About Us

Established in 2002 and headquartered in Reston, VA, the Spinal Research Foundation (SRF) is a patient-focused 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to improving spinal health care through research, education, and patient advocacy. We support those impacted by spinal injuries and disorders by empowering them with knowledge and hope as they regain their health and quality of life.

SRF has dedicated over 50,000 hours to research for the purpose of driving innovation and proving the effectiveness of surgical and non-surgical treatments. We’ve built a national network of distinguished partners, consisting of the nation’s leading spine clinics and research practices. Through our research, we are proving what works – opening the door for patients to receive the most effective treatments and achieve the best possible outcomes.

SRF brings together patient experiences, medical expertise, and research findings to offer much needed support to patients as they embark on their spinal health journey. We use our expertise to provide meaningful, accessible information to help patients achieve improved spinal health, strengthen provider-patient relationships, and reduce uncertainty and anxiety.

The journey to spinal health is not one that can be made alone. The Spinal Research Foundation brings together patients and the nation’s leading spine experts to drive unique patient support initiatives. Our efforts empower patients to take an active role in their healthcare, help them become self- advocates, and provide cutting-edge research and information they can use to make informed decisions and communicate effectively with their healthcare team.


The Spinal Research Foundation leadership is committed to improving spinal health through our research, education, and patient advocacy. The staff, Board of Directors, and Centers of Excellence are dedicated to the mission of the Foundation.


Sabrina M. Woodlief
Sabrina M. WoodliefSenior Project Specialist
Sabrina coordinates the ongoing clinical trials at SRF and works to maintain integrity of the data by ensuring good clinical practices and adherence to study protocols. She is also responsible for the delivery of our current educational initiatives, including serving as the Associate Editor of the Journal of the Spinal Research Foundation. Sabrina also serves as the System Administrator for SpineOnline, our web-based research platform, providing ongoing support to both patients and providers.

Since graduating from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Sabrina has strengthened her skills in market research, deliverable content and editing, and project management. Prior to moving to Virginia, she worked at a mental and behavioral health consulting firm and was responsible for conducting market research and the editing, formatting, and production of client deliverables. Sabrina continues to develop her leadership, communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills as a member of Toastmasters. She served as President for her local club 2016 – 2018 and has been selected as the District 29, Division D, Area 41 Director.

Christopher Gorini, PhD
Christopher Gorini, PhDResearch Director
Chris Gorini, Research Director, oversees the foundation’s research program, establishing research priorities, developing and maintaining collaborative research partnerships to further the mission of the organization, and advising the SRF President and Board of Directors on research projects and areas of scientific interest. With his help and expertise, SRF is able to maintain a research environment that encourages creativity and collaboration.

Prior to coming to SRF, Chris was a Staff Fellow at the FDA in the Center for Devices & Radiological Health in the Office of Science & Engineering labs. His FDA research focused on projects examining disorders of the peripheral and central nervous systems using optogenetics (a technique where light is used to control nerve function) and brain electrode implants. This research was used as a means for disease treatment over long-time scales. In addition to bench work, Chris acted as a subject matter expert for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Department of Defense, and Veterans Affairs Neurotechnology grants. While at FDA he acted as a certified reviewer for FDA medical device consults, premarket reviews, and investigational device submissions. Chris completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Bioengineering at Stanford University where he worked on control of peripheral motor neurons using optogenetic and pharmacological techniques in order to better control involuntary muscle movement, and pain. Chris earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from The George Washington University where he received a pre-doctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association for his work on brainstem control of heart rate.

Kari A. Reed, MSEd
Kari A. Reed, MSEdDevelopment & Events Director
Kari coordinates all community events for the Foundation, with a focus on our We’ve Got Your Back Race and Gala series, promoting empowerment and patient advocacy. She also develops meaningful relationships with donors and patients alike, executes e-communication campaigns, and coordinates fundraising efforts in order to reach our yearly financial goals.

Kari has specialized in advancements for non-profits for over 22 years of her professional career. In her most recent roles, she has worked as Director of Annual giving and Manager of donor Relations at Shenandoah University & the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Her main focus was on planning, developing, and executing diversified fundraising strategies to obtain individual and corporate donations. Kari has also coordinated multiple fundraisers galas, and conferences for different causes throughout her career. In her spare time, she enjoys attending sporting events and being outdoors with her son.

Henry Copeland
Henry CopelandBookkeeper
Henry maintains SRF’s financial records by establishing accounts, tracking transactions, and ensuring legal requirements compliance. He diligently reconciles SRF’s accounts to ensure their accuracy and maintains an orderly accounting filing system.

Board of Directors

Michael H. Howland
Michael H. HowlandChairman
Mr. Howland is a retired career diplomat who currently is founder, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Tioga Holdings, Inc., a Reston, VA based holding company that operates four technology and consulting businesses in Northern Virginia. Mr. Howland started his public service career in the U.S. Military and is a Vietnam veteran.

Mr. Howland holds a graduate degree from Georgetown University in International Law & Politics. He was also on the staff of Georgetown University for two years prior to joining the Foreign Service where he served throughout the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. In 1979, Mr. Howland was one of 52 American diplomats taken hostage by Iranian terrorists and held prisoner for nearly two years.

Mr. Howland serves on the Board of Directors of the Creative Youth Foundation, a Middleburg, VA based organization that helps disadvantaged children find a voice through the performing arts.

Thomas C. Schuler, MD, FACS
Thomas C. Schuler, MD, FACSPresident
Dr. Schuler is CEO and founder of the Virginia Spine Institute. He has previously been the spine consultant to the Washington Redskins and frequently treats professional and amateur athletes. Dr. Schuler is a pioneer in the advancement of disc arthroplasty, minimally invasive spine surgery, and regenerative therapies. He has revolutionized spinal healthcare across the Washington, DC metropolitan area and the nation.

Dr. Schuler is the Physician Assistant Fellowship Program Director at the Virginia Spine Institute. Dr. Schuler is a distinguished fellow in both the American College of Spine Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. He is a member of the North American Spine Society, and the U.S. Capital Chapter of the World Presidents’ Organization.

Brian R. Subach, MD, FACS
Brian R. Subach, MD, FACSChief scientific officer
Dr. Subach is a spine surgeon and President at the Virginia Spine Institute. He is a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of spinal disorders and an active member of the American Association of Neurological Surgery, the Congress of Neurological surgeons, and the North American Spine Society. He is an invited member of the international Lumbar Spine Study Group and a fellow in the American College of Surgeons. He lectures extensively regarding the management of complex spinal disorders in both national and international forums.

Dr. Subach has written 15 book chapters, more than 50 published articles regarding treatment of the spine, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Spinal Research Foundation.

Kevin M. Burke
Kevin M. BurkeSecretary
Mr. Burke is the President and CEO of Centuria. Since founding the company in 2002, Mr. Burke has guided Centuria through five consecutive years on the Inc. 500 index of America’s fastest growing companies and four consecutive years on the Washington Technology Fast 50. Prior to Founding Centuria, he founded Synapse Incorporated, which grew to over 40 employees in less than twenty-four months. Before building these companies, he served as a technical resource for MCI, a GS employee within the Department of Health & Human Services, and a United States Marine. Mr. Burke has been featured in Inc. Magazine and is an executive committee member of the Washington Baltimore Chapter of Young Presidents’ Organization.
Raymond F. Pugsley
Raymond F. PugsleyNational race liaison
Mr. Pugsley is co-owner of Potomac River Running, Inc., a running/ walking specialty store he helped establish in 2003 which now has eight locations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Ray raced competitively at Dartmouth College. A cross country lover, he’s been going strong for 30 years — he was the US Junior National Cross Country Champion in 1988 and finished second in the US Masters Cross Country race in 2009 and 2013. Ray takes advantage of his extensive experience with both training and injuries by coaching adults through the PR Running Club, which was created in 2001. As a life-long athlete, Mr. Pugsley strives to help people in the local community stay active and healthy through his stores, coaching, and event support.
John Beatty
John BeattyMember of the board
Paul J. Slosar, Jr., MD
Paul J. Slosar, Jr., MDMember of the board
Dr. Slosar is an orthopedic spine surgeon and president of SpineCare Medical Group in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Slosar is also the Medical Director of the SpineCare Institute of San Francisco, Co-Director of the San Francisco Spine Institute and Director of Surgical Research. Dr. Slosar is board certified by and an oral board examiner for both the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and American Board of Spine Surgery. He has authored many articles in peer-reviewed journals, written book chapters, and given podium presentations at national and international meetings. Dr. Slosar is an editorial board member of several peer-reviewed journals including Spine and The Spine Journal.
William H. Evers, Jr., PhD
William H. Evers, Jr., PhDMember of the board
Dr. Evers is President & CEO of Systems, Technology & Science, LLC, which he founded in 1998. He is responsible for both setting the strategic direction of the firm and insuring its day-to-day execution. Dr. Evers currently serves as a member of the independent Scientific & Engineering Review Group (iSERG) of the Missile Defense Agency. He previously served as a member of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Tactical Battlefield Communications, was Vice Chair of the Army Science Board, was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Army Science & Technology, and was a consultant to the Defense Science Board 1993 Summer Study on Global Surveillance. Dr. Evers also served as the Chairman of the Laser Device Panel of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Research & Engineering’s High Energy Laser Review Group (HELRG).
Brian D. Nault
Brian D. NaultMember of the board
Mr. Nault is the Chairman, CEO, and Co-founder of AOC Applied Technologies Corporation (ATCorp) and BlueWater Federal Solutions, Inc. He is a proven executive with experience in the fields of financial services, technology, and Federal Government contracting. With his passion for our “Nation’s future,” Mr. Nault and his companies support several important charities, including St. Judes Children’s Hospital, Special Olympics, and the Redskins Foundation.
Christopher R. Good, MD, FACS
Christopher R. Good, MD, FACSMember of the board
Dr. Good is a spine surgeon and the Director of Scoliosis & Spinal Deformity at the Virginia Spine Institute. He is a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of spinal deformities, an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society, and the Scoliosis Research Society, and is a fellow in the American College of Surgeons. He has pioneered the use of robotics and navigation in spine surgery as well as the use of regenerative stem cell therapy for lumbar disc disease.

Dr. Good participates in multiple scientific advisory boards working to improve patient safety and spinal balance; he routinely presents his findings, both nationally and internationally.

Rita Roy, MS, MD
Rita Roy, MS, MDGala Liaison
Dr. Roy is a physician and entrepreneur in the use of emerging technology for healthcare communication and education. She is a co-founder of Astute Technology, a Reston-based firm specializing in e-learning solutions and virtual conferences support for medical and healthcare associations and institutions. During her career, Dr. Roy has used her technology expertise to build complex web applications, transform ideas into successful internet-based business models, and advise and develop e-learning web applications using database driven marketing strategies for nonprofits, associations, and universities.