Robert E. Harbaugh obtained his M.D. from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and his general surgery and neurosurgery training at Dartmouth. During his career at Dartmouth, Dr. Harbaugh served as Director of the Cerebrovascular Disease Center, Director of the Neurosurgical Laboratory and as interim Residency Program Director. In 2003 Dr. Harbaugh accepted the position of Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, becoming the first graduate of the Penn State College of Medicine to return as a department chair. He also has an appointment as Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at the Pennsylvania State University. Since returning to Penn State, Dr. Harbaugh has been promoted to the rank of University Distinguished Professor, has been named as a Penn State Alumni Fellow - the highest award of the Penn State Alumni Association - and served as the Director of the Penn State Neuroscience Institute from 2009-2018. In March 2018 he assumed the role of Senior Vice President of Penn State Health, representing the faculty physicians.
Dr. Harbaugh has been an invited speaker at 274 symposia throughout the world. He has been a visiting professor at 71 academic institutions and the honored guest of neurosurgical societies in Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Taiwan. He has delivered 27 named lectures. Dr. Harbaugh’s research interests include clinical trial design, outcomes analysis, quality improvement in neurosurgery and neural engineering. He has edited five books and published more than 400 articles, book chapters and abstracts on various neurosurgical topics. He has served on five editorial boards and obtained continuous research funding from the NIH, NATO, USDA, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, industry, foundations and other organizations since 1985.
Dr. Harbaugh holds and has held numerous leadership positions in national organizations. He is a Past President of the Society of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, former Director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, Chairman of the Board of neurosurgery’s quality improvement and data management company, the Neuropoint Alliance, Inc., a member of the Steering Committee of the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience, Co-Chair of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Registry of Patient Registries project, a member of the National Football League’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee and a member of the Strategic Vision Committee of the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Registry (FITBIR). He presently (2019) serves as a member of the advisory council of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, as Vice-Chair of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education’s Review Committee for Neurosurgery, as a member of the Governance Council for the Food and Drug Administration’s coordinated registry network for Devices used for Acute Ischemic Stroke Intervention (DAISI) project and as a member of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Board of Scientific Counselors. He received the AANS’ Distinguished Service Award in 2018.
Dr. Harbaugh has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Lebanon Valley College and the Saint Joan of Arc School. He has five children and is married to Kimberly S. Harbaugh, M.D., a neurosurgeon specializing in peripheral nerve surgery.