Howell Allen Clinic

The practice was founded on April 1, 1983, by Everette I. Howell, Jr., M.D., Vaughan A. Allen, M.D., and Verne E. Allen, M.D., identical twin brothers, with the goal of expanding patient and neurosurgical care in the middle Tennessee, southern Kentucky and northern Alabama areas.

Prior to establishing the practice, the three physicians completed their neurosurgery residencies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., under the skillful training and leadership of William F. Meacham, M.D., and Cully A. Cobb Jr., M.D. In 1975, Dr. Howell joined the practice of Drs. Meacham, Cobb, Capps and Hester, working mainly at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The Drs. Allen joined in 1978, and each of the three physicians received clinical appointments at Vanderbilt as clinical instructors of Neurological Surgery.

In 1983, Drs. Howell, Allen and Allen aspired to develop neurosurgical services at St. Thomas Hospital, Park View Hospital (now Centennial Medical Center) and Nashville Memorial Hospital (now Skyline Medical Center). Their vision to expand services, treat additional patients from outlying communities and practice at other hospital facilities in the area motivated them to branch out. Thus began the practice of Drs. Howell, Allen and Allen. In addition to their main office, satellite offices were at St. Thomas Hospital and Nashville Memorial Hospital.

In 1985, Timothy P. Schoettle, M.D., joined the practice, and the group became known as Drs. Howell, Allen, Allen & Schoettle. Dr. Schoettle graduated from Vanderbilt School of Medicine and completed his neurosurgery residency at Vanderbilt. He chose to stay in Nashville to expand the practice to Centennial Medical Center and Southern Hills Hospital.

The office moved to a larger space in 1986 allowing the practice to offer physical therapy services. Tracy Grant, RPT, and David Landers, RPT, provided physical therapy at both the Centennial and Nashville Memorial locations.

Shortly after Gregory B. Lanford, M.D., joined the practice, the practice changed its name to Neurological Surgeons, P.C. Since 1997, Dr. Lanford has been president and managing partner of Neurological Surgeons, P.C., and the practice has enjoyed unparalleled growth under his leadership, with services including physical therapy, imaging, and an ambulatory surgery center for outpatient neurosurgical procedures and a specialty hospital for complex spine surgeries.

In 1995, the physicians recruited another surgeon. Steven R. Abram, M.D., a graduate of Loyola-Stritch School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Neurosurgery Program, was asked to join the practice. Dr. Abram is director of the Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center at St. Thomas Hospital and has been instrumental in bringing innovative procedures and equipment, specifically BrainLab, to both St. Thomas and Baptist hospitals.

With the increased number of physicians, office and clinic space had again become an issue. In early 1996, the new Centennial Medical Center Building opened and the Parkview Hospital was slated for renovation. As the practice made plans to design a new office, the practice experienced a devastating loss. Dr. Verne Allen was diagnosed with cancer in August 1996, and battled the disease until his death on February 15, 1997. During this difficult time, the care of Dr. Verne Allen’s patients was distributed among the partners.

Dr. Greg Lanford became the medical director and managing partner for the practice in the spring of 1997, and the practice moved into a new office in July 1997.

Shortly after the move, Scott C. Standard, M.D., was asked to join Neurological Surgeons, P.C., and develop a Cerebral Vascular Service at St. Thomas Hospital. Dr. Standard received his medical degree at the University of Alabama, and completed his neurosurgery residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He has served as the chief neurosurgeon at St. Thomas Hospital since July 2001.

The practice began focusing on improving patient care and establishing excellence in neurosurgical services. By offering ancillary services, the practice had an opportunity to control quality of care and expedite patient access. Under the leadership and direction of Dr. Lanford and Mark Mason, newly appointed administrator, the practice began to provide these services.

The Imaging Center was opened in March 1999, and the first myelogram was performed on March 22, 1999. After obtaining a certificate of need for a MRI scanner, the first MRI was performed on June 30, 1999. Weeknight and Saturday appointments for an MRI are offered for patient convenience. Dr. Michael Spellman is the medical director at this facility.

Dr. Carl R. Hampf joined Neurological Surgeons, P.C., in 1999. Dr. Hampf received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University Medical School and completed his neurosurgery residency at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Hampf brought to the group a specialization in cerebral aneurysm surgery and surgery for skull base tumors, and established a presence at Baptist Hospital. Dr. Hampf is chief of neuroscience at Baptist Hospital.

In October 2000, St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center, the first Ambulatory Surgery Center for Neurosurgery, opened. President of the board for St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center is Gregory Lanford, M.D.; and Steven Abram, M.D., is the medical executive committee chairman.

For medical information to be easily accessible at all locations including St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center, the practice implemented an electronic medical record system. An electronic medical record was established for each patient seen as of January 17, 2001. Previous paper records for established patients were entered into the new system.

Dr. Jason R. Hubbard joined Neurological Surgeons, P.C., in 2002. Dr. Hubbard received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee School of Medicine in Memphis, and completed his neurosurgery residency and spine fellowship at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. The practice was searching for a physician to specialize in complex spine cases, and this was the first time a physician trained outside of the Vanderbilt Neurosurgery Program was asked to join Neurological Surgeons, P.C. Dr. Hubbard soon became the principal investigator of the Artificial Cervical Disc Versus Cervical Fusion with Allograft Anterior Cervical Plate System Pivotal study.

In January 2005, Neurological Surgeons, P.C., joined with St. Thomas Health Services to open the Center for Spinal Surgery in the Baptist North Tower Medical Office Building. The hospital is the first specialty hospital for neurosurgery in the United States. Complex and simple spine procedures are performed at this facility, while the St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center has functioned solely as a Pain Management Center since 2005. Dr. Everette Howell Jr. is the chief medical officer, and Dr. Dale Batchelor is the president of the board at this facility.

Dr. Paul R. McCombs joined Neurological Surgeons, P.C., on April 1, 2005. He previously practiced in Nashville at Centennial Medical Center. Dr. McCombs received his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine. He completed his neurosurgery residency at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1982. He has been in continuous practice in Nashville since that time.

In 2006, the practice opened a new office in the Baptist North Tower Medical Office Building. To honor Dr. Everette I. Howell Jr., Dr. Vaughan A. Allen and Dr. Verne E. Allen, whose vision, hard work and dedication created the foundation on which the practice has been built, the practice was renamed to the Howell Allen Clinic on Jan. 1, 2007.

Today, the Howell Allen Clinic provides complete neurological care to its patients from diagnosis to recovery. The Howell Allen clinic moved into its newly designed space in October 2007.