Dr. Valadka attended college at the University of Dallas and medical school at the University of Chicago. His interest in neurotrauma and critical care led him to pursue his neurosurgical residency at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University. After 16 years as a medical school faculty member in Houston, he moved to Austin to help lead the newly created Seton Brain and Spine Institute, where he served as Chief Executive Officer. In 2015, he returned to Richmond to become Chair of Neurosurgery at VCU.
Dr. Valadka maintains a strong clinical and research interest in neurotrauma and critical care, including numerous papers, presentations, research grants, courses, seminars, and visiting professorships. He co-edited the textbook Neurotrauma: Evidence-Based Answers to Common Questions. He has served as Chair of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care; as Chair of the Neurosurgical Specialty Group of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma; as Chair of the Washington Committee for Neurosurgery; and on the Boards of Directors of the Coalition for American Trauma Care and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He currently serves on the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons and as Treasurer of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.