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Ruth E. Bristol, MD

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Associate Program Director, Pediatric Neurosurgery



Areas of Expertise

  • Ped. Neurosurgery


Phoenix Children's Hospital - Main
1919 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, Arizona 85016

About Ruth E. Bristol, MD

Ruth Bristol, MD, is a pediatric neurosurgeon who made the transition to Phoenix Children's Hospital with the other pediatric specialty practitioners, and is proud to remain part of the Barrow Neurological Institute. She remains a member of the Barrow Children's Cleft and Craniofacial Center, which offers a team approach to children with craniosyonostosis and other skull anomalies.

Dr. Bristol treats all areas of pediatric neurosurgery, including brain and spine tumors, trauma, and developmental anomalies. Her research interests include brain tumors and craniosynostosis.

Dr. Bristol believes that a supportive and involved family is very important for healing in children. Many children do not have the ability to understand complex medical problems, so gaining their trust and making them feel safe are essential to providing good care.

Originally from New Hampshire, Dr. Bristol attended Medical School at Tulane University in New Orleans. She then completed a Neurological Surgery Residency at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Post-residency subspecialty training included a Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

Dr. Bristol practices all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery, with a special interest in craniofacial disorders, hypothalamic hamartoma, hydrocephalus, tethered cord, and endoscopic neurosurgery.
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Education & Training

Board Certification

American Board of Neurological Surgery

Medical School / Education

Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans, LA


Neurological Surgery: Barrow Neurological Institute Phoenix, AZ


Pediatric Neurosurgery: Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA


General Surgery: Phoenix Integrated Surgical Residency Program Phoenix, AZ


  • Top-Doc

Questions & Answers

What led you to your career as a neurology doctor/surgeon?
The nervous system is so complex that it will remain an area of cutting edge research for my lifetime, and probably many after me.

What is the best thing about your job?
Seeing children recover.

Have you received a special gift of thanks or piece of artwork from a child?
I've received numerous drawings, all of which I've saved and peruse when I need a little pick-me-up.

What is your favorite children's book?
Petronella. It's about a princess who saves her prince.

How do you go about calming a child's fears, aside from the wonderful work of the Child Life team?
Talking to them the way I would my own children. Choosing a cartoon character they may identify with and trying to distract them with something fun.

How do you build trust with a parent?
Talking to them about their child the way I would want someone to talk to me, using my own children as an example.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Running, hiking, taking my children on adventures.

What is your favorite local restaurant?
Barrio Cafe.

Can you tell us about your family?
I have a husband who is also a neurosurgeon. I have two children, boys ages 4 and 7. They are interested in swimming, piano, and tae kwon do.

Where are you originally from, and how did you get here?
I'm from New Hampshire and went to college in Maine. I wanted to see a new part of the country for medical school, so I went to New Orleans. From there I wanted to go to the best neurosurgery training program in the country, and that lead me to the Barrow Neurological Institute. After my fellowship in Los Angeles, I was excited to join the faculty here in Phoenix.

Research & Publications

Pediatric Neurosurgery