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10 Spine Surgeon Advocates

Written by  Laura Dyrda | Wednesday, 20 July 2011 12:55
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Here are 10 spine surgeons who are dedicated to spine advocacy efforts through national societies, regional programs or through practice organizations.


Daniel Albright, MD (Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic, Raleigh, N.C.). Dr. Albright has served as the president of "Protect Health Care Now," a statewide organization in North Carolina dedicated to spreading information about improving the state's healthcare. He has also served as president of the Wake County Medical Society and the Thomas B. Dameron, Jr. Orthopaedic Education Foundation. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Sullivan is the team orthopedist for the Carolina Hurricanes professional hockey team, a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and a member of the North American Spine Society. Dr. Albright is dually fellowship-trained in spine surgery and total joint replacement. He earned his medical degree at the Louisiana State School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital. His additional fellowships were completed at St. Luke's Medical in Cleveland and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Gunnar Andersson, MD (Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, Chicago). Dr. Andersson serves as the chairman of the Public Policy Committee of SAS-International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, which is charged with, among other responsibilities, assisting in the crafting of policy and position statements on issues related to spinal healthcare. Dr. Andersson is also a chairman in spinal deformities at Rush University Medical Center. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Andersson has been committed to research and advancement of spine care. His efforts have been recognized by the North American Spine Society and he has received the ISSLS Stryker Spine Lifetime Achievement Award. His research interests include intervertebral disc biology and biomechanics and epidemiology of back pain. Dr. Andersson earned his medical degree at Sahlgren Hospital, University of Goteberg in Sweden, where he also completed his residency. Dr. Andersson's additional training includes a fellowship in orthopedics at The London Hospital in the United Kingdom.

Chris Bono, MD (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston). Dr. Bono is the chair of North American Spine Society's Professional Economic and Regulatory Committee and a member on SAS-International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery's Public Policy Committee. Through his position with NASS, he has helped advocate for spine surgery coverage for the appropriately indicated patients. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Bono conducts spine research and has published articles in professional journals such as Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Dr. Bono currently serves as the chief of spine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston. He completed his medical degree at State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn and finished his residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Medical School. His additional training includes a fellowship in spine surgery at the University of California in San Francisco.

Michael Chang, MD (Wichita Clinic, Wichita, Kan.). Dr. Chang is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the National Association of Spine Specialists, a group founded to bring together spine care providers and patients with the goal of fighting for sound health policy. He has also contributed to the efforts to extend spine care across Kansas, which has been detailed in an MD News report. Dr. Chang has a professional interest in computer-assisted spine surgery, minimally invasive surgery and caring for patients with adult spine degenerative disorders. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Chang is also a clinical assistant professor at Kansas University School of Medicine in Wichita. He earned his medical degree at Mayo Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., where he also completed his orthopedic surgery residency. His additional training includes a fellowship at the University of California in San Diego.

Thomas Errico, MD (New York University Hospital for Joint Disease, New York City).
Dr. Errico is the immediate past president of SAS-International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery and the chief of spine surgery at NYUHJD. During his time as ISASS president, Dr. Errico was instrumental in advocating for lumbar fusion coverage in states where payors were denying reimbursement to patients with degenerative disc disease. He is also a member of the North American Spine Society and the National Association of Spine Surgeons, as well as on the board of directors of the World Spine Society. During his career, Dr. Errico has participated in several studies, such as the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial and the ProDisc Lumbar Total Disc Replacement FDA trial. Dr. Errico earned his medical degree at New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J., and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at New York University Medical Center in New York City. He also completed a fellowship in spine surgery at the University of Toronto General Hospital.

John Finkenberg, MD (Alvarado Orthopaedic Medical Group, San Diego).
Dr. Finkenberg has served on the North American Spine Society Advocacy Committee and as associate editor for The Spine Journal. During his career, he has also spent time on the board of directors for the Foundation for Orthopedic Spine Research in Boston and a section editor for Spineline Journal. Dr. Finkenberg has been the chief of the orthopedic department at Alvarado Hospital Medical Center for several years and is the acting director of Alvarado Spine Center. His research includes studies on lumbar and cervical spinal fusions and he holds a patent for diagnosing fractures with intrasound vibration. Dr. Finkenberg earned his medical degree from the University of California in Los Angeles and completed his residency at Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif. His additional training includes a fellowship in spine surgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore.

Stephen Hochschuler, MD (Texas Back Institute, Plano).
Dr. Hochschuler is co-founder of Texas Back Institute and a founding board member of the Spine Arthroplasty Society. He has served as the president SAS-International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery and has been the organization's chairman for the Public Policy Review Committee. He is also a member of the North American Spine Society. Throughout his career, Dr. Hochschuler has been an innovator, serving on the advisory boards for several spine device companies and the board of directors for Alphatec Spine. He is the founder of the spine division at Veterans Administration in Dallas and has published several articles in professional journals on spinal conditions. Dr. Hochschuler earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School in Boston, where he also completed his residency. His additional training includes time in the United States Air Force, and he completed an additional residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Texas and Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Raj Rao, MD (Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee).
Dr. Rao serves as the chair of the North American Spine Society's Advocacy Committee and is currently updating the organization's Blog for Spine Care Professionals regarding healthcare issues in Congress. He also serves on the NASS board of directors and as an associate editor of The Spine Journal. During his career, he has served on many national scientific committees, including an appointment to the Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel on Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices. He has published his research on topics such as spinal biomechanics, the biology of spinal fusion and gait analysis in patients with spinal disorders. Currently, he serves as a professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Medical College of Wisconsin, where he has been the director of spine surgery since 1999. Dr. Rao earned his medical degree at the University of Bombay in India and completed his residency at the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los Angeles. He also completed a fellowship in spine surgery at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

Thomas Schuler, MD (Virginia Spine Institute, Reston). Dr. Schuler is the president and CEO of Virginia Spine Institute and founder of The Spinal Research Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting the research, education and advocacy for spinal healthcare. The Spinal Research Foundation's signature event is the "We've Got Your Back" race/walk scheduled for three cities around the country in 2011 with the purpose of raising awareness and funds for spinal health and research. During his career, Dr. Schuler has been a member of the Young Presidents Organization and currently serves as a team physician for the Washington Redskins. He is a member of several professional societies, including the North American Spine Society, and a founding member of the Degenerative Spine Study Group. He earned his medical degree at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and completed his residency at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. His additional training includes a spine surgery fellowship at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

Jeffrey Jonathan Wise, MD (Blue Ridge Orthopaedic Associates, Warrenton, Va.). Dr. Wise is a spine surgeon who has been active in spine advocacy for several years. He served as the chairman of the North American Spine Society's Advocacy Committee from 2005-2008 and has been a board member of the National Association of Spine Specialists since 2004. During his career, Dr. Wise has also served as president of the Fauquier County Medical Society and is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is also the author of several articles in professional publications and is a partner at Blue Ridge Orthopaedic Associates. Dr. Wise earned his medical degree at University of Maryland in Baltimore and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. His additional experience includes a spine surgery fellowship at Rush/Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago.

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Last modified on Monday, 25 July 2011 14:44
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