Recognition Awards

NASS has four awards available to recognize unique and outstanding contributions to the field of spine care and research. Three of the awards were named for founding members of NASS who not only made outstanding contributions to the field of spine care and research, but also played key roles in the early success of NASS.
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2016 Award Recipients

Henry Farfan Award

To recognize outstanding contributions in spine related basic science research.

Makarand V. Risbud,

Dr. Makarand V. Risbud is a tenured Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Professor and Director of Cell and Developmental Biology PhD Program at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Dr. Risbud’s research has been solely focused on understanding the underlying physiology and pathophysiology of intervertebral disc degeneration and alleviation of discogenic pain. His group has extensively investigated the importance of local micro environmental factors in regulating disc cell function. His pioneering work has discovered that a number of proteins including HIF-1alpha and TonEBP respond to the unique environment that characterizes the nucleus pulposus. More recently Dr. Risbud has been investigating mechanisms by which inflammatory cytokines promote disc degeneration. He actively collaborates with leading spine surgeons and clinicians with an ultimate goal to devise more comprehensive theory encompassing feed forward events triggering inflammatory events that promote disc degeneration and pain. His lab offers a rich environment for research training and has trained several physician scientists and graduate students. Dr. Risbud's work has been continuously funded by grants from the NIH/NIAMS. He has published more than 120 peer reviewed articles and in 2014 has co-edited the first book devoted to biology of the Intervertebral Disc. Dr. Risbud is a founding member of the Philadelphia Spine Research Society and is Chair and convener of biennial International Philadelphia Spine Symposium held since 2011.

Nominated by James D. Kang, MD, Irving Shapiro, PhD, Alexander R. Vaccaro, MD, PhD & Jill Urban, PhD

David Selby Award

To recognize contributions to the art and science of spinal disorder management through service to NASS.

Jim Reynolds,

Dr. Jim Reynolds has been an effective and important behind the scenes committee member for a number of years. He quietly has just done his job each year, never looking for any recognition, simply serving the society and doing it well. He has been involved in committees since 2003 starting with the Patient Safety Committee. He has been chair of the Practice Management Committee as well as Audit committee of NASS. NASS might not be in the strong financial position it is in today if it were not for committee members like Jim Reynolds who devote their time to provide invaluable guidance on critical financial matters. In addition, Jim Reynolds has a perspective that truly represents the desires and concerns of the "rank and file" members. I have known him personally for many years and he is one of the members I seek out when I want to get input on an idea or board position. He always gives sounds advice and counsel. He is truly a great representative of the general membership.

Nominated by Eric J. Muehlbauer, MJ, CAE

Leon Wiltse Award

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

Keith Bridwell,

Keith Bridwell, MD has been a prolific researcher on spinal deformity with over 300 peer-reviewed publications, 40 invited publications and 77 book chapters. His research has advanced spinal deformity surgery for the past 30 years and has culminated in a National Institute of Health RO1 grant evaluating operative and non-operative treatment of adult spinal deformity. Dr. Bridwell has been a champion for adult and pediatric patients with scoliosis and has advocated for his patients through numerous local and national leadership roles. Dr. Bridwell has dedicated his entire career to the advancement of spinal deformity surgery. This is clearly reflected in the volume of academic work he has contributed, for which he has been honored with many awards and of which perhaps the most notable would be the recently completed NIH-funded clinical trial of adult scoliosis patients who were randomized to either non-operative treatment or surgery. His attention to detail and individualized care have resulted in many changed lives. As the Leon Wiltse Award seeks to recognize excellence in leadership and clinical research in spine care, we can’t think of another individual who deserves this award more than Dr. Keith Bridwell.

Nominated by Samuel K. Cho, MD & Lukas P. Zebala, MD

NASS 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.

Charles A. Mick,

Charles A. Mick, MD (Charlie), has been one of NASS’ most passionate and thoughtful advocates on all levels of the organization, working through various commitees at NASS to promote quality patient spine care. Dr. Mick has primarily lended his expertise to NASS by serving on the AMA CPT and RUC committee and has worked tirelessly on Capitol Hill and with federal agencies to expand NASS’ brand. Dr. Mick served on the Advocacy Council for 6 years (2005 – 2011) and was a founding member of the Spine Advocates program where he served 3 years (2006 – 2009) before becoming NASS President in 2013. Dr. Mick’s greatest attribute is his willingness to volunteer his time to NASS whenever he is called upon, no matter the issue.

Nominated by The Advocacy Council