Vert Mooney Research Foundation Vert Mooney Research Foundation

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About Us:

Vert Mooney, MDDr. Vert Mooney
1931 - RIP

2008 ISSLS - Lifetime Achievement Award Recepient

Vert Mooney, M.D., Founder 4/24/31 - 10/13/09 (RIP)

Dr. Mooney received his Orthopedic Surgery training at the University of Pittsburgh between 1960 and 1964, after earning his Medical Doctorate in 1957 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Mooney was Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1967 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. From June 1991- to July 1998, Dr. Mooney served as Medical Director of University of California, San Diego (UCSD) OrthoMed Center in La Jolla, CA. From 1977 to 1988, Dr. Mooney was Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where he was also Director of their Orthopedic Training Program. Dr. Mooney currently is a Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the UCSD School of Medicine.

Dr. Mooney was named one of the 20 most distinguished Orthopedic Surgeons in the Town & Country Magazine Annual Survey in 1989. He also served an appointment by Governor Pete Wilson to the California Industrial Medical Council and was integral in developing the functional capacity evaluation standards for the state. Dr. Mooney is an internationally recognized leader in clinical work and medical research related to orthopaedics who has conducted groundbreaking studies in many areas of orthopaedics, restorative exercise, and physical medicine. He has written over 200 articles and abstracts in peer reviewed scientific journals, over 30 chapters for medical texts, and in the past 7 years has been invited to speak at over 150 medical conferences throughout the world.  Dr. Mooney was the recipient of the 2008 Wiltse Lifetime Achievement Award in Lumbar Spine Research from the International Society for the Study of Lumbar Spine (ISSLS).

Tribute to Vert Mooney, M.D. (1931-2009)

Leonard N. Matheson, Ph.D., Member, Board of Directors

Dr. Leonard Matheson is a psychologist who is a pioneer in the field of occupational rehabilitation.  He is the originator of work hardening and has participated in setting national standards of practice.  He designed many of the tests and treatment models that are in use in this field.  His tests have been translated into more than two dozen languages.  Among more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers and 100 invited papers and chapters in textbooks are the chapters on functional capacity evaluation in the American Medical Association’s Disability Evaluation handbook.  He has testified before the United States House of Representatives in Washington, DC.  He currently serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation and is on the editorial board of Work.  He retired after fifteen years as an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine.  He maintains an active consulting and counseling practice working with people who have physical, neurological and psychological disabilities, with businesses on employee selection, and with executives and professionals on career optimization.

Scott Leggett, M.S., Member, Board of Directors

Mr. Legget has over 12 years experience in the field of orthopedics and rehabilitation. Most notably, he developed and operated the OrthoMed Spine & Joint Conditioning, and WellStrong Centers, for the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He also managed the Orthopedic Outpatient Practice at UCSD. After his experience at UCSD, Mr. Leggett served in a development role for USOrthopedics, at that time a start up company specializing in the development of orthopedic surgical centers. He is presently the Regional Director for USOrthopedics, now a wholly owned subsidiary of National Surgical Hospitals, Inc., and the Executive Director for C.O.A.S.T. Surgery Center in San Diego and the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of La Jolla. Here, Mr. Leggett has played a leadership role in creating and managing comprehensive treatment programs for musculoskeletal problems utilizing multidisciplinary teams.

Mr. Leggett earned his Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Florida (UF) in 1987. After graduation, he joined the faculty of the College of Medicine at UF, serving as Research Coordinator at the Center for Exercise Science. Mr. Leggett's areas of clinical and research expertise include muscle physiology, the aging process, the role of exercise in the treatment of low back pain, neck pain and other soft tissue injuries, and outcomes research. He has worked with top collegiate and professional athletes to design rehabilitation, strength, and conditioning programs. He has co-authored over 80 articles and abstracts in peer reviewed journals and has traveled extensively as a lecturer in the area of musculoskeletal rehabilitation and wellness.

Mr. Leggett is actively involved in the community of San Diego. He serves on the local Board for the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Foundation as well an active member of the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary.

Ted Dreisinger, Ph.D., Member, Board of Directors

Dr. Dreisinger received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairmont State College, his Master of Science degree from University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, and his Doctoral degree in exercise physiology from the University of Missouri. Currently, Dr. Dreisinger is managing partner for Progressive Spine Care & Rehabilitation
in Columbia.

From 1987 to 1997, he was research director for the Columbia Spine Center, an affiliate of the Columbia Orthopaedic Group. From 1996 through 2000, he was Vice President for Cumulative Trauma Injury Prevention of Prevention First, Inc. a consulting firm dedicated to the reduction of upper extremity cumulative trauma incidents and low back injuries in industry with clients like United Airlines and Tyson Foods.

Dr. Dreisinger's background spans 28 years of clinical experiences in rehabilitation, orthopedics and physical medicine. He has taught at the university level, presented a number of scientific papers, and published articles in numerous biomedical journals including Spine, Orthopedics, Journal of Rheumatology, Sports Medicine, Paraplegia, and the Journal of Cardiac Rehabilitation. Dr. Dreisinger is a fellow in the North American Spine Society, the American Back Society, and the American College of Sports Medicine. He sits on the Non-Operative Committee for the North American Spine Society, the Practice Board for Clinical exercise Physiology of the American College of Sports Medicine and is past chairman of the Board of Directors of the McKenzie Institute, USA an organization whose mission is the non-operative management of individuals with
back pain.

John M. Mayer, D.C., Ph.D., CCRP, Director of Innovation, Member, Board of Directors

John M. Mayer, DC, PhD, CCRP is the Lincoln College Endowed Chair in Biomechanical & Chiropractic Research, Director of the Center for Neuromusculoskeletal Research, and Professor of the Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida (USF). Dr. Mayer obtained a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the National College of Chiropractic (currently known as National University of Health Sciences) and a PhD degree in Exercise Science/Science Education from Syracuse University. He has extensive clinical and research experience in physical rehabilitation, applied biomechanics, exercise physiology, and therapeutic exercise for spinal pain and disability, and has published and presented widely on these topics. Dr. Mayer serves on the Scientific Secretariat for the Global Spine Care Initiative and on the Board of Directors of US Spine & Sport Foundation. He has served as an Expert Panel Member on NASA Spinal Deconditioning Injury Risk Summit, Technical Expert Member for AHRQ Comparative Effectiveness Review: Spinal Fusion for the Treatment of Low Back Pain, and Research Associate for the Bone and Joint Decade Neck Pain Task Force. Dr. Mayer received the 2014 “Researcher of the Year” Award by the American Chiropractic Association and a 2015 “Outstanding Research Achievement Award” by USF.

Phone 858 583 4494 

Joe Verna, DC., Member, Board of Directors and Researcher

Joe Verna, D.C., President, Member, Board of Directors and Researcher

Dr. Verna is the Chief Operating Officer for Measurement Driven Rehabilitation Systems, Inc., a licensed chiropractor, Qualified Medical Evaluator, Certified Industrial Injury Evaluator and Independent Medical Examiner for the State of California.  He has become an expert in the field of chiropractic and spinal rehabilitation. His professional experience has included consulting in the fields of industrial medicine, functional capacity assessments, spinal rehabilitation, injury prevention and risk management.

Dr. Verna is presently on the board of directors for the Vert Mooney research foundation and is an internationally published author on numerous healthcare research topics related to lower back pain, injury prevention, functional capacity and objective measurements. He has received and participated in various grants including NIH and FEMA. Some projects include a request for proposal (RFP) for the San Diego Wellness and Fitness Initiative (WFI) and assessment of the reduction of lower back pain in firefighters at the USF and Tampa fire-rescue (2011-12).  He has patents and trademarks including BackStrong exercise equipment and published lumbar protocols and has wellness and injury prevention expertise in law enforcement as well as with the fire department, and has consulted for many university research studies at UCSD, USF and in the private sector, Apple, in Cupertino.  He is a speaker and educational instructor for courses such as Functional Capacity Evaluations, Work Conditioning, and Spinal Rehabilitation.

Future areas of interest will focus on outcome measures, spine care, concussion rehabilitation and telemedicine. He is passionate about education, evidence based medicine, active care rehabilitation, and conducting ongoing research. He is married with two children living in San Diego and has a 3rd degree black belt in MMA.

Email address:

Charity L. Lane, M.S., M.A., CPT, FNS, Director of Program Development

Charity L. Lane, MS, MA, CPT, FNS
is a wellness and fitness expert with over 10 years' experience in the field. Her expertise includes program development, implementation, research and educational initiatives, working with first responders, targeted civilian populations, professional athletes, and fitness competitors. Her areas of focus include nutrition and supplementation education, obesity and stress management, pain and inflammation management, injury prevention, and energy enhancement. Charity obtained a Master of Science degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa, and a Master of Arts degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. She is a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS). She is founder and CEO of BodyCarvers, an online and in-person training company providing a whole person wellness approach. She currently serves as Project Leader for the FEMA-funded research grant, “Worksite exercise for low back injury prevention in firefighters”, and Head of Operations for the Lincoln Endowed Chair Research Program, School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida. She is a Founding Board of Directors of Women In Defense, Greater Tampa Bay Chapter. She is also a natural professional bodybuilder through the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB).

Phone (813) 503 7109 


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