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, Scientific Officer; Director of Research & Innovation; Member, Board of Directors

John M. Mayer, DC, PhD, CCRP is the Scientific Officer, Director of Research & Innovation, and Board of Directors Member for the Vert Mooney Research Foundation (dba U.S. Spine & Sport Foundation). Dr. Mayer is also the Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Excellcior LLC. From October 2007 through June 2018, he served as the inaugural Lincoln College Endowed Chair in Biomechanical & Chiropractic Research, College of Medicine, University of South Florida (USF) - the first endowed research chair position held by a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in a college of medicine in the United States. He obtained a DC degree from the National College of Chiropractic (currently University of Health Sciences) and a PhD degree in Exercise Science/Science Education from Syracuse University. He is a licensed DC in the states of California, Florida, and New York, and Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM). He has over 20 years research, clinical, and program implementation experience in occupational health, wellness and fitness, injury prevention, biomechanics, and therapeutic exercise in high risk workers, tactical athletes, and first responders. He has been part of teams that have developed and implemented novel evidence-based clinical guidelines for musculoskeletal disorders. He is currently the principal investigator on a project to assess innovative strategies to manage low back pain in lower extremity amputees, site principal investigator on a DOD-funded grant to assess management of low back pain in veterans, and principal investigator on a US Department of Homeland Security grant on back injury prevention in firefighters. He serves on the Scientific Secretariat for the Global Spine Care Initiative and Clinical and the Scientific Advisory Board for World Spine Care. Dr. Mayer received the 2001 Doctoral Prize from Syracuse University, 2012 Safety Award from Tampa Fire Rescue, 2014 “Researcher of the Year” Award by the American Chiropractic Association, and 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; Member, Board of Directors

Charity L. Lane, MS, MA, CPT, FNS
iCharity L. Lane, MS, MA, CPT, USAW, FNS serves on the Board of Directors and as Director of Program Development for the Vert Mooney Research Foundation (dba U.S. Spine & Sport Foundation). She is also President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Excellcior, LLC. Charity holds a Master of Science degree in Exercise and Nutrition 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), certified USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach (USAW), Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS), and Evidence Based Medicine Professional (NASS). She has spearheaded innovative injury prevention initiatives for application in various tactical athlete populations including the DoD and Fire Service as well as the general population. She currently serves as Project Manager on an initiative assessing innovative strategies for management of low back pain in VA amputees, Project Leader on a US Department of Homeland Security firefighter injury prevention grant, and Principal Investigator on a research initiative aimed at matching exercise programs to job demands in first responders. Her expertise includes lifecycle management of projects, program development, implementation, research and educational initiatives and establishment of innovative projects working with tactical athletes, first responders, targeted civilian populations, professional athletes, and fitness competitors. Her areas of focus include injury prevention, pain and inflammation management, nutrition and supplementation education, obesity and stress management, and energy enhancement. Charity served on the Founding Board of Directors of Women In Defense, Greater Tampa Bay Chapter.

Phone (813) 503 7109 


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