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Jonathan Bekenstein, MD PhD

4.7 out of 5
171
171 Ratings
27 Comments

Specialty

Neurology

Locations

Ambulatory Care Center
417 N. 11th Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Wellness Center (NOW Center)
11958 West Broad Street
Henrico, VA 23233

Department

Neurology

Education

Medical School

University of Virginia School of Medicine

Internship

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Residency

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Fellowship

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Biography

Breakthrough brain research to improve patient treatment
Dr. Jonathan Bekenstein was born in the hospital where he works today. At the time, his father was completing his residency. But it wasn’t long until the young boy started shadowing his father, a practicing pediatrician for 56 years until he retired at age 87.

“I always enjoyed rounding with my father in the hospital and making house calls with him when I was in grad school,” Dr. Bekenstein says. “By middle school, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. And by high school, I knew I wanted to be a neurologist or neurosurgeon.”

And he never missed a step. His first stop was Amherst College, in the world’s first undergraduate neuroscience program. Finding equal passions for research and treating patients with neurological conditions, he spent two summers working for geneticist Marshall Nirenberg, a Nobel Prize laureate whose lab was based at the National Institutes of Health. Bekenstein brought that experience with him as he completed the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Virginia, earning both his medical degree and Ph.D.

His fellowship training prepared him to treat epilepsy patients and read their EEGs, a diagnostic tool that gives doctors insights into a brain’s electrical activity. His Ph.D. in neuroscience focused on brain development and neuropharmacology, or how medications work in the nervous system.

As he developed as a researcher and clinician, Dr. Bekenstein gained more specialty expertise: Recording brain tissue surgically removed from patients with epilepsy. Surgery evaluation and device therapy for epilepsy. Treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis, headaches, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Precision injections to reduce headaches and face pain. Diagnosing and treating small fiber neuropathy.

The common denominator? The human brain.

“Brains are fascinating. It’s obvious that a heart pumps and a kidney filters blood, but you can’t tell what the brain and spinal cord do just from looking at them,” he says. “How the brain produces creativity, emotions, movement and behavior is not obvious and requires a deep curiosity. There is a great deal of art and beauty in studying the nervous system.”

Over the past 35 years, research has generated deeper understanding of brain development, genetics and physiology. “The biggest strides have been in stroke care, where intervention has advanced tremendously in the past decade,” Dr. Bekenstein says. “Neuro-imaging has helped with diagnoses. We are close to finding the cure for multiple sclerosis. And finally, this is the golden age of headache prevention and treatment,” noting the world saw significant breakthroughs in 2018 alone.

Such a higher standard of care is part of the integrated patient-care model in Neurology at VCU Health. The program brings together specialists – including those in neurosurgery, neuroradiology and oncology, just to name a few – to find answers and provide evidence-based care that is tailored to each person. “We’re able to provide services that other facilities cannot,” Dr. Bekenstein says. “We take seriously patients’ advance directives, and we treat everyone the same, regardless of finances. We train our residents and medical students to understand that every individual has value.”

Dr. Bekenstein is an avid cyclist and member of the VCU Health Rams that Ride team, which trains together for charity rides. He has biked countless miles to raise money for multiple sclerosis research, the Massey Cancer Institute, the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia, rehabilitation services for wounded veterans at the McGuire VA Hospital, and the Powhatan Free Clinic. He’s also a member of the Richmond Area Bicycling Association, whose charities are Bikes for Kids, Soles4Souls and the Brain Injury Association of Virginia.

Research Interests

Epilepsy, including models and clinical studies, and happiness in patients with neurological conditions

 
 

Clinical Interests

  • Adult Neurology
  • Epilepsy
  • Headaches
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neurology

News & Stories

Locations

Ambulatory Care Center

417 N. 11th Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Wellness Center (NOW Center)

11958 West Broad Street
Henrico, VA 23233

Ratings & Reviews

171 Ratings
27 Comments

Learn More About the Press Ganey Surveycompliance

hes very good at what he does , born for this ..
July 2019
Dr. Bekenstein is one of the best!
July 2019
Dr. Bekenstein was a very kind, knowledgeable dr. who was compassionate about my nerve pain. [...]
June 2019
I go to Dr. Bekenstein because I believe he's the best.
April 2019
I love Dr. Bekenstein - He always treats me like family.
April 2019
Dr. Beckenstien is an excellent doctor
March 2019
Dr. Bekenstein is the most humane, kind and considerate doctor.
February 2019
Best provider
February 2019
Dr. Bekenstein answered every question & provided confidence we would solve my issue.
February 2019
I love Dr. Bekenstein. He's been very good to me. That means a lot because I have a lot of healthcare issues. he's also good about talking with my kidney doctor.
January 2019
Love Bekenstein.Awesome Neurologist and wonderful asset to VCU Health.He takes his time with his patients. Never rushes you. EXCELLENT CARE!.You will never feel rushed. He is passionate about neurology and wants the best care and treatment for me.Thank you Dr Bekenstein.You save my life and I appreciate you and the VCU Health team so much
December 2018
Felt MD was very thorough.
December 2018
Doctor is very good
November 2018
I love Dr Bekenstein! he is very caring!
October 2018
Dr. Bekenstein was very friendly & obviously knowledgeable but I did feel talked over, and my concerns dismissed.
August 2018
I have recommended Dr. B to friends!
July 2018
Dr. Bekenstein is a wonderful doctor and was terrific at fixing my problem.
July 2018
Excellent.
July 2018
I really like Dr. Bekenstein
May 2018
Great "bedside manner."
May 2018
Dr Bekenstein is a very personable person. He listens without cutting you short.
May 2018
He thinks I am not a good candidate for it.
May 2018
My experience with Dr. Bekenstein has always been positive, I feel confident with his care.
March 2018
he's the best
March 2018
[...] I've already recommended Dr. Bekenstein .
October 2017
He spent almost an hour with me. all concerns of mine felt validated. He was my neurologist after my stroke 5 years ago: I loved him then I love him now. He truly cares and treats me like family. My best Dr by far.
October 2017
Dr. Beckenstein is the greatest.
October 2017

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Board Certifications


Clinical Interests

  • Adult Neurology
  • Epilepsy
  • Headaches
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neurology

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Locations