Multiple Sclerosis Regional Program Directors - Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
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Multiple Sclerosis Regional Program Directors

If you would like to contact any of the MS Regional Program Directors below, please send an e-mail to MSCentersofExcellence@va.gov.

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown, DO, MBA
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Kevin Brown is Chief of Neurology in the Minneapolis VA HCS. He completed his Neurology residency and fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Minnesota. In 2014, he graduated from the Physician Executive MBA Program at the University of Tennessee. He is board certified in Neurology and Neuromuscular Medicine. Dr. Brown is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota and enjoys teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. In addition to his clinical responsibilities, since 2016, he has served as medical liaison and educator for Volunteers of America and was instrumental in creating the country’s first Dementia Mobile Unit. Dr. Brown also remains active in clinic research and is currently the principal investigator of two MS trials. His current interest is in the use of humanized monoclonal antibodies against repulsive guidance molecules, which have shown favorable immune modulation in several MS-relevant preclinical models.

Donald bright

Donald Bright, MD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Seattle, WA

Dr. Bright graduated from the University of Washington Medical School in 1992 and then did his residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. While in the Air Force, he served as Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine at Bethesda, MD and Andrews Air Force Base. Then from the year 2000 to 2017 he was in solo private practice in Bremerton, WA. Since 2017 he has been at the Seattle and American Lake VAs with emphasis on Headache and MS. He is up to 26,000 headache encounters and counting. 

Kathleen Burgess

Kathleen Burgess, MD, MS
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Seattle, WA

Dr. Kathleen Burgess has been Director of the MS Regional Program since 2014 at the Seattle and American Lake campuses of VA Puget Sound HCS (VAPSHCS), which covers about 400 Veterans with MS. The MS Regional Program is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team that works closely with Neurology and SCI/D. Some special features of the MS Program include an active telehealth program, weekly care conferences, advanced spasticity management including baclofen pump management and Botox injections, and a monthly Veteran support group. Dr. Burgess is working with the VAPSHCS Lipoic Acid team as a co-investigator. She has presented symposia and posters at the CMSC and PVA Summit and has led the production of two MSCoE YouTube videos on fatigue and mobility. She is active in the Northwest MS Alliance, is a member of the National MS Society Healthcare Provider Council, and has volunteered at the annual Bike MS Deception Pass biking event. Dr. Burgess is an Associate Professor in the University of Washington Rehabilitation Medicine Department and is active in teaching medical students, residents, and fellows about MS, chronic pain, electromyography, and clinical ethics.

Jennifer Graves

Jennifer Graves, MD, PhD, MAS
Director MS Regional Program, San Diego, CA

Dr. Jennifer Graves is an Associate Professor of Neurosciences and Director of the Neuroimmunology Research Program at the University of California (UC), San Diego. She is also Director of the MS Regional Program at the San Diego VA and Director of the Rady Children's Pediatric MS Center. She completed an MD and PhD in Biophysics at the University of Texas Southwestern. She trained in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania receiving the Arthur K Asbury Award for Clinical Excellence. She completed two fellowships in Neuro-ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania and MS and Clinical Research Methods at the UC, San Francisco. She has received grant support from the NIH, National MS Society, Race to Erase MS, and Foundation for the CMSC. Her current research focuses on the role of biological age on MS phenotype. She is also developing next-generation digital tools to assess neurological patients, leveraging sensors developed in the computer control industry as well as novel applications in mobile technology. Her other work includes the study of genetic, environmental, and sex-related factors on disease course in pediatric MS and the application of visual outcome measures in the pediatric population. She is a collaborator in several national and international research efforts in MS and participates in multi-center clinical trials. She serves on the board of IMSVisual and the editorial boards of Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology and Neurology.  

Paul Gutierrez

Paul A. Gutierrez, MS, MD
Director MS Regional Program, Albuquerque, NM

Dr. Paul Gutierrez has dedicated his professional career to the care of Veterans with SCI/D. Dr. Gutierrez began his career in SCI/D Medicine at VA Long Beach where he served as Acting and Assistant Chief of the SCI/D Center. He was the leader of the transition from a rotational care model to a primary care/team care model, improving continuity of care and patient satisfaction. Dr. Gutierrez has been a clinical champion of implementation of CPRS and served as Chair of the Medical Records Committee for VA Long Beach. Dr. Gutierrez was Chair of the Medical Support Committee for the 23rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games and continues as a member of the National Medical Team for the NVWG. Dr. Gutierrez moved to the VA New Mexico HCS in April 2013 and is the Chief of the SCI/D Care Line. He is Regional MS Program Director for the Albuquerque VAMC in VISN 22. He provides primary care and neurologic consultative services to Veterans with MS and coordinates care for this patient population in New Mexico, Colorado, West Texas, Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona. Dr. Gutierrez received his BS in Biology from the California Institute of Technology, his MS in Human Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University, and his MD from Howard University College of Medicine. He completed his Neurology residency and fellowship training at the University of California (UC), Irvine College of Medicine. He previously maintained an academic affiliation with the Department of Neurology at UC Irvine and has participated in the training of resident physicians in Neurology and Physiatry throughout his career. He has now joined the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation faculty at the University Of New Mexico College of Medicine as an Assistant Professor.

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Leland Lim, MD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Palo Alto, CA

Christopher Luzzio

Christopher C. Luzzio, MD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Palo Alto, CA

Dr. Christopher Luzzio is a Neurologist who specializes in MS. He develops mechanical assistive devices for disabled persons and is actively involved in clinical research trials related to MS. Dr. Luzzio's medical interests include bioengineering, botulinum toxin treatment for movement disorders, electromyography (EMG), general adult neurology, and MS.

Carolyn Mehaffey

Carolyn Mehaffey, MD
Director MS Regional Program, Little Rock, AR

Dr. Carolyn Mehaffey graduated summa cum laude from Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She then attended medical school at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) where she received the American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Prize of Excellence in Neurology. She completed her Neurology residency at UAMS and served as Chief Neurology Resident during her final year and was awarded Resident of the year, Jesse Nichols award of excellence, and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) enhanced resident leadership award. Dr. Mehaffey then went on to complete a fellowship in Neuroimmunology under the direction of Dr. Robert Archer at UAMS. She received Faculty of the Year award and the VA Core Values award. 

Elena Melamed

Elina Melamed, MD
Director MS Regional Program, Mather, CA

Dr. Elina Melamed recently joined the Sacramento VAMC as the neuroimmunology/MS specialist for the VA Northern California HCS. She graduated from residency in the Bronx and completed a clinical fellowship in MS in Boston, before moving to Sacramento. She is excited to help fill the specialty gap in the region to better serve this unique patient population.

Doug Ota

Doug Ota, MD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Palto Alto, CA

Dr. Doug Ota is a medical doctor specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. As a Physiatrist, Dr. Ota focuses on a patient’s ability to function, and can treat multiple conditions that affect the brain, nerves, spine, bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. Dr. Ota can diagnose and treat pain that is a result of injury, disease, or a disabling condition. Physiatrists often lead a team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physicians in a patient’s treatment or prevention plan. Dr. Ota’s career in medicine began in 1995, when he graduated with his Medical Degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, UT. After medical school, he completed residency at Stanford University Hospital, Spinal Cord Injury; Stanford University Hospital, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; and L D S Hospital, Internal Medicine. Dr. Ota is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Maria Fides Pacheco

Maria Fides Pacheco, MD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Dallas, TX

Dr. Maria Fides Pacheco is a staff physician and Director for Clinical Operations at the SCI Center of the VA North Texas HCS in Dallas. She is also the Co-Director of the VA North Texas HCS MS Regional Program. She completed her Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency and Spinal Cord Injury fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She has been at the Dallas VA SCI Center for more than 15 years, having moved there to complete a Special Advanced Research Fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury (doing Robotics and Rehab Technology). She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She is also the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) Consultant for the National VA SCI System of Care.

Mateo PazSoldan

M. Mateo Paz Soldán, MD, PhD
Director MS Regional Program, Salt Lake City, UT

Dr. Mateo Paz Soldán serves as the MS Regional Program Director at the Salt Lake City VAMC. He completed his Neurology and MS/Neuroimmunology training at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN before joining the Neurology Service at VA SLC HCS and the Neuroimmunology faculty at University of Utah. His clinical and research interests focus on MS, neuromyelitis optica (NMO), and other inflammatory or demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system.

Meheroz Rabadi

Meheroz H. Rabadi, MD
MS Regional Program Director, Oklahoma City, OK

Dr. Meheroz Rabadi is a staff Neurologist at the Oklahoma City VAMC and Clinical Professor of Neurology at Oklahoma University. He is the Director of the SCI program at the Oklahoma City VAMC, a comprehensive program that deals with Veterans with SCI/D, MS, and ALS. The program actively sees around 325-350 Veterans of which around 150-180 have MS. The MS program is comprehensive and includes other disciplines in addition to MS providers (MD, PA-C, SW), Dietician, OT/PT, Nursing for B&B, Pharmacy, Laboratory, and Radiology. The providers publish MS-related data regularly in peer-review journals, with aims of improving the quality of care provided at our facility and informing other clinicians how they can improve the care of Veterans with MS.

Megan Raverty

Megan Raverty, MD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Megan Raverty is a Minnesota native and completed medical school and residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Minnesota in 2015. She worked in the private sector upon completing her residency and began working at the SCI/D Center at the Minneapolis VA in 2018. Outside of work, she is married with a 5-year-old son, and they enjoy spending time camping and at the lake.

Michael Richards

Michael S.A. Richardson, MD, FACP
Director MS Regional Program, Hines, IL

Dr. Michael Richardson has been a practicing physician for over 30 years. A native of Jamaica, WI, he trained in Physiology at Oxford University, England then in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica with fellowships at the University of Wales, UK and Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC. He has worked in academic, government, and private practice settings in Washington DC with Georgetown University Hospital, District of Columbia General Hospital, and as the Senior Deputy and Chief Medical Officer for the DC Department of Health. In November 2003 he joined the VHA as the Chief, Medical Service for the VA Gulf Coast HCS where he was involved in the responses to both Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Dr. Richardson is board certified in Internal Medicine and Spinal Cord Medicine and is currently the Chief, SCI at the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

Carolyn Bevan

Carolyn Bevan, MD
Director MS Regional Program, Chicago, IL

Dr. Carolyn Bevan is an Assistant Professor of neurology specializing in MS and other autoimmune conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord. She is the Director of the MS Regional Program at the Jesse Brown VAMC in Chicago, IL. She completed her medical degree at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine in Hanover, NH followed by her neurology residency at Columbia University in New York, NY. She then completed fellowship training in MS and clinical neuroimmunology at UC San Francisco where she stayed on as faculty before moving to Chicago in 2017. She joined the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University where she maintains a clinical practice and joined the Chicago VAMC in December of 2020. She works to provide high quality subspecialty care to Veterans with MS and related conditions, focusing on a collaborative, team-based approach. She is working to build an MS teleneurology program to improve access to subspecialty care for the Veterans in VISN 12. She is dedicated to medical education and is working with her colleagues to build a research platform exploring risk factors associated with MS onset and outcomes.

Rebecca Spain

Rebecca Spain, MD, MSPH
Director MS Regional Program, Portland, OR

Dr. Rebecca Spain is the Associate Director of Clinical Care for MSCoE-West, Regional Director for the VA Portland HCS, and an Associate Professor of Neurology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). She received her Medical Doctorate degree from Case Western Reserve University in 2002. After her medical internship at Brown University, she completed her Neurology residency at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She continued at Jefferson for a two-year MS fellowship studying the effects of MS on the retina of the eye and obtained a Master of Science in Public Health. She joined the clinical faculty at the VA Portland HCS and OHSU in 2008. Her research focuses on studying and treating progressive forms of MS with a focus on wellness approaches.

Olaf Stuvey

Olaf Stuve, MD, PhD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Dallas, TX

Dr. Olaf Stuve is a Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Chief of Neurology at the VA North Texas HCS/Dallas VAMC. At the Dallas VAMC, Dr. Stuve attends to Veterans with neurological disorders. In addition to his clinical activities, he has been the principal investigator and site principal investigator for numerous clinical trials. Dr. Stuve also runs a research laboratory at UT Southwestern. His research interests include molecular and cellular markers of autoimmunity, immune tolerance, and experimental therapies for autoimmune disorders, and he has numerous ongoing collaborations with national and international investigators. Dr. Stuve’s research has been supported by grants from the VA, National MS Society, and several Foundations. He has published over 200 research articles, review articles, editorials, and book chapters, and he has given over 200 invited presentations. Dr. Stuve is a fellow of the American Neurological Association, American Academy of Neurology, and European Academy of Neurology. He is an elected member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He has served on numerous editorial boards of medical and scientific journals and has been a member of National Institutes of Health and National MS Society study sections. He received his medical degree from the Free University of Berlin, completed a medical doctoral thesis in Physiology at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin magna cum laude, and earned a PhD in Immunology in the Department of Clinical and Experimental Immunology at Maastricht University. He completed a transitional internship at the University of Cape Town, and a preliminary internship and Neurology residency at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Stuve also received postdoctoral fellowship training in neuroimmunology at McGill University in Montreal, and at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Stuve has received numerous clinical teaching awards. He has mentored undergraduate students, graduate students, medical students, residents, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty. Dr. Stuve was elected Top Provider in Neurology at the VA North Texas HCS repeatedly by physician peers across medical and surgical specialties, and he has been listed in D Magazine's Best Doctors list.

Michael Sy

Michael Sy, MD, PhD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Long Beach, CA

Dr. Michael Sy is a board certified Neurologist who is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of California (UC), Irvine. After being raised in Southern California, Dr. Sy graduated from Yale University with distinction in Biology and then returned home to complete his MD and PhD with the UC, Irvine Medical Scientist Training Program. Afterwards, he finished residency training in Neurology and fellowship training in MS at the UC, Irvine Medical Center. Working in the National MS Society Designated Comprehensive Care Clinic at UC, Irvine, Dr. Sy provides complete and holistic care to people with MS and others with neuro-immunological diseases. In addition, he is involved in both clinical and basic science research with the goal of advancing our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of disease in MS.

Gabi Thai

Gaby T. Thai, MD
Co-Director MS Regional Program, Long Beach, CA

Dr. Gaby Thai is a Clinical Professor and Vice-Chair for Ambulatory Care in the Department of Neurology, Medical Director of the Neurology Clinic, and a Staff Neurologist at the Institute of Memory Impairment and Neurological Disorder at the University of California (UC), Irvine. She is the Co-Director of the MS Regional Program at the VAMC in Long Beach, CA and a Staff Neurologist. Dr. Thai received her Doctor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA and her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the UC, Berkeley. She completed a fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology at the UC, Irvine. She has been honored in America’s Top Doctors (dementia, MS) and Physicians of Excellence, Orange County Medical Association.

Lucas Stenzel

Lucas Stenzel, MD
Director MS Regional Program, Omaha, NE

Dr. Lucas Stenzel is an Instructor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Stenzel is a Texas native. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of North Texas and received his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston in 2014. Dr. Stenzel is particularly interested in resident and student education and inpatient neurology focused on epilepsy and stroke care.

Eric Williamson

Eric Williamson, MD
Director MS Regional Program, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Eric Williamson moved to Los Angeles to join the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) faculty as an Associate Professor in 2019 and serve as Director of the West Los Angeles VA Hospital's MS Regional Program. He earned his medical school degree from Ohio State University's College of Medicine in 2007. Thereafter, Dr. Williamson pursued a residency at the University of Chicago before completing a neuroimmunology fellowship at the University of Southern California and then serving on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he previously directed the Philadelphia VA MS Regional Program. While Dr. Williamson’s primary focus is patient care, he is also intimately involved in trials and clinical research efforts to better treat patients with MS and like diseases, serving as an investigator and examiner in a number of research studies. He has particular interest and expertise in conditions such as neuromyelitis optica, transverse myelitis, and infectious central nervous system diseases. Dr. Williamson's research interests have helped to better characterize and examine the potential risks and benefits of neuro-immune therapies. He has and continues to conduct research, lecture on, and write about a number of topics related to MS. These topics include infections encountered in demyelinating disease, vaccinations in MS, and how the use of monoclonal antibodies and other novel therapies in central nervous system illness may impact cancer biology.

Gregory Wu

Gregory Wu, MD
Director MS Regional Program, St. Louis, MO

Dr. Gregory Wu is an Associate Professor in Neurology as well as in Pathology and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a clinician and clinical research investigator with a laboratory dedicated to understanding the regulation of adaptive immune responses in the central nervous system during health and disease. He is currently focused on the role of two cell populations – B cells and microglia – that are highly relevant to the pathogenesis of MS, in large part due to their antigen presentation and regulation of CD4 T cell-mediated immunity. While his lab utilizes an animal system (EAE) to analyze distinct contributions of various antigen presenting cells, Dr. Wu also specializes in understanding the underlying mechanisms of disease-modifying therapies for MS. He is one of four clinicians caring for over 2,000 MS patients at the John L. Trotter MS Center and is the Director of the MS Regional Program at the St. Louis VA Hospital. He has been the site PI for several phase IV clinical trials in MS at Washington University in St. Louis. His basic science and clinical research has been funded by the NIH, National MS Society, Doris Duke Foundation, Barnes Jewish Foundation, and Hope Center for Neurologic Diseases.