In Memoriam: Dr. Jason Tullis
Published on Monday, August 15, 2022
The Medical Center extends its sympathy to the family of a former faculty member in appreciation for the loved one’s contributions to the academic health sciences center.
Dr. Jason Tullis
Dr. Jason Edward Tullis, associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and an expert in treating conditions affecting the spine and spinal cord, died on August 3. He was 50.
Tullis, who was also associate program director of the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program, had been part of the Medical Center since at least 2001, when he completed his internship in general surgery at UMMC.
“We in the Department of Neurosurgery are disheartened over the passing of Dr. Tullis,” said Dr. Chad Washington, professor and chair of neurosurgery. “He was a great colleague, a phenomenal surgeon, and someone who cannot be replaced in our department.”
Born in La Jolla, California, Tullis grew up on the California coast, graduating from Arroyo Grande High School and Santa Clara University, where he earned a degree in English. He received his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, before arriving at UMMC for his internship. In 2006, he completed his residency in neurosurgery at the Medical Center.
Among the conditions Tullis treated were degenerative spine disorders, spinal tumors, complex spinal deformities, spinal trauma and chronic pain. He was also experienced in the use of minimally invasive procedures including lumbar discectomy, laminectomy, and spinal fusion. About a third of his practice included trauma.
At UMMC, he was known among residents for his devotion to teaching and the pride he took in watching them learn. He had been in private practice for about eight years when he accepted an offer to return to UMMC and work with residents; for him it was, an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie and a meeting of the minds.
“Probably his greatest passion in neurosurgery was working with residents,” Washington said. “That was one of his great joys – helping them develop into neurosurgeons. As a matter of fact, my first neurosurgery case was with Dr. Tullis; he was a resident and I was a medical student. He was an excellent teacher.”
A Facebook post from the UMMC Department of Neurosurgery praises Tullis as a “colleague who helped innumerable patients throughout his career. His life lessons, examples of kindness and hard work will continue on through the many successful neurosurgeons he helped train. He taught all of us how to better care for our patients. We’re honored to have known him, worked alongside him and learned from him.”
Tullis enjoyed, among other hobbies, hunting and archery, but family and neurosurgery were his greatest loves.
He is survived by his wife, Ashley Tullis, and his children Allison Tullis, Gage Acre, and Wilder Tullis. He is also survived by his parents, Norman and Janice Tullis, along with his sister, Wendy Collins, and nieces, Kalei and Kirra Arendell, and his goddaughter, Raelynn “Bug” Perry.
“I and the rest of the department extend our condolences to his family and friends,” Washington said. “We will be thinking of them and praying for them as they try to recover from their loss.”
Funeral services for Tullis were held Saturday. His family had asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the UMMC Department of Neurosurgery.
“It was his wish to provide all future doctors and surgeons with the medical equipment needed to perform their jobs,” reads his obituary. “Please send donations to www.umc.edu/neurosurgery-donate. All donations are greatly needed and appreciated. His family loved him dearly, and he will be truly missed. We will always cherish his memories and the amazing support he provided to all others above himself. We wish you peace, Jason, and will never forget your kind ways and the love and respect you gave to all others.”