chairman clinical advisory panel

Dr. Robert Watkins is a board-certified spine surgeon with more than 25 years of experience. He is currently co-director of the Marina Spine Center at Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center, Los Angeles.  His expertise ranges from innovative spine surgeries to treatment of sports related injuries.  He currently performs approximately 250 spine surgeries per year.


Watkin’s practice includes the successful treatment of professional athletes from all over the country as well as college level and Olympic athletes.  He has served as a spine consultant to numerous professional teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers.  He has extensive experience in spinal surgery and post-operative rehabilitation of professional athletes, returning most athletes to full performance.


Watkins is currently a clinical professor of orthopaedics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, where he evaluates spinal problems in university athletes and participates in the teaching program.  He has presented numerous courses, lectures and workshops on spinal surgery and rehabilitation, and has published several manuscripts on the subject.  He has lectured all over the world.


Watkins was among the founding members of the North American Spine Society (NASS) and served as the society secretary.  He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Cervical Spine Research Society and the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine.


Watkins has participated in FDA investigational studies into pedicle screw fixation, intradiscal treatment, bone morphogenic protein in fusion and was a primary investigator on the ProDisc total disc replacement study.


Watkins received his undergraduate degree from South Methodist University and his medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis, his home town.  He completed his Orthopedic traning at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles County Medical Center and has completed advanced spinal surgery training at England and Switzerland.


clinical advisor

E: | P: (626) 665-5300

Dr. Michael A. Friedman in 2014 completed a decade of service as the Chief Executive Officer and Director, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Irell & Manella Cancer Center’s Distinguished Chair of City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment institution dedicated to innovation in basic and clinical biomedical research and delivery of exceptional patient care.  Before this he was a senior vice president of research and development at Pharmacia Corporation.  Following the events of September 11, 2001, he simultaneously served as chief medical officer for biomedical preparedness at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Dr. Friedman previously served as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner and was then tapped by the Clinton administration to serve as acting commissioner of the FDA.  He helped to streamline the FDA’s review and approval process and protect the nation’s food and drug supply.


In 1983, Dr. Friedman joined the Division of Cancer Treatment at the National Cancer Institute, and went on to become the associate director of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program.  Before joining the NCI, he spent nearly a decade at the University of California at San Francisco, as an associate professor of medicine directing the Cancer Research Institute.  He joined the U.S. Public Health Service in 1970, ultimately attaining the rank of Rear Admiral and has served as an active duty and now reserve officer.  He has received a number of commendations, including the Surgeon General’s Medallion, the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation and the PHS Distinguished Service Medal.


Dr. Friedman received his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Tulane University and a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Texas.  He completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University and the National Cancer Institute, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology.


Currently, in addition to his efforts on behalf of City of Hope, he serves as a director on several corporate boards and is a trustee of Tulane University and serves on the California Stem Cell Oversight Board.


Favorite quote:  “You can’t always get what you want but if you try, sometimes you get what you need” Rolling Stones.


clinical advisor

Palmer “Pal” Evans is the Senior Medical Advisor for the Three-Sixty Advisory Group, and currently the Executive-in-Residence for Health Care Management, Eller College of Management at The University of Arizona.  He is the former Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer of Tucson Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. He began his administrative career at TMC in 1996 and retired in 2005, returning as Chief Medical Officer in 2007 at the request of TMC HealthCare’s Board of Trustees.  He retired again in July 2010 but continued in a senior advisory role to TMC, and is currently Chairman of the Board of Arizona Connected Care (an ACO).  He is on the Advisory Committee for the Brookings/Dartmouth ACO Learning Network. 


Evans is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, Temple University School of Medicine and completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1993, Evans was awarded the Wyeth-Ayerst Award from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for his work on The Arizona Placental Project. Evans was a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in Tucson from 1974 to 1999 and is a Life Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 


Dr. Evans is a faculty member of the Arizona Healthcare Leadership Academy and is also a board member of the TMC Foundation. He is the Chair of the Board of the Pima Council on Aging, the Pima County Area Agency on Aging. 


Favorite quote:  “You can accomplish anything you want in life, provided that you don’t mind who gets the credit.” Harry Truman

clinical advisor

A world-class cardiologist, Dr. Gerald M. Pohost is considered one of the world’s most prominent experts in cardiac diagnosis and advanced imaging modalities.  He has made major contributions to this field, including pioneering the use of both thallium scanning and cardiovascular MRI methods for diagnosing heart disease.  He has also created new methods to assist in diagnosing microvascular disease of the heart – a syndrome that occurs frequently in women and in diabetics and has been difficult to diagnose in the past using traditional imaging approaches.


Dr. Pohost’s distinguished medical career spans more than three decades, with numerous clinical, academic and research positions.  From 2001 to 2006, he served as chief of cardiovascular medicine and professor of medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, where he was responsible for developing a program in the diagnosis of heart disease in women using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  His work in this arena continues to shed new insight on the mechanism of heart failure in diabetics.Prior to USC, Pohost spent 18 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he developed one of the most prominent cardiovascular programs in the country.  At UAB, he held the positions of professor of medicine and radiology and director of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease and the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research and Development, and was responsible for building the first center focused on the application of MRI for cardiovascular disease.


Dr. Pohost has been involved as a member of the executive committee in the WISE (Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation) study, an NIH-sponsored nationwide, long-term and ongoing study addressing innovative strategies to diagnose heart disease in women.  Through his center at UAB, he was responsible for one of the study’s first four sites.  Most recently, Pohost spearheaded the development and application of the MRI for the evaluation of chest pain in women.  Through this work, it is becoming apparent that the MRI may be the best noninvasive approach for diagnosing microvascular dysfunction, a condition prevalent in women and who despite having chest pain may have a negative angiogram.  Pohost is presently studying the application of MRI to diabetics to detect microvascular disease, which he believes contributes significantly to the incidence of heart failure among diabetic patients.  The work is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health.


He has authored more than 300 papers in peer reviewed journals, over 15 books on cardiovascular imaging, and is currently on the editorial board of several key publications, including Journal of the American College of Cardiology, International Journal of Cardiology, Heart Disease and Stroke, Cardiology Today, Future Cardiology, and has been the editor-in-chief of Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and Current Cardiology Reviews.


Dr. Pohost is a member of several distinguished organizations including the American Association of Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American College of Cardiology, and the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society.  He participates in various additional prestigious professional organizations, such as the American Heart Association (AHA), for which he was most recently the president of Los Angeles County chapter and a member of the board of directors of the Western States Affiliate.  He has received a variety of awards, including, most recently, the Passion of the Heart award from the AHA.


Dr. Pohost graduated from The George Washington University, completed medical school at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, conducted his residencies at Montefiore Hospital/Medical Center and Albert Einstein School of Medicine and completed his cardiology fellowship training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. After fellowship, he served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  He is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and nuclear medicine.

clinical advisor

Dr. Brown is a board-certified trauma surgeon with more than 15 years of experience in clinical research, education and practice.  He is currently the trauma medical director for University Medical Center at Brackenridge, Austin, a Level 1 Trauma Center.  He also serves as associate professor of surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine.


Prior to these positions, Brown was the assistant professor of surgery at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine and the trauma service chief at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center.  He was also previously a member of the medical staff of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Naval Medical Center San Diego and Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego.


In addition to his civilian appointments, Brown served in the United States Navy for 14 years, during which time he held numerous positions, including the director of the Naval Trauma Training Center in Los Angeles and the lead trauma surgeon in the Ramadi Surgical Detachment, Iraq.  He has been the recipient of numerous military awards, including the Bronze Star, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.


Brown has published numerous clinical papers and abstracts and regularly presents at key medical conferences. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of numerous other medical societies, including the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.Brown earned his medical degree at the University of Texas at Austin.  He completed his internship and medical residency in general surgery at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego, and also completed fellowships in surgical critical care and trauma surgery at the University of Southern California.

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