Dr. Randall Porter grew up in Barrington, Illinois where he attended high school. He received a BA in economics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and completed medical school at Rush Medical College in Chicago. He knew he wanted to be a surgeon when he was a teenager. Realizing his dream, he completed his residency and fellowship at the Barrow Neurological Institute in 2000, training under the world-famous neurosurgeons Dr. Robert Spetzler and Dr. Volker Sonntag. Dr. Porter has published over 75 peer-reviewed papers, over 30 chapters in major medical textbooks, and has spoken at more than 100 professional meetings throughout the country. He was the associate editor of the Journal Skull Base Surgery, and has been invited to review numerous articles for the scientific literature. He was named a “Top Doc” by his peers in Phoenix Magazine seven times, and was selected as “professor of the year” twice by the neurosurgery residents at Barrow. Dr. Porter performed the first robotic radiosurgery treatment in Arizona using the CyberKnife, the first endoscopic microvascular decompression, and performed the first minimally invasive lateral interbody fusion. Dr. Porter serves on the board of Barrow Brain and Spine, and The Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Porter has a passion for healthcare innovation. He is the founder and chairman of the board of Medical Memory, a HIPAA-secure enterprise solution that provides video recordings of doctor-patient visits. Dr. Porter is an angel investor and was a founding member of Excelcius surgical, a company that developed one of the first robot for spine surgery. He is an investor in a number of other healthcare start-ups with a special interest in digital health. He holds several patents that pertain to spinal surgical implants and has several others pending. Dr. Porter is the current team neurosurgeon to the Arizona Cardinals, and in the past, served as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant for the NFL. Most importantly, he always puts patients first. He delivers passionate care, video records all his visits, and offers a prayer before every surgery to those who are amenable. Dr. Porter is the current director of the Barrow Acoustic Neuroma Center.
What was your earliest ambition?
When I was a freshman in high school I knew I wanted to be a surgeon.
What was the worst mistake in your career?
Being too hard on myself. Not allowing myself to be human
What was the best career move?
a. Becoming a neurosurgeon and teaching residents to be better doctors.
b. Starting a company, The Medical Memory, recording my patients with video, and ignoring the fact that my colleagues said I was exposing myself to risk. Recording helps my patients remember what I tell them, improves transparency, and improves doctor-patient communication. Even if it never becomes profitable, it was a worthy endeavor because I know each day patients experience healthcare like they never have before.
Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
My parents, they taught me how to be a hard-working, honest, compassionate human being, and my wife who always there to pick me up when I doubt myself.
What book should every healthcare provider read?
The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren
What poem, song, or passage of prose would you like mourners to hear at your funeral?
a. Lucky man, by Montgomery Gentry
b. A doctor, like anyone else who has to deal with human beings, each of them unique, cannot be a scientist; he is either, like the surgeon, a craftsman, or, like the physician and the psychologist, an artist. This means that in order to be a good doctor a man must also have a good character, that is to say, whatever weaknesses and foibles he may have, he must love his fellow human beings in the concrete and desire their good before his own. W. H. Auden, Physician
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Golf, for sure.
Summarize your personality in three words.
Compassionate, truthful, loving.
How would you spend your favorite day?
Golf in the morning with my boys at Pebble Beach or The Old Course in Scotland, dinner with my wife and family overlooking Monterey Peninsula.
Where are you the happiest?
After a successful but very challenging surgery knowing I made someone’s life better.