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Who we are

Leadership

John M. Flynn, MD is the President of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Spine Foundation. He is the Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed his orthopaedic surgery training at Harvard University and the Children’s Hospital of Boston, with fellowship training at Alfred I. duPont Institute in Delaware. He is a Director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Co-Chair of the International Pediatric Orthopaedic Symposium, Past President of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and former Chair for the Research Grants Committee for the Scoliosis Research Society. He can be reached by email at flynnj@email.chop.edu.

 

Michael G. Vitale, MD, MPH is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Spine Foundation. He is currently the Co-Director of Pediatric Orthopaedics and Chief of the Pediatric Spine Service at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York, while serving as the Ana Lucia Professor of Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his orthopedic training at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where he also earned a Master’s degree in Public Health, with fellowship training at at the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. He holds leadership roles in multiple societies including chairing the International Pediatric Orthopaedic Symposium and leads advocacy efforts with the FDA to improve access to pediatric devices. He can be reached by email at mgv166@gmail.com.

 

Ron El-Hawary, MD is the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Spine Foundation. He is currently Chief of Orthopaedics at the IWK Health Centre and is Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University. He is the Vice Chair of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Orthopaedic Examination Committee, Secretary of the Canadian Paediatric Orthopaedic Group, and was the Founding President of the Canadian Paediatric Spine Study Group. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and Medical Biophysics and completed his orthopaedic training at Dalhousie University and the University of Western Ontario, with fellowship training at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, Texas. He can be reached by email at ron.el-hawary@iwk.nshealth.ca.

 

Steve Schwartz is the Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Spine Foundation. As President of GDS Consulting Services, LLC., he specializes in the areas of professional medical education, marketing, and medical humanitarian initiatives. He has 32 years of experience in the medical device marketplace where he held many senior management positions, including executive management of sales; executive management of professional education; and currently with the AO Foundation (a worldwide non-profit medical research and education organization). Mr. Schwartz has worked closely with many professional societies relating to Orthopaedics, Spine, and Craniomaxillofacial surgery; and currently serves on the Boards of several non-profit organizations. He can be reached by email at schwartzsteve77@gmail.com.

 

John T. Smith, MD is a founding member of the Children’s Spine Foundation and the Past President of the Board of Directors. He was integral in establishing the Children’s Spine Foundation and is an active participant in both retrospective and prospective studies. He is currently the Chief of Scoliosis Service and Chairman of the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, while serving as Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Utah. He is also the recipient of the Mary Scowcroft Peery Presidential Endowed Chair in Orthopaedics. He completed his orthopedic training at the University of Utah and fellowship at the Scottish Rite Hospital. He has served as Chairman of several committees for POSNA and the SRS. He can be reached by email at john.smith@hsc.utah.edu.

 

Randal R. Betz, MD is a founding member of the Children’s Spine Foundation and a current member of the Board of Directors. His leadership and vision are instrumental to the success of the Group. He is currently practicing at the Insitute for Spine and Scoliosis. He served as Chief of Staff and Medical Director of Spinal Cord Injury Unit at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia while serving as Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Temple University School of Medicine. He completed his orthopedic training at Temple University, Philadelphia, with fellowship training at Alfred I. duPont Institute in Delaware. He was the President of the Scoliosis Research Society in 2005. His expertise and passion is in caring for children with pediatric spinal conditions. He can be reached at 609-912-1500 or by email at rbetz@spineandscoliosis.com.

 

Amer Samdani, MD is a member of the Executive Committee for the Children's Spine Study Group. He is the Chief of Surgery at Shriners Hospital for Children - Philadelphia. He completed his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital with fellowship training in pediatric neurosurgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He also completed a traveling fellowing in spine deformity with the Scoliosis Research Society. Dr. Samdani serves on the Board of the Scoliosis Research Society and is passionate about fusionless strategies to treat scoliosis and complex spine deformity. He can be reached by email at asamdani@shrinenet.org.

 

Jeffrey R Sawyer, MD is a member of the Executive Committee for the Children's Spine Study Group. He is the Director of Pediatric Orthopedic Fellowship at the University of Tennessee - Campbell Clinic. He completed his orthopaedic surgery training at University of Pennsylvania with fellowship training at the University of Tennessee - Campbell Clinic. He serves on the Board of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and has been the chairman of numerous committees. He has published 90 peer reviewed publications, 15 book chapters and has given over 100 national/international presentations, many of which focus on Early Onset Scoliosis. He is passionate about developing better and safer treatment methods for children with spinal deformities.

In Memoriam

Dr. Robert "Bob" Campbell, Jr. passed away peacefully on July 29th, 2018 surrounded by family. Though he battled illness for years, Dr. Campbell was a true warrior for his family and patients. He began his career at Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital/UT San Antonio, and was recruited in 2008 to grow CHOP's Thoracic Insufficiency program. In 2009, Dr. Campbelllaunched CHOP's Center for Thoracic Insufficiency (CTIS), attracting infants and children from around the world, many of whom were told "nothing can be done". He created a team approach to care, collaborating closely with pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, intensivists and radiologists to optimize treatment of children with severe spine and chest wall deformities. Dr. Campbell invented the VEPTR device, taking a customized solution for a single child in San Antonio in desperate need of chest wall support through conceptualization, fabrication, testing and the arduous regulatory pathways of the FDA. His invention became the standard of care throughout the world for children with severe deformities of the spine and chest, saving or extending the lives of children with previously untreatable conditions. He travelled worldwide, training surgeons to treat thoracic insufficiency and assisting them with their most difficult cases. One of the least heralded contributions Dr. Campbell made to the field of pediatric surgical care was to facilitate new device development through his involvement with the FDA. Dr. Campbell leveraged the relationships he built at the FDA to foster countless other devices through the regulatory process. In recent years, the regulatory approval processes have eased considerably, paving the way for a new wave of pediatric implants to help children; this is in no small part due to his work and influence.

Dr. Campbell has left a lasting legacy through his ideas and inventions, the many surgeons and physicians he trained, and the countless patients he treated. His innovative thought-leadership changed the world's approach to caring for children with complex, life-threatening spine and chest wall deformities. On behalf of the Children's Spine Study Group membership, we will forever remember and be thankful for Dr. Campbell's friendship and vision.