NASS announces 2016 Recognition Award winners


During its 31st Annual Meeting, the North American Spine Society (NASS) announced the winners of its prestigious 2016 Recognition Awards. NASS presents four annual awards which recognise unique and outstanding contributions to the field of spinal care and research. Honourees are nominated by their peers in the spinal field.

Three of the awards are named in honour of founding members of NASS who made significant contributions to the early success of the organisation.

Another recognises an advocate who makes contributions to federal advocacy efforts on behalf of patients and members of the society.

2016 Leon Wiltse Award: Keith H Bridwell

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

“Keith Bridwell, has been a prolific researcher on spinal deformity with more than 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 R01 grant evaluating operative and non-operative treatment of adult spinal deformity.

“Bridwell has been a champion for adult and paediatric patients with scoliosis and has advocated for his patients through numerous local and national leadership roles. Bridwell has dedicated his entire career to the advancement of spinal deformity surgery. His attention to detail and individualised care have resulted in many changed lives,” a press release explains.

Nominated by Samuel K Cho and Lukas P Zebala

2016 Henry Farfan Award: Makarand V Risbud

To recognise outstanding contributions in spine-related basic science research.

“Risbud’s research has been solely focused on understanding the underlying physiology and pathophysiology of intervertebral disc degeneration and alleviation of discogenic pain.

“His pioneering work has discovered that a number of proteins including HIF-1alpha and TonEBP respond to the unique environment that characterises the nucleus pulposus. More recently,. Risbud has been investigating mechanisms by which inflammatory cytokines promote disc degeneration. 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, co-edited the first book devoted to biology of the intervertebral disc. Risbud is a founding member of the Philadelphia Spine Research Society and is chair and convener of the biennial International Philadelphia Spine Symposium held since 2011,” the release states.

Nominated by James D Kang, Irving Shapiro, Alexander R Vaccaro and Jill Urban.

2016 David Selby Award: James B Reynolds

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

“James B 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.

“NASS might not be in the strong financial position it is in today if not for committee members like Reynolds, who devote their time to providing invaluable guidance on critical financial matters. In addition, Reynolds has a perspective that truly represents the desires and concerns of the ‘rank and file’ members. He always gives sound advice and counsel. He is truly a great representative of the NASS membership,” the release explains.

Nominated by Eric J Muehlbauer

2016 Spine Advocacy Award: Charles A Mick

To recognise 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 has been one of NASS’ most passionate and thoughtful advocates on all levels of the organisation, working through various committees at NASS to promote quality patient spine care. Mick has primarily lent his expertise to NASS by serving on the American Medical Association’s Current Procedural Terminology and Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) and has worked tirelessly on Capitol Hill and with federal agencies to expand NASS’ brand.

“Mick served on the Advocacy Council for six years (2005–2011) and was a founding member of the Spine Advocates program where he served three years (2006–2009) before becoming NASS president in 2013. Mick’s greatest attribute is his willingness to volunteer his time to NASS whenever he is called upon, no matter the issue,” the release states.

Nominated by the NASS Advocacy Council