As a teenager, Glenn L. Keiper, Jr. spent a lot of time working at the Akron, Ohio-area medical practice of his father, an oral surgeon. By the time he became a senior in high school, Glenn was nearly certain that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps by earning a medical doctorate and entering the health care profession—although, admittedly, he had not decided in what capacity.
“I knew I wanted to practice medicine and I wanted to be a doctor. I just didn’t know what kind of doctor,” he recalls. “In the beginning, I thought I would get into orthopedics. Little did I know that I would end up becoming a neurosurgeon.”
After high school, Glenn went on to study at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, where he would earn a BA in Biology, as well as the school’s prestigious Academic Achievement Award, and the Miles Q. White Award for Biology. He then enrolled in medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, earning the Salvador M. Adriano Memorial Award for Pathology while studying there. Glenn L. Keiper remained at the University of Cincinnati, this time attached to the Department of Surgery in order to finish his General Surgery Residency and Neurosurgery Residency.
“I remember when I was in medical school thinking it wasn’t that hard and wondering why doesn’t everyone just do this? It just seemed to fall into place for me,” he muses.
Upon graduating medical school, the newly-minted Dr. Glenn L. Keiper, Jr. took an epic bicycle trip with his father to clear his head and think about his future. They peddled all the way from Portland, Oregon to Denver, Colorado, during the course of which Dr. Keiper realized he was meant to put down roots in the American West. He transplanted his life to Eugene, Oregon, where he was hired by a group of five other doctors to join their practice as a neurosurgeon.
“I learned enough over a six-year period that I went from being the new guy to the guy that ran the group to the guy that had ideas for growth that the group could no longer support,” he reflects. “That’s when I had to go off on my own to achieve my goals as a neurosurgeon.”
After a short but failed attempt at a joint practice with a friend in Idaho, Dr. Keiper returned to Eugene, Oregon intent on setting up his own practice. At the outset, times were a little tough. Due to the initial costs incurred by purchasing a property, the necessary equipment, and hiring staff, he was unable to pay himself a salary for the better part of a year. However, as the months progressed and his reputation for quality neurosurgical work became better known in the Eugene area, his financial situation stabilized and the venture on which he risked so much began to return a healthy profit. It wasn’t long before Dr. Glenn L. Keiper, Jr. had the wherewithal to realize his vision of building a state-of-the-art surgery center attached to his burgeoning medical practice.
“When I got started by myself, I wanted to own the property that I worked out of, so I bought an old building and renovated it. Once I got my practice there, I went about building the surgery center on a third floor that I had added to the building,” Dr. Keiper explains. “Those two things—owning my own property and expanding the building for a surgery center—were the two smartest things I’ve done in my career,” he concludes.
Dr. Glenn L. Keiper, Jr. now boasts a vertically integrated, all-encompassing spine center containing all the components necessary to treat virtually any spinal ailment. The facility is equipped to provide patients with consultations, diagnostics, physical therapy, pain management, and injections. It also plays host to both minor and major surgeries. For Dr. Keiper, it has been a game-changer.
“I like seeing patients in between surgeries. If I’m working in the hospital, I’m forced to sit around while they turn the room over. But when I’m in the surgery center, it’s connected to my office, so I can be a lot more productive when I’m working in my place versus the hospital because I don’t have a lot of downtime.”
When asked about the key factors to his success, Dr. Glenn L. Keiper, Jr. points to three critical elements of a winning mindset:
- Follow your dreams.
- There is no substitute for hard work.
- There is no easy path, but you can choose any goal and, as long as you stay disciplined and stick to your vision, you can achieve it.
Over the course of his distinguished career, Dr. Glenn L. Keiper, Jr. has developed two major innovations in neurosurgery: motion segment preservation and artificial disc placement. Each of these techniques has led to less invasive surgeries and faster recovery times. In an effort to ease as much patient suffering as possible, as well as to advance the profession generally, he spends a good chunk of his spare time conducting seminars in the Pacific Northwest states dedicated to teaching other neurosurgeons how to properly perform these procedures. He spends what is left of his spare time perfecting the art of backyard barbecuing and learning the ancient craft of knife making.
Check out Dr. Glenn L. Keiper, Jr.’s blog on Medium to learn his time-tested secrets to creating a flawless barbecue meal, as well as a few inside tidbits about neurosurgery.