JANUARY 27 - 29, 2017


Sun Mountain Lodge has NO VACANCY remaining for the dates of the summit. Alternative lodging choices include:

Methow River Lodge & Cabins
Hotel Rio Vista

Attendees can contact Linda O'Keefe with any questions. Thank you!

Welcome and Invitation from the Host

I am very pleased to announce that this year we are celebrating the 13th Annual Mazama Spine Summit! Each year we continue to provide the latest developments in minimally invasive and outpatient spine surgery with the leading physicians in the U.S. and from around the world.

The meeting is designed to provide a setting for thought provoking ideas and discussion in a casual, yet elegant winter setting. I hope you will make us part of your meeting schedule next year. As many physicians have noted, “This is the best meeting I go to all year.” I invite you to make it yours too.

Best regards,

Richard Wohns, MD

Richard N.W. Wohns, MD, JD, MBA

ACCME accredited activity for a maximum of 9.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.
See Accreditation

Mazama has a block of hotel rooms at a special group rate. Call 800-572-0493 to receive this rate, and mention the Spine Summit when you call. Do not book your hotel accommodations online through the Sun Mountain Lodge website.

Mazama Spine Summit Slideshow

General Documents

Conference Links


Upon completion of this educational activity, the participants will be able to:

  1. Assess medical conditions that impact the human spine.
  2. Recommend treatment for their patients.
  3. Acquire a greater understanding of more precise criteria for referring to surgical and non-surgical specialists for more advanced treatment options.
  4. Have a broader awareness of both conservative and surgical treatment options.
  5. Have a broader awareness of new and innovative treatment options.
  6. Have a greater understanding of the outcomes potential for alternative treatment options.

Richard N.W. Wohns, MD, JD, MBA

Founder, President & Board Certified Neurosurgeon

Dr. Wohns

Richard Wohns, MD, JD, MBA, is founder and president of NeoSpine which provides comprehensive spine care including surgery, pain management, and imaging, with locations in Seattle and Puyallup. Board certified in Neurological Surgery, Dr. Wohns has been in practice for over 30 years.

After earning degrees from Harvard College, Yale Medical School, and completing his neurosurgery residency at the University of Washington, Dr. Wohns started business school at the University of Washington. As a result of a business plan writing exercise, NeoSpine, a concept for a national network of outpatient spine surgery centers, quickly turned into a reality when it received $20 million in venture capital funding. 15 years and many centers later, NeoSpine has continued to be at the forefront of developing and executing innovative outpatient spinal surgery and pain management techniques. Today, Dr. Wohns leads the NeoSpine practice and Microsurgical Spine Center, its partner surgery center, in Washington State.

Prior to NeoSpine, Dr. Wohns organized and co-founded Neurosurgical Consultants of Washington, involving 12 neurosurgeons in the Puget Sound area. He also developed South Sound Gamma Knife Center, a partnership between neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, and St. Joseph Hospital to provide Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for patients in South Puget Sound.

Dr. Wohns is a leader in high altitude medicine and is the former Vice President of the International Society of Mountain Medicine. He has been both a physician and a climber during expeditions on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest. He served as the Medical Director during the 1984 Ultima Thule Everest Expedition during which time he performed high altitude brain research on Mount Everest. He also performed the first high altitude emergency appendectomy on a porter during an expedition to K2, the second highest mountain in the world.

During the summer of 2013, Dr. Wohns returned to Nepal, this time with one of his four children, a student at Harvard College, to teach minimally invasive spine surgery techniques to the staff at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. During this trip he also performed pro bono surgery with medical implants and instruments graciously donated by leading medical device companies. His enduring commitment to the country, its people, and to the field of medicine has compelled him to begin planning his next trip there in 2014.

Dr. Wohns is the founder of the Mazama Spine Summit, an annual minimally invasive and outpatient spine surgery conference that brings together top spine surgeons and technique innovators from across the country. Held in Winthrop, WA, the conference consists of educational panel sessions and a keynote speaker and focuses on new developments in minimally invasive and outpatient spine surgery. January 2016 marks the 12th anniversary of this important educational event.

As Chief Medical Officer for angelMD, a technology platform and marketplace that connects leading medical startups from all over the world with life science investors, industry and physicians/scientists, Dr. Wohns is helping to create a more efficient path from start to funding to exit and de-risking investments in the process. angelMD enables physicians and life sciences experts to employ their expertise to advantage in sourcing, evaluating and advising startups helping to positively influence the outcomes of early stage medical opportunities.

Dr. Wohns is an alumnus of the Seattle University School of Law and utilizes his legal knowledge as an expert witness in the realms of patent litigation, credentialing, and medical negligence. He has held positions at professional societies including serving on the Ethics Committee for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and being Vice President and President of the Western Neurosurgical Society. Dr. Wohns is a member of multiple medical and climbing associations, an expert consultant to several organizations, and has authored many articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals plus chapters in medical books. Several of the articles include “firsts” in outpatient spine surgery. In February 2011, he was rated one of the 100 Best Spine Surgeons and Specialists in America and in February 2010, one of the 50 Best Spine Specialists in the United States by Becker’s Orthopedic & Spine Review. In 2014, Dr. Wohns was listed as one of the “40 Smartest People in Healthcare.” Dr. Wohns has taken his expertise worldwide, sharing knowledge with fellow physicians and helping thousands of patients to return to their daily life and activities throughout his career in spine surgery.


Physicians, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists & Attorneys $275
Residents, Nurses, ARNP's, PA's & Fellows $100
Social Guest 13 & Over $75
Social Guest 12 & Under Free

Registration Fees Include:

  • Friday Welcome Reception
  • Saturday and Sunday Education Sessions and Breakfasts
  • Saturday Keynote Speaker Session
  • Saturday Summit Dinner


Each conference attendee and exhibit representative must complete a separate registration and their own hotel reservation. Please register BEFORE you make your room reservation. Company representatives MUST exhibit in order to attend. Guests are intended to be social guests only.

Cancellation notification must be in writing (email: and received by the close of business on Monday, December 19, 2016. A cancellation fee of $50 will be assessed.

Cancellations received after December 19, 2016 will not receive a refund. No-shows will not receive a refund.

Invited Speakers

  • Richard N.W. Wohns, MD, JD, MBA
    Host of the Spine Summit
  • Armen Khachatryan, MD
    Physican Group of Utah
  • Scott Blumenthal, MD
    Texas Back Institute
  • Reggie Davis, MD, FACS
    Laser Spine Institute
  • Andrew Manista, MD
    Olympia Orthopaedic Associates
  • John Chen, PhD
    HUY Forward Medical Group, China
  • Christina Julian, MD
  • Tony Tohmeh, MD
    Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists
  • Mick Perez-Cruet, MD, MS
    Michigan Head & Spine Institute
  • Trey Lee, MD
    Real Time Neuromonitoring Associates
  • Anthony Yeung, MD
    Desert Institute for Spine Care
  • Ciara Harraher, MD
    Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Robert Gellatly, JD
    Luvera Law Firm
  • Liz Leedom, JD
    Bennett, Bigelow & Leedom, PS
  • Jim Bean, MD
    Baptist Health Lexington
  • Gregg Bertram, JD, LL.M
    Pacific ADR Consulting, LLC
  • Phil Dyer
    USI/Kibble & Prentice
  • Kashif Saeed, MD
    Electrodiagnosis & Rehabilitation Associates
  • Cong Yu, MD
    Swedish Medical Group
  • Gregory Rudolf, MD
    Swedish Medical Group
  • Andrew Heinz, PharmD
  • Lucy Hostetter, MD
    Pacific Anesthesia
  • Austin McMillin, DC
    ProActive Spine Care
  • Jim Rifenbery, MD
    Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Sol Kamson, MD
    Spine Institute Northwest
  • Ben Blackett, MD, JD
  • Richard Adler, JD
    Adler Giersch
  • Parker Reich, JD
    Jacobs & Jacobs
  • Jens Chapman, MD
    Swedish Medical Group

Keynote Speaker - Broughton Coburn

The Vast Unknown

America's First Ascent of Everest

The Vast Unkown, Book Cover

Fifty years after the greatest climb in American history, we hear this remarkable story of men and mountain. Broughton Coburn’s illustrated program, The Vast Unknown — based on his latest book, for Crown — is a riveting chronicle of the iconic first American expedition to Mt. Everest, in the spring of 1963.

In the midst of the Cold War, against the backdrop of the space race with the Soviet Union and the civil rights movement, a band of iconoclastic, independent-minded American mountaineers with poet beards and laserlike eyes set off for Mt. Everest, aiming to restore America’s confidence and hope. The British and the Swiss had summited, but the Soviets and the Chinese had not. The peak would become another proving ground in the battle for dominance between East and West.

The Americans’ audacious plan included reaching the top from two directions, one of which would take them up the never-before scaled West Ridge, an unforgiving path of ice and rock that would test not just their physical endurance, but their very psychological soundness. All the while, they couldn’t know until they reached the top whether they would find a bust of Chairman Mao waiting for them.

The Vast Unknown is a harrowing, character-driven account of this momentous climb and its legendary team of inspiring and troubled climbers who suffered injuries, a near mutiny, and a death on the mountain. It is also an examination of the expedition’s profound sway over the American consciousness during a time when the country was searching for its identity. And it is an investigation of one of the expedition’s little-known outcomes: the selection of a team to plant a CIA surveillance device on a Himalayan peak, to spy into China, where nuclear missile testing was underway.

Broughton Coburn

Broughton Coburn

For three years, Harvard graduate Broughton Coburn lived in the homeland of the Sherpas, the people who reside precariously on the skirts of Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain.

He has written three books that illustrate the history, grandeur and culture of this enthralling mountain: Everest: Mountain Without Mercy (National Geographic Books; New York Times bestseller), Triumph on Everest (an award-winning young adult title), and a collaboration with Jamling Tenzing Norgay, Touching My Father’s Soul (another national bestseller).

For two decades Broughton has directed development and conservation projects for the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund and other agencies, and is regarded as a premier authority on the Himalaya.

Career Highlights

  • Author or editor of seven books
  • Two national bestsellers
  • American Alpine Club Literary Achievement Award
  • Technical Advisor for the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund and similar organizations
  • Oversaw creation of Annapurna Conservation Area and the Quomolangma Nature Preserve
  • UNESCO advisor to Everest National Park
  • Faculty, the Jackson Hole Writers’ Conference
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Colorado College

National Appearances

  • CBS Evening News
  • BBC Science Television
  • Life Magazine
  • Guest expert,
    NPR’s Talk of the Nation

Speaking Engagements

  • National Museum of Natural History
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • Harvard University
  • Whitman College
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Principia College
  • Elon University
  • The Pembroke School
  • Northfield Mount Hermon
  • Jordan Commons Multi-plex
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • The Amerind Corporation
  • 24 Knife and Fork Clubs
  • The Denver Museum of Natural History
  • And more than 80 other corporate, association, college and prep school venues


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Foundation for Orthopaedic Research & Education (FORE) and South Sound Neurosurgery Research and Education Institute.

The Foundation for Orthopaedic Research & Education (FORE) is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Foundation for Orthopaedic Research & Education designates this live activity for a maximum of 9.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Extracurricular Activities

Cross Country Skiing

Enjoy a variety of activities: cross country skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, snowshoeing and more – or relax in the outdoor hot tubs and visit the spa.

The Methow Valley offers a wide array of groomed trails (200 kilometers) and terrain for the beginner to experts who want to take in the views offered by 4000’ outlooks of the Valley.

To book activities, please call (800) 572-0493 or email


If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

Transportation, lodging, & activities: Linda O'Keefe at (206) 650-6018 or

Speakers, exhibitors & general information: Michi Wohns at (206) 369-7770 or

CME Provider:
To contact our accredited provider: Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education at (813) 910-3652 or email