In 1947, Dr. James L. O’Leary, then Director of the Division of Neurology in the Department of Neuropsychiatry instituted the first formal Neurology Residency Program at Washington University. The first residents to work closely with Dr. O'Leary and Dr. Irwin Levy were Dr. William S. Fields, who subsequently became Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine, and Dr. Samuel Trufant, who subsequently became Professor and Chairman of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati.
By 1963, when Dr. O'Leary became head of the Department of Neurology, the program and the faculty had expanded to include the neurology service at the old St. Louis City Hospital; with five trainees accepted each year. The special program in child neurology based at St. Louis Children's Hospital began in 1967 as a division of the Department of Pediatrics under the direction of Drs. Philip Dodge and Arthur Prensky.
Dr. William Landau took over as Head of Neurology in 1970, and over the next two decades, the adult and pediatric clinical programs continued to grow and evolve.
In 1991, Dr. Dennis Choi succeeded Dr. Landau as Head of Neurology.
In 1992, the Division of Pediatric Neurology moved from pediatrics to Neurology, and Dr. Steven Rothman succeeded Dr. Dodge as division chief.
In 1993, the Department of Neurology assumed responsibility for rehabilitation services; existing Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation faculty and residents formed the nucleus of a new Division of Rehabilitation within Neurology.
Dr. David Clifford succeeded Dr. Choi as Head of the department when he departed to become Vice President of Research at Merck.
In October 2003, Dr. David Holtzman became Chairman of the Department of Neurology.