Our Team

Our Team

Brian Su, MD

Brian W. Su, MD - Spine Surgery
Dr. Brian Su is a Board Certified Spine Surgeon and Medical Director of Spine Surgery at Marin Health Medical Center. He is the past Surgeon in Chief of California Orthopedics and Spine. Dr. Su received his undergraduate education from Duke University’s School of Engineering and his medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Su completed an orthopedic surgery residency at Columbia University’s New York Presbyterian Hospital where he served as Administrative Chief Resident and was one of the stadium physicians for the New York Yankees.

Dr. Su then completed an orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgery fellowship at the Rothman Institute at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital; widely regarded as one of the most sought after and prestigious spine fellowships in the country. His training there included complex surgery of the spine and during that time he developed a particular interest in treating disorders of the cervical spine.

Dr. Su has an interest in research and has authored over 50 manuscripts and book chapters and presented over 120 podium and poster presentations. He is also the author of seven financial grants and recipient of 40 academic honors and awards. Dr. Su is one of nine international editors of a 2-Volume textbook on spine surgery. He is a founding member of the nation’s first undergraduate research journal and was one of the youngest scientists to be a principal investigator on a grant from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Su is a peer reviewer for SPINE, Clinical Spine Surgery, and The Spine Journal. Dr. Su is a member and serves on program committees for the Cervical Spine Research Society, North American Spine Society, and California Orthopedic Association. He is currently co-Chair of the communications committee for the Cervical Spine Research Society. He remains active in teaching, clinical research, device innovation, and collects patient reported outcomes data for all surgical patients.

Dr. Su believes that state-of-the-art care at academic centers can be delivered in a personalized private practice setting. He educates patients so that they fully understand their disease and treatment options, including the evidence-based medicine behind it. In 2020, he launched The Spine Guy, a patient education YouTube channel focused on spinal care with over 2.5 million views. His emphasis is always toward nonoperative treatment, reserving surgery as the last option. When surgery is necessary, Dr. Su seeks the solution that leaves the most minimally invasive surgical footprint. He has had the privilege of operating on several physicians, surgeons, and their family members.

Dr. Su was elected by his peers into Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors, San Francisco Magazine Top Doctors, [415] Top Doctors for Spine Surgery, Pacific Sun’s Best Orthopedic Surgeon, and a Sonoma Top Doctor. He was also awarded the Patient’s Choice and Compassionate Doctor Award by Vitals.com. In 2016, Dr. Su was named one of 15 young physician leaders to know by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Dr. Su is the Medical Director of Spine Surgery at MarinHealth Medical Center and Chairman of the governing body of Marin Specialty Surgery Center. In 2018 and 2022, Dr. Su was elected by the residents of Marin County as a Director of the Marin Healthcare District Board and currently serves as its Chairperson.

Ernest Sponzilli, MD

Ernest H. Sponzilli, MD - Spine Surgery, Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation
Dr. Ernest Sponzilli feels a genuine honor to have the opportunity to serve his patients. As a reflection of this, he has been awarded three separate board certifications to offer patients exceptional care and expertise. Experience is critical when performing precision percutaneous spinal interventions and incision-less/bloodless surgeries.

Dr. Sponzilli esteems himself as one of the highest volume providers of intervention spine care in northern California. Specializing in interventional pain care management, Dr. Sponzilli has successfully performed over 1000 interventional pain procedures annually for the past 15 years since beginning his career at California Orthopedics & Spine in 1999. His special clinical skills include neurodiagnostic, peripheral nerve and joint blocks, cervical thoracic and lumbar epidural steroid injections, radiofrequency desensitization, fracture augmentation, percutaneous discectomy, thermal annuloplasty, and spinal stimulator implantation.

Dr. Sponzilli’s current research interest centers on novel regenerative therapies involving the use of advanced orthobiologic therapies, including IRAP1, PRP, BMAC, and ADSC, for the treatment of arthritis, tendinosis, and degenerative disease. While these treatments can play a role in one’s recovery, Dr. Sponzilli firmly believes in taking a broader whole-life perspective and identifying modifiable lifestyle factors that contribute to the development of injury and disease.

Dr. Sponzilli is a native of the Bay Area and lives with his wife and four young children.

In addition to his practice experience, Dr. Sponzilli is also involved with several professional organizations, including:

  • American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Fellow
  • American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians, Fellow
  • American Board of Anesthesiology, Pain Management Subspecialty, Diplomate
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation
  • American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians

Dr. Sponzilli is also an active staff member at MarinHealth Medical Center and Marin Specialty Surgery Center. Dr. Sponzilli’s work has appeared in many publications, and he has also offered his medical services to local organizations.

Kevin Hwang, MD

Kevin Hwang, MD - Spine Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery
Dr. Kevin Hwang, a UCSF Health Physician, is an orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery. He specializes in the comprehensive care and treatment of spinal conditions in adults. He works with a multidisciplinary team of operative and non-operative spine specialists to provide evidence-based, patient-centric care for a wide range of spinal pathologies. His research focuses on improving clinical outcomes in spine surgery, increasing access to care for vulnerable populations, and the incorporation of new technologies into the practice of surgery.

Dr. Hwang brings exceptional experience and training. He completed a Combined Spine Surgery Fellowship at Harvard. Prior to this, he completed his residency and internship training at the University of California, San Francisco. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Prior to joining MarinHealth, Dr. Hwang was on faculty as a spine surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons and the North American Spine Society. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and enjoys running, cycling, and spending time outdoors with his wife and two children.

Ramana K. Naidu, MD

Ramana K. Naidu, MD - Anesthesiology & Pain Management
Dr. Ramana (Ramo) Naidu is an anesthesiologist and pain physician who is the medical director of pain management at MarinHealth Medical Center and the medical director of Marin Specialty Surgery Center. He helps patients manage, reduce, or eliminate pain and suffering that occurs after medical illness, trauma, or surgery and puts an emphasis on preventing pain from becoming persistent. Dr. Naidu is primarily based at the MarinHealth Spine Institute, serving to help patients with pain before and after surgery. He emphasizes trying to manage pain without relying on opioid medications using a multi-disciplinary approach involving pain psychologists, physical therapists, and complementary and integrative approaches. He performs advanced interventional procedures with the goal of sustained relief. Beyond epidural, joint, sympathetic, and peripheral nerve injections, Dr. Naidu performs radiofrequency ablation of major joints and nerves and minimally-invasive-spine procedures such as indirect and direct lumbar decompression, posterior sacroiliac joint fusion, and intradiscal therapeutics. As a neuromodulator, he is an expert on spinal cord stimulation (SCS), dorsal root ganglion stimulation (DRGS), and peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS).

Dr. Naidu earned a medical degree at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, where he was born and raised. He completed a residency in anesthesiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, followed by a fellowship in pain management at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where he continued to practice for another five years as an assistant professor. He was a Fulbright Scholar in public health in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. During this time, he studied hospital-acquired infections and the dissemination of information regarding prevention. Dr. Naidu is engaged in clinical research as he is interested in ensuring that we have safe, economical, and effective therapies for specific pain conditions.

The professional societies Dr. Naidu belongs to include the American Society of Anesthesiologists, California Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, International Association for the Study of Pain, American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, California Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, North American Neuromodulation Society, International Neuromodulation Society, American Society of Pain and Neuroscience, and he is the President-Elect of the Pacific Spine & Pain Society.

Tarun Arora, MD

Tarun Arora, MD - Spine Surgery, Neurosurgery
Dr. Tarun Arora is a UCSF Health neurosurgeon who directs UCSF's extension neurosurgery practices at four Bay Area community hospitals. He cares for patients in UCSF's Greenbrae clinic and is director of neurosurgery at MarinHealth Medical Center. He specializes in instrumented surgery (using implements such as plates and rods) as well as minimally invasive techniques for degenerative and traumatic spinal disorders, brain and spinal tumors, intracerebral hemorrhage, stroke, head and spinal trauma, and other neurovascular disorders.

In his research, Arora addresses techniques to repair cerebrospinal fluid leakage at the skull base after brain surgery. He is also involved in developing rehabilitation protocols for spinal disorders, brain injuries and disorders affecting posture and balance.

Arora earned his medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine. He completed a residency in neurosurgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Blake Taylor, MD

Blake Taylor, MD - Spine Surgery, Neurosurgery
Dr. Blake Taylor is a UCSF Health neurosurgeon who cares for patients with disorders or injuries of the spine and brain using minimally invasive and complex techniques. He specializes in treating patients with spinal disorders related to degenerative diseases, traumatic injuries or cancer; brain injuries or tumors; and bleeding in the brain; as well as patients in the hospital for neurointensive care. He has expertise in using computer-assisted navigation to treat certain spinal conditions, such as cervical myelopathy, cervical and lumbar disc herniations, degenerative disc disease, kyphosis, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.

In research, Taylor studies national trends on outcomes, including hospital readmissions, related to neurosurgical conditions, such as spinal disorders, intracerebral hemorrhage, brain or spine cancers, and postsurgical infections, with attention to the impacts of socioeconomic factors. His accomplishments include helping publish some of the earliest data on cerebrovascular complications of COVID-19 and helping develop a smartphone app to track patient recovery after surgery.

Taylor earned his medical degree from the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he received a dean's fellowship in cerebrovascular research. He completed a residency in neurosurgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a fellowship in neurocritical care at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Taylor is a member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS); was elected to and served on the AANS Young Neurosurgeons Committee; and has contributed to neurosurgical textbooks. His approach to care is guided by the Hippocrates quote "Where the art of medicine is loved, there is also love for humanity."

Lyndly Tamura, MD

Lyndly Tamura, MD - Interventional Spine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Dr. Lyndly Tamura, a UCSF Health physician, is a board-certified specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM & R) focused on providing non-operative care for patients with acute and chronic spine pain, musculoskeletal disorders, and pain conditions. Dr. Tamura is fellowship-trained in Interventional Pain, and she is board-eligible in Pain Medicine.

To alleviate pain and improve her patients’ quality of life, Dr. Tamura specializes in diagnostic and therapeutic interventional procedures, which include fluoroscopy-guided spine injections (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum), fluoroscopy-guided intra-articular injections, ultrasound-guided injections, and nerve conduction studies/electromyography.

An active researcher, Dr. Tamura ‘s interests involve the safety and efficacy of regenerative medicine to treat spine related pain, reviewing practice patterns for certain spinal interventions, developing novel injection techniques for musculoskeletal and pain conditions, monitoring the efficacy of tele-nutrition in spinal cord injury patients, and quality improvement projects involving two-way smartphone messaging between physicians and nurses.

Dr. Tamura grew up in Huntington Beach, Calif. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in General Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and completed her medical degree from the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences. Dr. Tamura then completed a one-year internship in Internal Medicine at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco; she subsequently completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Stanford University; and most recently, she completed fellowship training in Interventional Pain Medicine at Hudson Medical in New York City.

Dr. Tamura was a competitive gymnast and a collegiate pole vaulter. She continues to enjoy leading an active lifestyle of running, hiking, and teaching group exercise. She also enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and exploring diverse cuisines.

Lisa M. Elvin, RN

Lisa M. Elvin, RN, MSN, ANP, VC - Nurse Practitioner
Lisa Elvin, RN, graduated from D'Youville Hospital School of Nursing in 1977 and has spent the last 30-plus years caring for patients in a variety of settings, including the neurosurgical step-down unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She has also served as a hospice nurse with the Quincy Visiting Nurses’ Association and as a nursing supervisor at Cambridge City Hospital in Massachusetts. She graduated with a master’s degree in nursing, with Distinction, in 1996 from Simmons College School of Graduate Health Studies and was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, nursing’s National Honor Society, the same year. She was nationally certified as an adult nurse practitioner in September of 1996 and has spent the last 18 years as a nurse practitioner working with people with acute and chronic spine pain, as the clinical coordinator at Kentfield Rehab Hospital’s Pain Treatment Program, at Spine Care Medical Group, and Bay Area Pain Medical Associates.

Patient education is key to helping people feel better as quickly as possible when they have an acute spinal problem; Lisa also tries to help people with chronic spinal problems have less pain and educate them on how to live with the challenge of a chronic condition. People with spine problems have more treatment options than ever, and now is a good time to explore those options. While spinal pain sometimes cannot be eradicated completely, it can be decreased for a better quality of life.

Conor Brown, PA-C

Conor Brown, PA-C - Physician Assistant
Conor Brown, PA-C brings vast experience as a physician assistant and a passion for improving patient well-being and providing high-quality care. Prior to his role at the MarinHealth Spine Institute, he worked as a Physician Assistant with the California Orthopedics & Spine group, and, prior to that, he worked at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco.

Conor graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. He then completed a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and was an active Pi Alpha Honor Society member.