W. Jeffrey Elias, MD, Named to Modern Healthcare’s 2024 Innovators List

April 9, 2024 by

Jeff Elias, MD

W. Jeff Elias, MD

UVA Health neurosurgeon W. Jeffrey Elias, MD, has been recognized by Modern Healthcare, a leading healthcare publication, as one of its Innovators for 2024 for his pioneering work in the field of focused ultrasound.

Modern Healthcare’s Innovators Awards and recognition program recognizes leaders and organizations driving innovation that improves patient care, achieves measurable results and contributes to the clinical and financial goals of the organization.

The profiles of the honorees are featured in the April 8 issue of MH magazine and online at Awards.

“The role of innovation has always been paramount in healthcare, and our 2024 honorees as top Innovators are driving real change in the industry,” said Mary Ellen Podmolik, editor in chief of Modern Healthcare. “The wide variety of projects underway by these executives and organizations demonstrates a dedication to tackling the ‘what ifs’ that can improve the delivery of healthcare and improve communities and the patient experience.”

Elias is being honored for his groundbreaking work with focused ultrasound technology that can replace a surgeon’s scalpels with focused sound waves. Instead of requiring a neurosurgeon to cut into a patient’s skull, the technology can focus sound waves deep inside a patient’s brain to disrupt faulty brain circuits. Elias’ pioneering research helped pave the way for the federal Food and Drug Administration to approve the minimally invasive technology as a new treatment option both for essential tremor, a common movement disorder, and for Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

His success with the game-changing approach has attracted national and international attention, drawn patients to UVA Health from around the world, and spurred research into the potential of the technology for many other healthcare applications, such as at UVA Health’s own Focused Ultrasound Cancer Immunotherapy Center. Further, the effects of Elias’ work can be seen in a growing number of hospitals around the globe, where focused ultrasound treatments are improving lives and offering appropriate patients a new, less-invasive treatment alternative to traditional brain surgery.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized by Modern Healthcare, but the innovations with focused ultrasound that occurred at UVA were the results of a highly efficient and competent team working together for several years to produce a new medical procedure for our patients,” said Elias, a professor of neurosurgery and neurology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “It is actually an incredible technology that reaches deep into the brain. without incisions or drilling, to create a life- changing intervention. This is only the beginning, as there are many investigations underway to deliver drugs for cancer or to manipulate the brain’s circuitry to ease pain or stop epilepsy.”

Elias was previously recognized as the “Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year” for 2018 by UVA’s Licensing & Ventures Group. That award is given to a university faculty member whose research is making a major impact on society.

Developing new treatments to improve the lives of patients is a core mission of UVA Health and the upcoming Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology, now under construction at Fontaine Research Park in Charlottesville. The institute will fast track new treatments and cures and transform how healthcare is delivered across the state and beyond.

Elias’ work with focused ultrasound – and UVA Health’s focused ultrasound research in general – has long been supported by the Charlottesville-based Focused Ultrasound Foundation.

For information or questions about the Modern Healthcare Innovators program, please contact: Cody Smith, Senior Marketing Manager

About Modern Healthcare

Modern Healthcare is the most trusted business news and information brand in the healthcare industry. Modern Healthcare empowers healthcare leaders and influencers to make timely and informed business decisions. To learn more or subscribe, go to

About UVA Health

UVA Health is an academic health system that recently expanded to include four hospitals across Charlottesville, Culpeper and Northern Virginia, along with the UVA School of Medicine, UVA School of Nursing, UVA Physicians Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. With more than 1,000 inpatient beds, approximately 40,000 inpatient stays annually and more than 1 million outpatient encounters annually at UVA Health, more than 1,000 employed and independent physicians provide high-quality, comprehensive and specialized care to patients across the Commonwealth and beyond. Founded in 1819 as just the 10th medical school in America, the UVA School of Medicine – with 20 clinical departments, eight basic science departments and six research centers – consistently attracts some of the nation’s most prominent researchers to develop breakthrough treatments to benefit patients around the world. Those research efforts are backed by more than $200 million in grant funding. UVA Health Children’s is recognized as the No. 1 hospital in Virginia for children by U.S. News & World Report, with nine specialties rated among the top in America. More than 230 UVA physicians are honored on the Best Doctors in America list. For more information, resources, and to follow us on social media, please visit

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Press release written by Josh Barney, Deputy Public Information Officer, UVA Health. Contact Josh about this story or to share your own research.

Filed Under: Faculty, Honors & Awards, Research