UI Spine Center Staff


Eric W. Aschenbrenner, MD, More information coming soon.

  Heather Bingham, MD, joined the UI Spine Center in 2008. She received her Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and competed a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Her clinical interests include spinal cord injury, electrodiagnostic medicine, spasticity management, and musculoskeletal rehabilitation


Joseph Chen, MD, is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, a physiatrist, who joined the UI Spine Center in 2000. He also performs electrodiagnostic medicine consultations including nerve conduction studies and electromyography to determine the extent of nerve or muscle injury. He is the medical director of the Spine Rehabilitation Program. He has achieved subspecialty certification in both spinal cord injury medicine and pediatric rehabilitation medicine. Feature profile of Joseph Chen, MD



Charles Clark, MD, joined the UI Spine Center in 1980. His clinical interests include conditions of the cervical spine. His research interests include cervical spine biomechanics. He is past president of the Cervical Spine Research Society and edited the third and fourth editions of the textbook entitled, "The Cervical Spine."



Ernest Found Jr., MD, and James Weinstein, MD, created the Spine Rehabilitation Program in the 1980's. With more than 20 years of experience at UI Hospitals and Clinics, Found is noted for his excellent surgical reputation. His surgical interests include kyphoplasty to treat osteoporotic compression fractures, adult spine reconstruction, and spinal instrumentation.



Cassim Igram, MD, More information coming soon.



Valerie Keffala, PhD, joined the UI Spine Center in 1997. She is a licensed psychologist specializing in behavioral medicine. She developed the curriculum for the Spine Rehabilitation Program and the components of stress management, cognitive coping skills, and relaxation training. Her research interests include behavioral medicine topics such as psychosocial assessment and outcome and effectiveness of psychological interventions before and after surgical or non-surgical intervention.



Stuart Weinstein, MD, is one of the most well-respected scoliosis and spinal deformity experts in the nation, conducting comprehensive long-term studies on the surgical and non-surgical outcome of scoliosis. His surgical interests include pediatric spinal deformity and pediatric orthopaedics. His research interests include the natural history and long term consequences of pediatric musculoskeletal conditions.

Spine Rehabilitation Team

The Spine Rehabilitation Team is a comprehensive pain rehabilitation program. Our extensive experience provides the best multidisciplinary care to patients with chronic spine pain. The team's medical director is Joseph Chen, MD.

UI Spine Center has assembled a team of health professionals who work together with your doctor to effectively develop a diagnosis and treatment plan for your pain.

The team includes:

  • Orthopaedic spine specialists
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • A medical social worker specialist
  • A psychologist
  • A vocational consultant
  • An activities therapist
  • Physical therapists


Jeff Nicholson, PT, graduated from The University of Iowa physical therapy program in 1988. He evaluates and screens patients in spine physical therapy clinics and suggests appropriate treatment. Treatment can include patient education on the spine and how it works, exercises tailored to meet individual needs and directions for self-care. His clinical interests include muscle imbalances, spine movement impairments, therapeutic exercise, and physical therapy diagnoses.

Karen Drake, PT, works with our Spine Rehabilitation Program participants and has interests in osteoporosis rehabilitation. She developed the Golf to Your Advantage program that has been effective in teaching patients with back pain methods of improving their posture while playing golf.

Pam Lee, PT, graduated from The University of Iowa with a master's degree in physical therapy in 2000. She also is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. She primarily works in the Spine Rehabilitation Program, but also conducts functional capacity evaluations, job site evaluations, and teaches spine health to employees and patients.

Debra Parrott, PT, is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. She works with our spine rehabilitation program participants and lectures on cardiovascular fitness.

Teresa Kober is the Spine Rehabilitation Team's program coordinator. She serves a vital role as the first contact within the UI Spine Center, sending patients, nurse case managers, or physicians to the appropriate team members.