Executive Committee

Christopher Ames, MD

Dr. Ames is director of spinal tumor and spinal deformity surgery at UCSF Medical Center as well as co-director of the Neurospinal Disorders Program and the UCSF Spine Center. He is a specialist in spinal reconstructive surgery for trauma, tumors and degenerative disease, particularly en bloc tumor resection for chordoma, chondrosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, sacral tumors and other primary and metastatic tumors. Dr. Ames directs the Neurosurgical Spinal Deformity service that treats more than 200 patients a year for correction of scoliosis, kyphosis, flat back, chin on chest deformity in ankylosing spondylitis, basilar invagination in rheumatoid arthritis, spondylolisthesis and postoperative deformity.

Christopher Ames, MD

Dr. Ames is director of spinal tumor and spinal deformity surgery at UCSF Medical Center as well as co-director of the Neurospinal Disorders Program and the UCSF Spine Center. He is a specialist in spinal reconstructive surgery for trauma, tumors and degenerative disease, particularly en bloc tumor resection for chordoma, chondrosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, sacral tumors and other primary and metastatic tumors. Dr. Ames directs the Neurosurgical Spinal Deformity service that treats more than 200 patients a year for correction of scoliosis, kyphosis, flat back, chin on chest deformity in ankylosing spondylitis, basilar invagination in rheumatoid arthritis, spondylolisthesis and postoperative deformity.

Shay Bess, MD

President/Chairman

Shay Bess MD, has been a member of the International Spine Study Group since 2007, serves on the Executive Committee and is the President of the International Spine Study Group Foundation. Dr. Bess completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University, medical school at Johns Hopkins University, orthopedic training at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals, and fellowship in adult and pediatric spine surgery at the Washington University in St. Louis. Dr.  Bess treats pediatric and adult spine pathologies at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, Colorado at the Denver International Spine Center. Dr. Bess is also actively involved in medical mission work providing charity surgery for children in need in Africa and Central America. 

Shay Bess, MD

President/Chairman

Shay Bess MD, has been a member of the International Spine Study Group since 2007, serves on the Executive Committee and is the President of the International Spine Study Group Foundation. Dr. Bess completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University, medical school at Johns Hopkins University, orthopedic training at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals, and fellowship in adult and pediatric spine surgery at the Washington University in St. Louis. Dr.  Bess treats pediatric and adult spine pathologies at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, Colorado at the Denver International Spine Center. Dr. Bess is also actively involved in medical mission work providing charity surgery for children in need in Africa and Central America. 

Douglas Burton, MD

Treasurer

Dr. Burton attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS and received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine in Dallas, TX.  He completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center, in Kansas City, KS and his spine fellowships at Texas Back Institute in Plano, TX and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. In 2000, he returned to the University of Kansas Medical Center and joined the Orthopedic Surgery department where he specializes in pediatric and adult spine disorders.  Currently, he is the Marc & Elinor Asher Spine Professor, the Vice-Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and Co-Medical Director of the University of Kansas Hospital Operating Rooms.
 

Douglas Burton, MD

Treasurer

Dr. Burton attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS and received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine in Dallas, TX.  He completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center, in Kansas City, KS and his spine fellowships at Texas Back Institute in Plano, TX and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. In 2000, he returned to the University of Kansas Medical Center and joined the Orthopedic Surgery department where he specializes in pediatric and adult spine disorders.  Currently, he is the Marc & Elinor Asher Spine Professor, the Vice-Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and Co-Medical Director of the University of Kansas Hospital Operating Rooms.
 

Robert Hart, MD

Dr. Hart earned his medical degree at UC San Diego and completed a residency in orthopedics at University of Iowa and a fellowship in adult spine at Case Western. He joined Oregon Health & Science University in Portland as an Assistant Professor in 1998 and was promoted to Professor with Tenure in 2010.  He served as Program Director of OHSU's Orthopedic Residency 2007-2011 and founded and directed the Adult Spine Fellowship from 2003-2016.  He currently serves as Medical Director of Spinal Deformity for the Swedish Health System in Seattle.  Dr. Hart joined the ISSG in 2008 and joined the Executive Committee in 2012.
 

Robert Hart, MD

Dr. Hart earned his medical degree at UC San Diego and completed a residency in orthopedics at University of Iowa and a fellowship in adult spine at Case Western. He joined Oregon Health & Science University in Portland as an Assistant Professor in 1998 and was promoted to Professor with Tenure in 2010.  He served as Program Director of OHSU's Orthopedic Residency 2007-2011 and founded and directed the Adult Spine Fellowship from 2003-2016.  He currently serves as Medical Director of Spinal Deformity for the Swedish Health System in Seattle.  Dr. Hart joined the ISSG in 2008 and joined the Executive Committee in 2012.
 

Virginie Lafage, PhD

Virginie Lafage obtained her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the prestigious Ecole Nationale Supérieur d'Arts et Métiers (ENSAM) in Paris, France. She started at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York as a Research Scientist and Director of Biomechanics Research in 2006 and went on to become Director of Spine Research. She now leads the Spine Research team at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Her collaborations with Dr. Frank Schwab and the International Spine Study Group have furthered the understanding of sagittal alignment and spino-pelvic interplay in the setting of the evaluation and treatment of complex spinal pathologies.

Virginie Lafage, PhD

Virginie Lafage obtained her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the prestigious Ecole Nationale Supérieur d'Arts et Métiers (ENSAM) in Paris, France. She started at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York as a Research Scientist and Director of Biomechanics Research in 2006 and went on to become Director of Spine Research. She now leads the Spine Research team at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Her collaborations with Dr. Frank Schwab and the International Spine Study Group have furthered the understanding of sagittal alignment and spino-pelvic interplay in the setting of the evaluation and treatment of complex spinal pathologies.

Frank Schwab, MD

Vice President

Dr. Schwab's clinical practice focuses on complex spinal pathology, adult spinal deformity and revision reconstruction procedures. He is focused on innovating patient-specific operative treatment, optimizing sagittal realignment guidelines, emphasizing the use of pre-operative planning technologies and techniques for complex spine surgery. In concert with patient care, he developed the first definitive classification of adult spinal deformity that has become a clinical standard for spinal surgeons worldwide. Dr Schwab serves as Chief of Spine Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City.

Frank Schwab, MD

Vice President

Dr. Schwab's clinical practice focuses on complex spinal pathology, adult spinal deformity and revision reconstruction procedures. He is focused on innovating patient-specific operative treatment, optimizing sagittal realignment guidelines, emphasizing the use of pre-operative planning technologies and techniques for complex spine surgery. In concert with patient care, he developed the first definitive classification of adult spinal deformity that has become a clinical standard for spinal surgeons worldwide. Dr Schwab serves as Chief of Spine Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City.

Christopher Shaffrey, MD

Secretary

Dr. Shaffrey is currently Professor of Neurological Surgery and Director of the Neurosurgery Spine Division at the University of Virginia. He is board certified in the fields of Neurological Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Shaffrey has an active research interest in spinal surgery, particularly in numerous multicenter outcome research studies of pediatric and adult scoliosis, spinal cord injury, spinal trauma and tumors involving the spinal column. During his career in medicine, Dr. Shaffrey has won numerous awards for clinical medicine.

Christopher Shaffrey, MD

Secretary

Dr. Shaffrey is currently Professor of Neurological Surgery and Director of the Neurosurgery Spine Division at the University of Virginia. He is board certified in the fields of Neurological Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Shaffrey has an active research interest in spinal surgery, particularly in numerous multicenter outcome research studies of pediatric and adult scoliosis, spinal cord injury, spinal trauma and tumors involving the spinal column. During his career in medicine, Dr. Shaffrey has won numerous awards for clinical medicine.

Justin Smith, MD, PhD

Dr. Smith is a Professor of Neurological Surgery at UVA. He is co-director of the UVA Spine Center and Neurosurgery Spine Division. His practice is predominantly spinal surgery and includes cervical and thoracolumbar deformity reconstruction, oncology, trauma, degenerative disease, and complex revision surgery. His research interests focus on clinical outcomes of spinal surgery, and he has published extensively in this and other areas, with more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and more than 500 presented abstracts at national and international meetings.

Justin Smith, MD, PhD

Dr. Smith is a Professor of Neurological Surgery at UVA. He is co-director of the UVA Spine Center and Neurosurgery Spine Division. His practice is predominantly spinal surgery and includes cervical and thoracolumbar deformity reconstruction, oncology, trauma, degenerative disease, and complex revision surgery. His research interests focus on clinical outcomes of spinal surgery, and he has published extensively in this and other areas, with more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and more than 500 presented abstracts at national and international meetings.

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