February is Black History Month: 10 Black spine surgeons to know

Spine Leaders

Out of the more than 19,565 orthopedic surgeons in the U.S., only 1.8 percent are Black. Here are 10 Black spine surgeons working to increase representation in the field.

Note: This isn't an exhaustive list. To nominate surgeons for future lists, please contact Paige Haeffele (phaeffele@beckershealthcare.com).

1. Jason Billinghurst MD, is a surgeon at IntegraMed Spine in West Palm Beach, Fla. He treats disorders of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine and specializes in minimally invasive surgery. 

2. Terrence Crowder, MD, has been named a Top Doctor by Phoenix Magazine eight times and is a surgeon with Sonoran Spine in Gilbert, Ariz., and has been named a top doctor by Phoenix Magazine eight times. He is a member of organizations including the North American Spine Society and the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society.

3. Damien Doute', MD, is an orthopedic surgeon at Spine & Orthopaedics of Atlanta. He specializes in the treatment of patients with severe back and neck pain, associated with arm and leg pain, from injuries, arthritis and aging. He has a special clinical interest in treating patients who have tried and failed previous treatments, according to his practice's website. 

4. Sonia Eden, MD, is a neurologist and spine surgeon at Semmes Murphey Clinic in Oxford, Miss. Her specialties include minimally invasive spine and brain surgery. Dr. Eden was appointed head of adult neurosurgery at Detroit Medical Center in April 2021. She was the first Black woman to hold the role and the second to lead a U.S. hospital neurosurgery program.

5. Shaina Lipa, MD, serves at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and specializes in and dedicates time toward research of the effects of healthcare reform on orthopedic quality of care, according to the hospital website.

6. Robert Myles, MDis an orthopedic spine surgeon at the Institute of Spinal Disorders, which has two locations in Hurst and Fort Worth, Texas. He specializes in reconstructive lumbar surgery along with scoliosis, disc replacement and minimally invasive surgery.

7. Ashley Simela, DO, is a orthopedic spine surgeon and Clinical Instructor of Orthopedic Surgery at Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus, N.J. He also practices at NYC Health + Hospitals in New York City. He specializes in minimally invasive neck and back surgery, orthopedic trauma and sports medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, theNorth American Spine Society and the American Osteopathic Association.

8. Bernard Rawlins, MD, is an orthopedic spine surgeon with a comprehensive practice that treats spinal disorders from cervical spine to scoliosis in adults and children. He is a member of ​​the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Cervical Spine Research Society, Scoliosis Research Society, American Board of Spine Surgery and the Orthopaedic Research Society.

9. Gbolabo Sokunbi, MD, is a spine surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery and an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He specializes in minimally invasive and motion preservation techniques and works to incorporate navigation and robotic technology. 

10. Susan Stephens, MD, is a spine and orthopedic specialist at The Institute for Spine's Beachwood, Concord and Painesville, Ohio, locations. She also is a member of the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society's board of directors.

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