Dr. Ali Baaj to build UArizona-Banner spine program from scratch in new role


Spine surgeon Ali Baaj, MD, became the inaugural chief of spine surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix on Oct. 1.

As spine surgery chief, Dr. Baaj will build a new academic spine program at UArizona-Banner.

"I will work closely with the talented group of surgeons already providing quality spine care at Banner to enhance and expand our services," Dr. Baaj said. "The impact that this program, as part of the leading university and healthcare organization in Arizona, can have on the community and the region is immeasurable."

While continuing to treat complex spinal conditions with an emphasis on spinal deformity and oncology, Dr. Baaj will be tasked with aligning providers, resources and infrastructure to ensure exceptional spine care.

Additionally, he serves as an associate professor in the departments of neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery.

Dr. Baaj will also be working with Banner to provide educational seminars on topics such as back pain, neck pain and spine surgery.

Once he settles into his new responsibilities, Dr. Baaj plans to initiate a prospective clinical outcomes registry to study patient-reported outcomes after surgery and to conduct national training initiatives.

Previously, Dr. Baaj served as an associate professor of neurological surgery and co-director of the Spinal Deformity and Scoliosis Program at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

The editor of four textbooks on spinal surgery, he has published more than 100 abstracts and manuscripts and authored numerous book chapters.

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