Texas Back Institute Research Foundation

The Texas Back Institute Research Foundation (TBIRF) was founded in 1985 to fulfill the mission of improving care for patients with back pain through research and education. With the collaborative efforts of multiple spine centers nationally and internationally, TBIRF has performed research focused primarily on diagnostic evaluations and treatment outcomes. This work has included topics such as discography, presurgical psychosocial screening and new technologies such as total disc replacements and minimally invasive surgical procedures. The findings from the research work are shared with peers through presentations at numerous national and international spine conferences and are published in medical journals such as Spine, the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, and The Spine Journal. A compilation of the research work performed at TBIRF as well as by the TBI faculty of the Spine Surgery Fellowship Training Program can be viewed by clicking here. The Foundation has organized the publication of multiple textbooks including Sports and the Spine and Spinal Arthroplasty: A New Era in Spine Care, which was the first book published on the topic of motion-preserving technologies in spine.

Not only does TBIRF provide information to peers through journal publications, books and conference presentations, they also provide education to individual physicians through fellowships and visitor programs. To date, more than 90 spine surgeons have trained through the Spine Surgery Fellowship Program and practice throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The program includes participation in spine clinics, surgical cases, research, Continuing Medical Education accredited journal clubs, interesting case conferences and hands-on surgical training courses. Additionally, TBIRF and the TBI clinical program faculty are active serving in various positions for national and international spine societies. This type of service provides an opportunity to contribute to impacting current and future spine care as well as provides a means of giving back to the spine community.

TBIRF is dedicated to improving care for those with back pain by continuously performing research, participating in conferences, publishing and offering individual educational programs.


Donna D. Ohnmeiss, Dr.Med.


Dr. Ohnmeiss joined TBIRF in 1986 as a Research Assistant primarily to develop and analyze databases. She received a doctoral degree from the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. While with TBIRF, she has taken on a wide variety of roles including a lead role in study design and writing publications, preparing presentations, and gained experience with the execution of FDA IDE trials, and facilitates conducting educational activities including the Fellowship program. Donna also serves in leadership roles with several spine specialty societies.
Click here to see CV.

Amy Park

Fellowship Program Manager

Amy joined TBIRF as the Fellowship Program Manager in December 2012, bringing more than 10 years of medical education experience. Amy was the Fellowship Coordinator at Baylor University Medical Center and the Internal Medicine Coordinator at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Amy works on a daily basis with the Fellows to coordinate schedules and call, assist with Fellows’ administrative needs, organize educational activities, answer program inquires, maintain ACGME accreditation, and many other activities.

Renee Myers

Fellowship Coordinator

Renee joined TBIRF in February 2013. She is the primary contact for all items related to fellows’ licensing and credentialing. Renee had several years of experience working with medical residency programs and experience in credentialing prior to joining TBIRF.

Sunita Verma-Kurvari, Ph.D.

Research Specialist

Sunita has been with TBIRF since 2007 and has been involved with research for more than 10 years. Sunita works with surgeons and Fellows on research projects and helps with manuscript, poster and abstract preparation and data collection. She maintains a comprehensive surgery log and is responsible for quality assurance analysis of surgeries.
Click here to see CV.