History of the National Spine Health Foundation

The National Spine Health Foundation was co-founded in 2002 by Dr. Thomas Schuler. Noting rapid evolutions in spinal health care due to advancements in both medicine and technology, Dr. Schuler realized there needed to be a national organization to raise awareness of the success of modern spinal treatments.

Renowned philanthropist Guy Beatty recognized the need for such an organization after undergoing a successful spinal surgery in Dr. Schuler’s care at the Virginia Spine Institute. In 2002, the pair founded the Spinal Research Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Mr. Beatty acted as a key investor and inaugural chairman of the foundation, donating over seven million dollars throughout the early years of the organization to conduct clinical research and produce educational content for spine patients. In 2004, Dr. Schuler became president of the foundation, which was then renamed the National Spine Health Foundation. While Mr. Beatty passed away in 2013, the Foundation carries on his legacy and commitment to industry-leading spinal health and patient care. 

In 2019, the NSHF launched Spine-TalksⓇ, a lecture series giving the public access to world-class medical experts. Spine-TalksⓇ has produced over 100 programs featuring industry leaders covering everything from advancements in spine surgery to wellness tips and more.

In January of 2019, Dr. Rita Roy was named CEO of the NSHF. Like Mr. Beatty, Dr. Roy is also a Spinal Champion. As a physician, she recognizes the importance of quality health care as well as patient education and advocacy.

In Spring 2020, the Foundation launched Get Back to It: Real Stories of Healing and Recovery, a streaming podcast dedicated to sharing the stories of real spine care patients. Dr. Roy narrates and details the sometimes harrowing, yet always inspiring journeys of Spinal Champions through their treatment and recovery.

In the years since its inception and founding, the NSHF has become a recognized leader not just in the spinal care community, but the larger national healthcare space. In 2021, the Foundation successfully petitioned the United States Congress to formally recognize October as Spinal Health Awareness month, bringing much-deserved attention to both the personal and broader economic impact that chronic back and neck pain has on over 100 million Americans each year. 

With a medical and scientific board consisting of dozens of surgeons from around the country, the National Spine Health Foundation is – and will always be – dedicated to providing patients with the expert care and resources they need to make a full recovery and get back to living their newly reclaimed lives on their own terms.

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