Recognition Awards

NASS has five awards available to recognize unique and outstanding contributions to the field of spine. Three of the awards were named for founding members of NASS who not only made outstanding contributions to the field of spinal disorder management, but also played key roles in the early success of NASS. In 2015 NASS added two awards: Spine Advocacy and Past President (Candidate must be 2 years removed from Presidency/Awarded every three years)

2021 Recognition Awards

Winners will be notified by mid-summer

Types of Awards

Henry Farfan Award

To recognize outstanding contributions in spine related basic science research.

David Selby Award

To recognize contributions to the art and science of spinal disorder management through service to NASS but has not been elected NASS President

Leon Wiltse Award

To recognize excellence in leadership and/or clinical research in spine care.

Past President Award

To recognize a Past President of NASS who has made exceptional contributions to the society and its mission following their presidency. (Candidate must be 2 years removed from Presidency/Awarded every three years)

Spine Advocacy Award

To recognize members of the North American Spine Society who have made exceptional contributions to the federal advocacy efforts on behalf of patients and members of the society.

Past Award Winners:

Year Award Winner
2019 David Selby Gregory L. Whitcomb, DC
2019 Leon Wiltse Charles G. Fisher, MD, FRCSC, MHS
2019 Henry Farfan David J. Kennedy, MD
2019 NASS Spine Advocacy Neil Kahanovitz, MD
2018 David Selby Jerome Schofferman, MD
2018 Leon Wiltse Sohail K. Mirza, MD, MPH
2018 Henry Farfan Jeffrey C. Lotz, MD
2018 NASS Spine Advocacy John G. Finkenberg, MD
2018 Past President Jean-Jacques Abitbol, MD
2017 David Selby William Mitchell, MD
2017 Leon Wiltse K. Daniel Riew, MD
2017 >Henry Farfan S. Tim Yoon, MD, PhD
2017 NASS Spine Advocacy David A Wong, MD, MCs, FRCS
2016 David Selby Jim Reynolds, MD
2016 Leon Wiltse Keith Bridwell, MD
2016 Henry Farfan Makarand V. Risbud, PhD
2016 NASS Spine Advocacy Charles A. Mick, MD
2015 David Selby Donna M. Lahey, RNFA
2015 Leon Wiltse Frank J. Eismont, MD
2015 Henry Farfan James C. Iatridis, PhD
2015 Past President David A. Wong, MD, MSc, FRCS
2015 NASS Spine Advocacy Dr. Jeffrey J. Wise, MD
2014 David Selby Raj D. Rao, MD
2014 Leon Wiltse Ziya Gokaslan, MD, FACS, FAANS
2014 Henry Farfan Michael H. Heggeness, MD, PhD
2013 David Selby Marjorie Eskay-Auerbach, MD, JD
2013 Leon Wiltse Lawrence G. Lenke, MD
2013 Henry Farfan Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD
2012 David Selby Thomas Faciszewski, MD
2012 Leon Wiltse Marcel F. Dvorak, MD
2012 Henry Farfan Helen Gruber, PhD
2011 David Selby Joel Press, MD
2011 Leon Wiltse Kiyoshi Kaneda, MD
2011 Henry Farfan Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD
2010 David Selby Serena S. Hu, MD
2010 Leon Wiltse Alexander R. Vaccaro, MD
2010 Henry Farfan Narayan Yoganandan, PhD
2009 David Selby Stanley A. Herring, MD
2009 Leon Wiltse Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, FRCSC
2009 Henry Farfan Avinash Patwardhan, PhD
2008 David Selby David A. Wong, MD
2008 Leon Wiltse Eugene Carragee, MD
2008 Henry Farfan Kenneth M. C. Cheung, MD
2007 David Selby Edward C. Benzel, MD
2007 Leon Wiltse Arthur D. Steffee, MD
2007 Henry Farfan James D. Kang, MD
2006 David Selby Hansen Yuan, MD
2006 Leon Wiltse Henry Bohlman, MD
2006 Henry Farfan Vijay Goel, PhD
2005 David Selby Scott Halderman, MD
2005 Leon Wiltse Harry Herkowitz, MD
2005 Henry Farfan Howard An, MD
2004 David Selby Tom Mayer, MD
2004 Leon Wiltse Edward C. Benzel, MD
2004 Henry Farfan James Weinstein, MD
2003 David Selby Steven Garfin, MD
2003 Leon Wiltse Scott Boden, MD
2003 Henry Farfan Bryan Cunningham, MSc
2002 David Selby Bruce Fredrickson, MD
2002 Leon Wiltse John Kostuik, MD
2002 Henry Farfan F. Todd Wetzel, MD
2001 David Selby Richard Guyer, MD
2001 Leon Wiltse John McCulloch, MD
2001 Henry Farfan Robert Gatchel, PhD
2000 David Selby David Fardon, MD
2000 Leon Wiltse Steve Garfin, MD
2000 Henry Farfan Hamilton Hall, MD
1999 David Selby Casey Lee, MD
1999 Leon Wiltse Thomas S. Whitecloud III, MD
1999 Henry Farfan Vert Mooney, MD
1998 David Selby J. Walt Simmons, Jr., MD
1998 Leon Wiltse Hansen Yuan, MD
1998 Henry Farfan Manohar Panjabi, PhD
1997 David Selby J. Elmer Nix, MD
1997 Leon Wiltse Charles D. Ray, MD
1997 Henry Farfan Tom G. Mayer, MD
1996 David Selby John P. Kostuik, MD
1996 Leon Wiltse Thomas E. Whitesides, Jr., MD
1996 Henry Farfan William C. Hutton, DSc
1991 David Selby W. H. Kirkaldy-Willis, MD

David Selby
David Selby

2020 Recognition Award Recipients

Henry Farfan Award

Barbara D. Boyan
Dr. Boyan is a six-year member of NASS, and is the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin, Jr. Dean of Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also a professor of biomedical engineering, with affiliate appointments in numerous disciplines.

Her remarkable contributions have been important in describing the interactions between spine implant materials, surfaces and bone physiology. She is renowned for her work on the interaction of osteoblast lineage cells with biomaterials used in spine for interbody fusions, including bone graft substitutes and metal cages. She has been instrumental in helping surgeons understand the underlying concepts in bone biology that are involved in this interaction and how different materials, particularly their surface properties, impact osteogenesis during the fusion process.

Dr. Boyan has published more than 500 peerreviewed papers. She has converted her knowledge in basic science to inventions that are used clinically worldwide. She served on the FDA’s Orthopaedic Device Panel for six years and was chair when spine cages were first introduced. Dr. Boyan holds 23 issued US patents. She has founded a number of biomedical technology companies and has served on boards of both public and private companies, as well as not-for-profit organizations and government agencies.

Nominated by Paul Slosar, MD and Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD

David Selby Award

Michael R. Klein, Jr.
Dr. Klein is a 11-year member of NASS, and a Clinical Professor at the University of California–Davis’ Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He is very committed to fostering the educational mission of NASS, and has acted as moderator for SpinePAC symposia at the 2016 and 2017 Annual Meetings.

As cochair of the SpinePAC Advisory Committee, Dr. Klein stresses that NASS requires funding to continue and maintain a voice in Washington for our membership. Because of NASS’ work, we have a voice in Washington. He has cohosted five SpinePAC fundraising dinners and plans to continue. SpinePAC had its most successful fundraising year in 2018, in no small part due to Dr. Klein’s efforts.

His educational contributions to SpineConnect as moderator and facilitator focus on stimulating and encouraging our worldwide colleagues to post clinical cases with teaching issues, as well as encouraging spine care providers to ask for assistance in difficult cases. Since taking on this position in 2015, the membership of SpineConnect has doubled. For the 2016 and 2017 Annual Meetings, he chose four cases from SpineConnect users who represented four different continents to come and discuss their cases in a special SpineConnect session — both sessions were highly regarded by attendees.

Nominated by Eric J. Muehlbauer, MJ, CAE

Leon Wiltse Award

Richard D. Guyer
Dr. Guyer is a 34-year member of NASS and served as the 2006-2007 NASS President. He has served on a number of NASS committees and continues to be active with the society. He currently serves on The Spine Journal, volunteered with the former Motion Preservation Section, hosted Chinese spine surgeons as part of the NASS CAOS Spine Fellows Program, and participates in NASS’ International Education Programs.

Outside of his work with NASS, he cofounded the Texas Back Institute (TBI) in 1982, one of the preeminent practices in spine globally. He is the founder and chairman of the TBI Research Foundation. As director of the TBI Spine Fellowship since 1986, he has trained more than 125 domestic and 100 international fellows. TBI’s research in clinical studies including discographies, MRIs, MIS surgeries and total disc replacements serve as seminal studies to this day. His foundation is the recipient of grants and numerous accolades including the prestigious Volvo Award for low back pain research. Along with his partners, he has participated in nearly a dozen FDA IDE trials. Most recently, he has been the coprincipal investigator in two of the most recent cervical disc trials. His research in the clinical sciences remains relevant and serves in numerous clinical algorithms outlining spine care.

Nominated by Scott Blumenthal, MD & Jean-Jacques Abitbol, MD

Spine Advocacy Award

Jeffrey C. Wang
Dr. Wang earned his MD at the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine. In 1997, he joined the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA as Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, in 2002 also was appointed Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, and became Associate Professor in both disciplines in 2003. He became Vice Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and served as the spine fellowship director. In 2013, he moved to the University of Southern California Spine Center. He is currently a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery at the Keck Medical Center at USC, Co-Director of the USC Spine Center and Fellowship Director of the USC Spine Fellowship.

During his tenure as NASS President, NASS Advocacy efforts reached new heights for fundraising and outreach, thanks in large part to Dr. Wang’s efforts and leadership. During the current election cycle, Dr. Wang has hosted a SpinePAC fundraising dinner with key health care policy maker US Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and moderated the NASS COVID-19 joint webinar featuring US Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36) with AANS/CNS and AAOS. Dr. Wang also helped to secure the venue for the 2018 Advocacy Dinner during the NASS Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. In addition, Dr. Wang continues to lead by example, regularly ranking among the most generous annual donors to SpinePAC.

Nominated by NASS Advocacy Volunteer Leadership