your industry and why you chose to be a physician?

Growing up, I worked for my father, who was an oral surgeon. He was committed to his patients, and I had the opportunity to witness both his expertise and compassion. I was always confident that I wanted to follow in his footsteps, but I was never sure of my specialization. I initially considered orthopedics before deciding on neurosurgery. All I knew is that I wanted to help people, and I figured that there is no better way to do so than entering the medical field.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone starting in your industry?

In addition to formal education, being a surgeon requires a high degree of both discipline and patience. I learned early on that a strong work ethic is vital to long-term success. Surgeons are often required to work excessively long hours, meaning they need to find ways to manage their time. My advice would be to take the time to mentally prepare yourself at the start of the day and develop a system to remain focused. I found this especially helpful when first starting out in my career.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I think my colleagues would describe me as very focused on my work, but I am also very compassionate. I believe that compassion is vital to establishing trust. To be a surgeon, you need to understand where your patients are coming from while taking the time to validate whatever they may be feeling.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

A solid work-life balance is crucial to maintaining both your physical and mental well-being. I work incredibly long hours running my own practice, so it is essential that I take the time to establish boundaries. When I am not at work I make sure I exercise regularly and eat well. I also seek social support when needed and spend time with my family and friends. 

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

One of the hardest obstacles for me was finding effective ways to manage my stress, especially when first starting in my profession. I am responsible for the care and well being of every individual that walks through my door, and sometimes that can seem like a lot of pressure. The most challenging phase of my career was learning to accept what was out of my control and having confidence in my skills. I am continuously striving to be a better version of myself and I value the well being of my patients.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

My father has always been a role model to me. As a highly successful oral surgeon, he is the one who inspired me to get into the medical field in the first place. I have always admired not only his skill level but the way he interacts with his patients. He was a highly respected surgeon and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work for him when I was younger.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. The relationship between failure and success is complex, but every failed effort is a learning opportunity. It is important to always be seeking for ways to improve both personally and professionally.

 What does success look like to you?

I think my definition of success is constantly evolving. When I was younger, success was about achieving a high-grade point average and doing well on a final exam. Now success is doing everything I can to improve patient care. I want to be involved in innovative discussions and I want to help move treatment options to the next level. I am excited to see where neurosurgery will be in the future. I will continue contributing to the health care landscape in any way I can.