Joseph Cheng, MD,MS

Department Chair

Associate Director for UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, Frank H. Mayfield Endowed Chair, & Professor

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Joseph Cheng, MD,MS

Joseph Cheng, MD, is the Frank H. Mayfield Chair of Neurological Surgery of the UC Department of Neurosurgery at UC College of Medicine.

Formerly professor and vice-chair of neurosurgery at the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Cheng is an expert in complex spinal surgery and is recognized nationally for his neurosurgery outcomes research which has led to improved patient care. He also is instrumental in guiding national health policy.

Dr. Cheng’s clinical focus includes all aspects of spinal surgery such as treating degenerative disease, deformities, trauma, tumors and spinal cord injuries. He has a reputation as an expert in complex spinal surgery, with approximately 70 percent of his referrals originating from other surgeons who relied on him for revision surgeries or complex cases that were outside their realm of expertise.

Dr. Cheng joined the Yale faculty in 2016 where he also directed the Neurosurgery Spine Fellowship. Prior to that, he was a faculty member between 2002 and 2015 in neurosurgery at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he also served as director of Vanderbilt’s Neurosurgery Spine Program. Additionally, he served on the faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin from 2001 to 2002.

Dr. Cheng received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1994 and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Marquette University in 2002. He completed his residency and a Neurosurgical Complex Spine Fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Board-certified in neurological surgery, Dr. Cheng was an American Association of Neurological Surgeons Health Policy Scholar in 2011. That same year he received the AOSpine North American Educator of the Year Award. In 2013, he received the Vanderbilt Distinguished Neurosurgical Educator of the Year Award.

Dr. Cheng has lectured internationally on neurosurgical care and has published nearly 150 scientific research papers, chapters and reviews and serves as a reviewer for several scientific journals. He also is active and a leader in numerous professional societies, including the North American Spine Society, the Council of State Neurological Societies, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Tennessee Neurosurgical Society, American Medical Association, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the AANS/CNS Section on Spine and Peripheral Nerve Disorders.




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Undergraduate Bachelor of Science

University of Tennessee


Medical Degree

Medical College of Wisconsin


Masters of Science

Marquette University



Medical College of Wisconsin


Medical College of Wisconsin

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgery



Neurological Surgery, Spinal Surgery