Menu UF Health Home Menu

Kenneth Heilman, M.D.

Kenneth Heilman, M.D.
Professor of Neurology & Health Psychology

Phone: (352) 273-5550
Fax: (352) 273-5575

Physical Address:

Department of Neurology
Room L3-100, McKnight Brain Institute
1149 Newell Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611

Mailing Address:

Department of Neurology
University of Florida College of Medicine
HSC Box 100236
Gainesville, FL 32610-0236

View campus map

Director, University of Florida Memory Disorders Clinics
Director, University of Florida Center for Neuropsychological Studies
Director, University of Florida Behavioral Neurology-Neuropsychiatry Fellowship Program

Professional Background

M.D., University of Virginia (1963)

Personal Info

Dr. Kenneth M. Heilman received his M.D. degree from the University of Virginia in 1963 and subsequently spent two years training in Internal Medicine at Cornell University Medical Center (Bellevue). During the Vietnam War he joined the Air Force and was Chief of Medicine at NATO Hospital, Izmir, Turkey. When he was discharged from the service, he took a Neurology residency and fellowship at the Harvard Neurological Unit (Boston City) with Dr. Derek Denny-Brown and then with Dr. Norman Geschwind. After completing his residency and fellowship, he joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1970, as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1973 and Professor in 1975. He received an endowed chair in 1990 making him the first James E Rooks, Jr. Professor of Neurology. In 1998, he was in the first group of the faculty to be awarded the title of Distinguished Professor. He is also a professor of Clinical and Health Psychology.

Dr. Heilman is an active clinician who is Director of the Memory and Cognitive Disorder Clinics. His primary clinical interests are in attentional, emotional and cognitive disorders. His expertise as a clinician has been recognized by being listed in every edition of the Best Doctors in America as well as other publications. Dr. Heilman is also an educator. In addition to teaching medical and psychology students, he is active in resident education and has been director of a post doctoral program that has trained more than 70 post doctoral fellows. The majority of these fellows now hold academic positions in this and other universities. Several of Dr. Heilman’s former fellows are now leaders in academic Neurology and Neuropsychology. Dr. Heilman also has an active research program. He is the author of several texts, and has more than 600 books, chapters and articles in peer reviewed journals.

Research Interests

Dr. Heilman’s research has been almost continuously funded by federal agencies (e.g., VA Merit Review and/or National Institutes of Health) for the last 30 years. Currently, he and his coworkers receive more than one million dollars a year in research funding. In recognition of his research contributions, he was in the first group of individuals to receive the University of Florida Research Foundation Professorships. Dr. Heilman also received the Clinical Research Award from the University of Florida College of Medicine. He had been elected President of the International Neuropsychology Society and the Behavioral Neurology Society. This latter organization also gave him the Outstanding Achievement Award for his research and educational contributions to Neurology.

Some of the research advances he and his coworkers reported include:

  • The demonstration that a cortical (frontal-parietal)-limbic (cingulate)-reticular (thalamic and mesencephalic) network mediates attention and that the right hemisphere is dominant for attending to both sides of the environment.
  • Prior to three decades ago it was thought that the left hemisphere was dominant for speech and language. Dr. Heilman and his coworkers demonstrated that it was the right hemisphere that was important for emotional communication.
  • That skilled movement, such as using a pair of scissors, is mediated by a left hemisphere modular network where the parietal lobe contains the memories of the spatial trajectories needed to perform skilled movements and the frontal lobe (premotor cortex) performs the computations that transfer this knowledge to a motor code.
  • That the right hemisphere’s parietal lobe controls the autonomic nervous system.

Publications Extracted from Medline

Click here to view publication list