Deborah L. Benzil, M.D. was raised in rural Maryland along with two sisters. She received her undergraduate degree (honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from Brown University in 1981. Following this, she was awarded her medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1985. From 1985-87, Dr. Benzil completed a two year Fellowship in Surgical Neurology at the NIH doing molecular biology research on malignant brain tumors. She returned to Providence, to complete her Neurosurgical Residency through Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital, 198j8-1994. During her residency, she was granted the prestigious Anthony Greto Fellowship from the Association of Brain Tumor Research to continue her molecular biological research on brain tumors. In 1994, Dr. Benzil was hired as faculty at New York Medical College as assistant professor. She rose to the rank of Associate Professor and became Co-Director of the programs in Neuro-oncology, Peripheral Nerve, and Stereotactic Radiosurgery. In 2001, she led the team that introduced one of the first comprehensive Spine Stereotactic Radiosurgery Programs in the world.
Since 2018, Dr. Benzil serves as Vice Chair, department of Neurosurgery (Spine Institute) of the Cleveland Clinic where she provides comprehensive, state-of –the-art, patient centered care to patients with a wide-spectrum of neurosurgical diseases.
She has served as faculty in the Department of Neurosurgery, Columbia University Medical Center since 2012 where she developed and introduced the first comprehensive socioeconomic course for neurosurgical residents.
Dr. Deborah L. Benzil, M.D. FACS, FAANS is known nationally for her work in spine stereotactic radiosurgery, innovation in resident education, and socioeconomic expertise. Her publications are focused on tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery, resident education, and socioeconomic issues. She is currently on faculty at Columbia University and practices in Westchester County, NY as part of the prestigious CareMount Medical Group. She is active in organized neurosurgery where she has served as a Director at Large on the Board and then Vice President of the AANS, Editor of AANS Neurosurgeon, past-Chair of the CSNS, and chair of the Communication and Public Relations Committee (CPR) of the Washington Committee. She was a founding member and the first president of WINS (Women in Neurosurgery) and remains as Emeritus on the WINS executive board.
Dr. Benzil and her husband, a molecular biologist, have a son and daughter. Outside of neurosurgery, she loves travel, theater, literature, hiking, and wine.