William F. Collins, JR, M.D. obtained a B.S. in 1945 and an M.D. in 1947 from Yale University. In 1970, Dr. Collins was appointed the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Surgery and remained Chief of Neurosurgery at Yale University School of Medicine and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief at the Yale New Haven Hospital until 1984 when he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Yale New Haven Medical Center. In addition to his responsibilities as Department Chairman, Dr. Collins also served as Editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery from 1985 to 1990. He retired as Chairman of Surgery in July of 1993 and assumed emeritus status in the Department of Surgery on July 1, 1994.
Under the direction of Dr. Collins, the residency training program took a different direction with the development of programs that were designed to permit neurosurgical residents to prepare for a career not only in clinical neurosurgery but also in original basic investigation in neuroscience related to neurosurgery. The principles of collaborative research between Neurosurgery and other clinical and research departments within the University was started by Dr. Collins and continues to be a fundamental method for maintaining the high standards for resident education and academic growth.
The Neurosurgery Resident Research Symposium was established in 2010 in memory of Dr. Collins and in recognition of his many contributions to medicine.
The residents and selected medical students present their research at the annual symposium. Awards are presented to two residents for best basic sciences and best clinical research presentations. An award will be presented to one medical student for best medical student research presentation.