Joseph I. Sirven, M.D.

  1. Neurologist
  2. Chair, Neurology, Arizona
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My name is Dr. Joe Sirven. I am a professor and chairman, actually, of the department of neurology here at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and I specialize in epilepsy care.

I think that the best way to describe why I love my work in epilepsy is because I have so many different ways I can help the individual with epilepsy. When I was studying in med school, we had basically three medications for epilepsy, surgery was considered experimental, and there was nothing else out there. We now have 28 different medications for the management of epilepsy, some of which are very targeted to specific types. All those options let's you really try on a lot of different hats, if you will, when you're trying to present those options to a patient.

I think what you need to know about me in that situation is that we care. We want to help. We are there to partner. We are going to listen and we're going to try to figure out how we're going to put together an honest, realistic treatment approach that, number one, gets us to as best a cure that we can get to and, if not a cure, whatever gets us to the goal of decent, good quality of life.

That's what matters.

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Joseph I. Sirven, M.D., is a professor of neurology and editor-in-chief of He is currently chair of the AAN Education Meeting Subcommittee and he is on the board of directors for the American Brain Foundation and the editorial board of Neurology Now. Previously, he served as director of education for Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus with oversight over all educational activities at the Arizona campus, including medical student rotations, residencies, fellowships, Ph.D. candidates, nursing, allied health and continuing medical education programs. He was the previous chair of Neurology at Mayo Clinic's campus is Arizona and the previous vice chair of the Epilepsy Section of the American Academy of Neurology, chair of the Communication Council for the American Epilepsy Society and former chair of the Professional Advisory Board for the Epilepsy Foundation.

Dr. Sirven is Cuban-American and served as chief medical contributor for NBC Latino, the English-language website for Latinos by NBC News. He is currently the medical commentator for KJZZ radio in Phoenix, the NPR affiliate for Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Sirven has published extensively on epilepsy and its treatment. His interests in epilepsy include:

  • Status epilepticus
  • Surgical therapy
  • Epilepsy in older adults and psychosocial issues, particularly those involving Hispanic populations and transportation

His articles have appeared in Neurology, Epilepsia, The Lancet, Archives of Neurology, Annals of Neurology, Epilepsy & Behavior and Mayo Clinic Proceedings. He is editor of seven textbooks, including Clinical Neurology of the Older Adult, the American Epilepsy Society's Introduction to Epilepsy, Clinical Epilepsy, and An Atlas of Video EEG Monitoring. He is currently director of the Epilepsy Program at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus.

  1. Epilepsy
  2. Seizure
  1. EEG
  2. Epilepsy surgery
  3. Ketogenic diet
  • Epilepsy and seizure treatments in adults and children (particularly older adults)
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Electroencephalography
  • Investigational anti-epilepsy drugs
  • Status epilepticus
  • Vagal nerve stimulator
  • Ketogenic diet
  1. 1996
    Fellow - EEG / Clinical epilepsyGraduate Hospital, University of Pennsylvania
  2. 1994
    Resident - NeurologyUniversity of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics
  3. 1991
    Internship - Internal MedicineAlton Ochsner Medical Foundation
  4. 1990
    MDLouisiana State University School of Medicine
  5. 1985
    BS - BiologyGeorgetown University


  1. 1999
    Clinical NeurophysiologyAmerican Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  2. 1996
    NeurologyAmerican Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


Research activities

See a description of research activities.