NASS On Spine

July 07, 2017

Q&A With Michael Stauff, MD

1. What is your hometown and where do you currently live?

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. I currently live in a suburban town in between Boston, MA and Worcester, MA.

2. What is your educational background?

I received my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Denison University in Granville, OH. I received my medical school training at Penn State School of Medicine in Hershey, PA. I also did my Orthopedic Surgery residency at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. After completion of my residency, I was on active duty for the army for a few years, and then I did my Orthopedic Spine Surgery fellowship at Stanford University.

3. Tell us a little bit about your practice/specialty ...

I am an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon practicing at UMass Memorial Medical Center. I treat all types of spinal pathology, including degenerative, spinal tumors, spinal infections and deformity. Because I practice at a tertiary care medical center with a trauma center, I also treat spinal fractures and spinal cord injuries on a regular basis.

4. How long have you been a NASS member and why did you join?

I joined NASS at the end of my residency because I was interested in spinal surgery and it gave me exposure to those who are in the field, access to The Spine Journal, and notifications about meetings, etc. There are multiple specialties who care for patients with spinal pathology and NASS as an organization does a good job keeping all the different specialties together "at the same table" to discuss issues that are important to our patients.

5. You are one of the deputy editors of The Spine Journal. What has that experience been like for you so far?

It has been a great experience for me to be a part of the editorial process for TSJ, which is a very important journal in our field and has a very broad international readership. I enjoyed my time as a reviewer and now as a Deputy Editor, I feel privileged to serve on the editorial board with the other deputy editors and under the Chief Editor, Dr. Eugene Carragee.

6. The Spine Journal has evolved a lot over the years and is a highly respected medical journal. Is there anything about TSJ or the process of getting published in it that might surprise people?

One of the most surprising things to me still is the number of submissions that TSJ receives. The impact factor has remained the highest for a spinal journal and the readership continues to expand, and these two factors have led to a significant increase in submissions. Although this increases the amount of work for the editorial staff, this allows each monthly edition of the journal to be full of important articles for spine care providers.

7. Social media is becoming more prevalent every day in our world. Do you use social media at all professionally and if so, which platforms do you prefer?

I would say that I am slow to adopt any social media platforms in my professional life. It probably doesn’t help that I don’t use social media at all in my personal life!

8. What is your opinion of the way the health care industry is currently covered in the media?

That is a complex question but I certainly think it is fair to say that all facets of the health care industry as a whole are not thoroughly covered in the media. The media tends to be focused on items directly related to financial details related to care for patients and for the industry as a whole. These are obviously important, but there seems to be little mention of the ways in which our patients benefit from the care they receive.

9. What do you do for relaxation in your down time (example: hobbies, sports, travel)?

Given my demanding schedule, it is challenging to find time for hobbies. But, I do enjoy spending time with my wife and three young children. We enjoy the New England seasons by travelling to various beaches in the summer and winter sports during the cold winter months. When I do get some extra time, I enjoy playing golf in the warmer seasons.
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