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10 Spine Surgeons Involved in Humanitarian Spine Care

Written by  Laura Dyrda | Wednesday, 26 October 2011 16:07
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Here are 10 spine surgeons who have founded organizations or are involved in medical mission trips to provide humanitarian spine care to underserved populations around the world.
Fabien Bitan, MD (Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City). Dr. Bitan is the chief of spine services at Lenox Hill Hospital and an assistant professor at Albert Einstein Medical College in New York City. He is active in Children of China, an organization that offers humanitarian medical evaluation and treatment to young Chinese orphans with spinal deformities. He also participates in humanitarian missions through Children of China Pediatric Foundation. During his career, Dr. Bitan has been at the forefront of using minimally invasive endoscopic techniques and participated as a principle investigator in artificial disc technology studies. Dr. Bitan earned his medical degree at Paris University and completed his residency at Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris. His additional training includes a pediatric orthopedics fellowship at Hospital for Special Surgery and a spine surgery fellowship at Beth Israel Medical Center, both in New York City.

Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD (Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City). Dr. Boachie-Adjei is the chief of the scoliosis service at Hospital for Special Surgery. A native of Ghana, Dr. Boachie-Adjei is also the founder and president of the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine, where he has helped provide orthopedic medical care to the underserved populations in West Africa and other third world nations. In 2004, his humanitarian work was recognized by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons with the Humanitarian Award, and the following year he received the Science and Peace Gold Medal from the Albert Schweitzer International University in Switzerland. He has been featured in a Discovery Channel documentary "Surgery Saved My Life." During his career, Dr. Boachie-Adjei has been elected president of the Scoliosis Research Society and published extensively on scoliosis. Dr. Boachie-Adjei earned his medical degree at Columbia University in New York City and completed his fellowship at the Twin Cities Scoliosis Center and Minnesota Spine Center.

Charles L. Branch, Jr., MD (Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.).
Dr. Branch is the chair of neurosurgery at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and previously served as president of the North American Spine Society. During his career, Dr. Branch has directed several medical mission programs in Haiti, Guyana, Nigeria and Guatemala. He also serves on the governing board of Eastern European Missions, which facilitates Bible distribution and faith-based humanitarian relief efforts in former Soviet countries. Dr. Branch holds 13 patents recognizing his fusion techniques and the technology he developed for minimally invasive spinal procedures. Dr. Branch earned his medical degree at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and completed his neurosurgical training at Wake Forest University. His additional training includes a fellowship in neurological surgery at the University of California in San Francisco.

Stanley D. Gertzbein, MD (Aspen Orthopaedic Associates, Aspen, Colo.). Dr. Gertzbein is a spine surgeon with Aspen Orthopaedic Associates with a special interest in complex spinal trauma. During his career, Dr. Gertzbein has traveled to third world countries to provide medical care. His service includes a 1994 trip to war-torn regions of Croatia to provide aid to underserved populations. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Gertzbein has held appointments on the executive boards of the International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine, North American Spine Society and Scoliosis Research Society. He has also served on the editorial boards for Spine and The Spine Journal. Dr. Gertzbein earned his medical degree at the University of Toronto Medical School in Ontario, Canada, and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital and Orthopaedic Hospital & Sunnybrook Hospital, both in Toronto. His additional training includes a research fellowship at Sunnybrook Medical Center in Toronto, Northwick Hospital in England and St. Mary Hospital in Hong Kong.

Isador Lieberman, MD, MBA (Texas Back Institute, Plano). This past April, Dr. Lieberman was recognized with the Health Volunteers Overseas Golden Apple Award for his contributions to international humanitarian work. He was instrumental in the concept and design for Uganda Spine Mission and has participated in several fundraising and mission trips supporting the organization. During his career, he has served on the Global Outreach Committee for the Scoliosis Research Society. Dr. Lieberman also performs robotic-assisted spine surgery. He earned his medical degree at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. His additional training includes spine surgery fellowships at The Toronto Hospital and Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, United Kingdom.

Hooman M. Melamed, MD (DISC Sports & Spine Center, Marina del Rey, Calif.). Dr. Melamed is the co-director of the spine surgery program at DISC Sports & Spine Center and a spine consultant at Shriners Hospital in California. For the past few years, Dr. Melamed has spent time traveling to impoverished countries around the world to treat children with scoliosis, including time in Haiti after the earthquake in early 2010. He also volunteers his services with International Humanitarian Aid Foundation, where he works with orphans in Haiti. Dr. Melamed is a member of North American Spine Society and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He earned his medical degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His additional training includes a fellowship in complex spine surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Andrew Moulton, MD (University Orthopaedics, Hawthorne, N.Y.).
Dr. Moulton is a spine surgeon with University Orthopedics and director of the Scoliosis Clinic at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y. He is the president and co-founder of the Butterfly Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at sending spine surgeons from the United States to the Dominican Republic to teach local surgeons the latest techniques. Dr. Moulton is a member of the Global Outreach Program of the Scoliosis Research Society and committee chairman of the Spine Care Relief United Beyond Boarders program sponsored by the North American Spine Society. During his career, Dr. Moulton has volunteered with the Children's Relief Mission in Honduras, co-coordinated the Spine Harvesting Program and co-founded a program to teach practical Spanish to physicians. Dr. Moulton earned his medical degree at SUNY-Downstate School of Medicine in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he also completed his residency. His additional training includes a spine surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Joint Disease in New York City.

Duane D. H. Pitt, MD (Desert Institute for Spine Disorders, Scottsdale, Ariz.).
Dr. Pitt is the president of Desert Institute for Spine Disorders and serves as medical director for Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, Shea and Thomas Peak campuses. Dr. Pitt was the first spine surgeon to support the Surgical Humanitarian Mission to the Dominican Republic. He currently serves on the board of the International Surgical Foundation and has been involved in several additional humanitarian efforts. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Pitt consults on sports-related spine injuries for the Phoenix Suns, San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Dr. Pitt is also an aerospace medicine trained flight surgeon in the Air National Guard, holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Dr. Pitt earned his medical degree at the University of California at Irvine School of Medicine and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Loma Linda (Calif.) University Medical Center. His additional training includes a spine fellowship at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he focused on minimally invasive surgery, spinal deformity correction and sports-related spinal injuries.

Kamshad Raiszadeh, MD (Spine Institute of San Diego).
Dr. Raiszadeh is the medical director of the Advanced Spine Institute & Minimally Invasive Spine Center at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. He is also the founder of the Spine Humanitarian and Research Education foundation, which is devoted to providing charitable care and advancing the science of spine care across the world. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Raiszadeh also founded Spine Zone, a medically based spine strengthening program, and is an active member in the Scoliosis Research Society and North American Spine Society. Dr. Raiszadeh earned his medical degree from the University of California in San Francisco and completed his residency at UC Davis. His additional training includes an adult and pediatric spine surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Joint Disease in New York City.

Krzysztof B. Siemionow, MD (Chicago Center for Orthopedics at Weiss Memorial Hospital).
Dr. Siemionow is a surgeon at the Chicago Center for Orthopedics at Weiss and an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He participates in an annual spine surgery mission to Uganda in East Africa where he treats adult and adolescent patients with spinal trauma, scoliosis, tumors and infection. During his career, Dr. Siemionow has published several professional articles on spine surgery and received a National Institute of Health grant for his studies. He also holds several patents for developing devices and technologies that are used in nerve and spine surgery. Currently, he is working on applications for terahertz electromagnetic waves in collaboration with scientists at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Siemionow earned his medical degree at Karol Marcinkowski University in Poland and completed his residency at Cleveland Clinic. His additional training includes fellowships at the Cleveland Clinic Spine Institute and Rush Medical Center in Chicago.

If you would like to recommend a spine surgeon leader to highlight in future weekly lists, please e-mail Laura at laura@beckersasc.com.

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