Meet Dr. Erasmo Passaro
Dr. Erasmo Passaro was raised in New Jersey, and became intrigued by science through his high school chemistry and physics teacher, the late Anne Marie Lynch. His passion for learning, reading and critical thinking was inspired by his high school English teacher Robert Linn.
He first became interested in Neuroscience during a summer biology course taught by the late Alvin Novick in July 1979 at Yale, and was fascinated when he learned about circadian rhythms, and how they were regulated by the brain. Two years later in 1981, while taking a year long undergraduate course "Self, Culture and Society" at the University of Chicago with the late Betram Cohler, he was marveled by the brain's role in behavior through the works of Freud, Durkheim, Arendt, Vygotsky and Piaget.
Dr. Cohler said, "We are addressing the social, cultural and psychological processes of human behavior. Dr. Herbert Meltzer in the Department of Psychiatry, a leader in Biologic Psychiatry, is studying the biologic basis for human behavior," On learning this in April 1981, Dr. Passaro had an epiphany moment, "This is what I want to do," and immediately met with Dr. Meltzer, and asked to work in his laboratory for the summer of 1981.
Unfortunately, there were no funds to support this summer internship. Therefore, he was told to meet the late Gerson Rosenthal at the University of Chicago who ran a program to offer grants on a competitive basis for undergraduate college students. Dr. Passaro, submitted a grant with his mentor Gary Gudelsky, PhD, an expert in tubero-infundibular dopamine in the HPA-Axis. The grant was initially not funded since the grants were given to third year college students, not to first year college students. However, Gerson Rosenthal, one week later found additional funds to support the summer research internship, and started Dr. Passaro on his odyssey to learn about the brain and human behavior. He worked in Dr. Meltzer and Dr. Gudelsky's lab for three additional years through 1984 and published three basic science papers, one as first author, prior to graduating from college.
There have been numerous mentors who have influenced Dr. Passaro including Richard Hauger at UCSD in 1990 where he was introduced to Emil Kraeplin using a phenomenologic approach to psychiatry, and shortly thereafter by Dr. Jerome Engel, MD, PhD his mentor in epilepsy where his passion and vocation for epilepsy was founded, nurtured and developed. Dr. Passaro says that Epilepsy helps him to learn how the brain creates behavior through functional networks, and contributes to learning about brain development, neurophysiology, neuro-imaging, genetics and human behavior.
Dr. Passaro has a passion for teaching and views his time and talents as gifts to be shared with others. He uses the Socratic method in teaching though active interaction, engagement, dialogue and inquiry. He is an avid reader and has an interest in servant leadership as described by Robert Greenleaf . Dr. Passaro is inspired by the following quotes Albert Schweitzer: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” and "You can only take with you what you have given away." -Frank Capra (It's a Wonderful Life).
Dr. Erasmo A. Passaro, MD is the Director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Bayfront Health, and the Florida Center for Epilepsy in St Petersburg, Florida since its inception in June 2002.
He has performed video-EEG monitoring in greater than 2000 patients and has been involved in the epilepsy surgery of greater than 300 patients with medically intractable epilepsy. He has also performed functional brain mapping studies, the most of anyone in the Tampa Bay Region. He is internationally recognized for his work and experience in the medical and surgical treatment of epilepsy.
He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Chicago with honors, and graduated from the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. He then served a one-year medical internship at UCLA-SFVP. He completed his Neurology residency at UCLA followed by a two year epilepsy/clinical neurophysiology fellowship at UCLA with Jerome Engel MD, PhD. He then established the Tampa General Hospital Epilepsy Surgery Program in 1995, and in 1998 assumed the position of Assistant Professor of Neurology, Director of the Adult Epilepsy Laboratory and the Functional Brain Mapping program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
His work has included MR imaging of malformations of cortical development (bottom of sulcus subtle cortical dysplasias) in intractable epilepsy using phased array coil and 32 channel 3T MRI, and MR imaging changes in status epilepticus, statistical parametric mapping of positron emission tomography scans, and subtraction ictal SPECT. His current clinical and research interests(s) included understanding epilepsy networks through behavioral semiology of epileptic seizures correlated with MR imaging sulcal anatomy and stereo-EEG and MRI identification of cortical dysplasia. He has been an investigator for numerous investigational drug trials. His clinical work includes outpatient epilepsy evaluation(s), pre-surgical video-EEG monitoring evaluation of epilepsy patients with non-invasive and invasive EEG including Stereo-EEG, and intra-operative and extra-operative functional brain mapping.
He is a recipient of the Epilepsy Foundation of America Research Fellowship, and is a fellow of the AES, AAN, ACNS and AASM, and has served on the course and the scientific program committee program for the ACNS, the scientific program and the course committee of the AES, and the scientific program committee of the American Society of Neuroimaging and the board of directors for the American Society of Neuroimaging.
Dr. Passaro also has clinical/hospital appointments at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital’s, Department of Pediatric Medicine in the Division of Neurology, Bayfront Health, St Petersburg, FL and Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida Neurology Departments.
- 1984: The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, B.A. Biological Sciences with Honors
- 1988: Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. New Brunswick, NJ, Doctor of Medicine
- 1993-1995: UCLA, Fellowship in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology, Clinical Instructor and Epilepsy Fellow with Jerome Engel, MD, PhD
- 1990-1993: UCLA, Reed Neurological Institute, Resident in Neurology
- 1989-1990: UCSD Resident in Psychiatry (PGY-2)
- 1988-1989: UCLA-San Fernando Valley Program, Internal Medicine
- 2001, 2003, 2004, 2017: School of Sleep Medicine Advanced Course in Sleep Medicine. Palo Alto, California (taught by Stanford University Sleep Center Faculty)
- 2013-2023: Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, With added qualification in Epilepsy
- 2009-2019: Diplomate, United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties with certification in the subspecialty of Neuroimaging
- 2007-2017: Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Certification in Neurology with added qualification in Sleep Medicine
- 2007-2017: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, with added qualification in Clinical Neurophysiology: Maintenance of Certification
- 2005-2015: Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Recertification
- 2004: Diplomate, American Board of Sleep Medicine
- 1997: Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with added qualification in Clinical Neurophysiology
- 1995: Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
- 1994: American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology (ABCN) (Lifetime certification)
MEMBERSHIPS AND OFFICES IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES
- 2017-2027: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, with added qualification in Clinical Neurophysiology: Maintenance of Certification
- 2016-present: Pinellas County Medical Association-member, Fellow, American Epilepsy Society
- 2009-present: Fellow, American Academy of Neurology
- 2005-present: American Society of Neuroimaging
- 1990-2008: American Academy of Neurology
- 2001-present: Fellow, American Academy of Sleep Medicine
- 1993-present: American Epilepsy Society
- 1994-present: Fellow, American Clinical Neurophysiology Society
- 1999-2002: Michigan Neurological Association
- 1995 -1997: Hillsborough County Medical Association
- 1984-2002: Society of the Sigma Xi
*Fellow indicates that the physician is recognized as being a leader in the field who has made major contributions