Molly Elisabeth Hubbard was 33 years old when she died this January in an avalanche, while skiing at the Silver Mountain resort in Kellog, Idaho. Dr. Hubbard was on a ski vacation from her work as the Campagna Fellow of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Oregon Health & Science University and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, where she had just signed on to join as a permanent member of the faculty.
Dr. Hubbard was born to Mary and John Hubbard in Burlington, Vermont, and grew into her deep love of the outdoors and the mountains in Cache Valley, Utah, north of Salt Lake City. She was an accomplished and expert skier, both skilled and knowledgeable in mountain safety. A diligent student, Dr. Hubbard thrived at Utah State University and then at the University of Vermont Medical School, roaming the halls of the hospital in which she had been born. At the University of Minnesota, she was a dedicated, highly talented, irrepressible resident who became a respected leader amongst her peers.
Dr. Hubbard began pediatric training at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in July of 2019. Humble and generous, she was also an effortlessly talented neurosurgeon. Residents, faculty, nurses, pediatric patients and their families all gravitated to Molly’s warm and genuine personality. Her considerable technical skills as a surgeon grew by leaps and bounds as she developed independence and her own operative style. She almost immediately earned the affection and absolute trust of Drs. Tina Sayama, Lissa Baird and myself. In December, we were delighted that she formally accepted a position as assistant professor at OHSU to begin in July 2020. In clear recognition of her talent and judgment, I extended full faculty clinical privileges in pediatric neurosurgery to Dr. Hubbard on January 1, just a week before her tragic and untimely death.
Molly was a superlative physician and surgeon, with exceptional judgment, skill and deep compassion for her patients. Most importantly, she was also an extraordinary person, who was loved and valued by all who knew here. At the University of Minnesota and OHSU, we are honored and touched that the AANS/CNS Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery has decided to name an award for the best fellow abstract after Molly. Those of us who had the privilege to know and work with her will certainly celebrate her spirit and contributions for the rest of our careers in pediatric neurosurgery.
Nathan R. Selden, MD, PhD, FANS