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Reta Honey Hiers Assistant Professorship in Tarlov Cyst Disease

School of Medicine

Established in 2017 by Mary Ellen Pease and Charles P. Scheeler

MARY ELLEN PEASE and CHARLIE SCHEELER are lifelong Baltimoreans with two adult daughters, Alex and Cecelia. Mary Ellen is a dedicated public education advocate who has served in a variety of capacities for Baltimore County Public Schools, including PTA President, member of the Gifted and Talented Advisory Committee, and co-founder of the website.
Mary Ellen is a passionate advocate for patients suffering with Tarlov Cyst Disease and is an active contributor to the mission and goals of of the Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation and the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Psychiatry Advisory Board. She also leads initiatives to conserve open space and protect communities from over development while restoring the former pasture surrounding her home to its original roots as a Maryland native plant community and wildlife habitat. Charlie serves as Senior Counsel at DLA Piper LLP, Chair of the Boards of Rosedale Federal Savings and Loan Association and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and is a member of the Boards of Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the CollegeBound Foundation. In his spare time, Charlie enjoys intellectual jousts with his daughters on topics large and small. His record in this pursuit is mixed at best.

RETA HONEY HIERS is a Registered Nurse, certified in medical education. Her degree in education from the University of Tennessee led to her teaching nurses and other health occupations. As a hospital Director of Education, she established ACCME accreditation and directed Continuing Medical Education programs for twenty years. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation and enjoys working with the Board of Directors and the Medical/Scientific Advisory Committee as an advocate for perineural/Tarlov Cyst patients, promoting and providing research funding, and improving education in both the general public and medical community about this rare spinal nerve pathology and symptomatology. She has spoken at the National Institutes of Health, co-authored the first Tarlov Cyst article published in Journal of Pain, and provided poster presentations to the National Organization for Rare Disorders Conferences and at the International Association for the Study of Pain. She is a native of Tennessee and lives in Knoxville with her husband, Don. She is the mother of two adult sons, Chad and Greg, and has two grandchildren, Zach and Hadley. In addition to her work in Tarlov Cyst Disease she is an avid gardener and birder.

Held by Timothy Witham

TIMOTHY F. WITHAM, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a professor of neurological surgery and orthopaedic surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His interests include the surgical treatment of degenerative conditions of the cervical and lumbar spine, including instrumented fusion  procedures. He also has an expertise in the treatment of spinal tumors, spinal trauma and spinal deformity.

Dr. Witham serves as director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Spinal Fusion Laboratory, director of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s Spine Program and co-program director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Residency Program.

Dr. Witham received his B.S. in biochemistry from the Pennsylvania State University. He earned his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He  performed a fellowship in spinal neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Witham joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2005.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Witham was chief neurosurgeon at Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Dr. Witham’s research interests include finding novel ways to achieve spinal fusion and improving surgical techniques in the aging spine.

A co-author of more than 170 peer-reviewed articles and abstracts, Dr. Witham has been featured as a “Top Doctor” in Baltimore magazine and was a recipient of a United States Air Force meritorious service medal in 2005. He is a member of various professional organizations, including the American College of Surgeons and American Association of Neurological Surgeons.