About Ruth E. Bristol, MD

Ruth Bristol, MD, is a pediatric neurosurgeon at Phoenix Children's. Dr. Bristol practices all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery, including brain and spine tumors, trauma and developmental anomalies. She has a special interest in craniofacial disorders, hypothalamic hamartoma, hydrocephalus, tethered cord and endoscopic neurosurgery.

Dr. Bristol is proud to be part of the Barrow Neurological Institute surgical team. She is also a member of Phoenix Children's Center for Cleft and Craniofacial Care, which offers a collaborative approach to caring for children with craniosynostosis and other skull anomalies.

Originally from New Hampshire, Dr. Bristol earned her medical degree from Tulane University in New Orleans. She completed residency training in neurological surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix and a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

Dr. Bristol believes that a supportive and involved family is very important for optimal healing in children. She takes the time to explain complex medical conditions, which helps build understanding and strong relationships with her patients and families.

Medical School / Education

Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA


(General Surgery) Phoenix Integrated Surgical Residency Program, Phoenix, AZ


(Neurological Surgery) Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ


(Pediatric Neurosurgery) Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, CA

Neurological Surgery, American Board of Neurological Surgery

Pediatric Neurosurgery

Top Doctor Recipient, PHOENIX magazine

Pediatric Neurosurgery

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.


She was very kind and took her time to explain things to us

Dr Bristol was great. Spoke to us and our child explaining everything and answering all questions and concerns we had.

Dr. Bristol does a wonderful job connecting with my daughter, listen to our concerns and explaining everything in the detail we can understand.

Dr. Bristol does an amazing job. She takes the time to speak with the patient then allows parents to join. I appreciate the time taken to review the images to explain the next steps.