We are fortunate at John Muir Health to have the best and brightest minds working together to diagnose and treat tumors in the brain and spine. A key to our success is the collaboration among our team of specialists. The multi-disciplinary team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, oncologists, pathologists, rehabilitation medicine physicians, neuropsychologists, and other support professionals.
The team reviews all cases and develops an individualized treatment plan for each and every patient. Throughout planning and treatment, the team will explore different approaches to care, and keep you informed of your options and your progress.
A Nurse Navigator serves as a communications liaison between you and the other members of the team, and provides you and your family support, information, and resources over the course of your treatment.
We offer the most advanced techniques and technology to diagnose and treat neurological disorders of the brain and spine. These include diagnostic procedures using the latest 3T MRI Scanner, a 64-slice CT scanner, and functional MRI (fMRI), that can pinpoint abnormalities in just seconds.
Image-guided and Computer-assisted surgery allows for highly detailed 3D views of the brain and spine so surgeons can operate with greater precision, and with less invasiveness. Surgical treatment advances include Stereotactic Radiosurgery which precisely targets brain and spine tumors without harming nearby healthy tissue. Sixteen years ago, John Muir Health became the first health care system in the East Bay to offer this targeted, less invasive approach. Recent advances in this technology allow patients to be treated in 20 minutes or less with the highest accuracy and precision currently available. This allows patients to arrive at the hospital in the morning and leave in the afternoon.
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Dr. George J. Counelis is a Board-Certified neurosurgeon who specializes in complex brain and spinal problems. He received his medical training at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. After a post-doctoral clinical fellowship in cerebral blood flow at UCLA, he completed his internship and six years of neurosurgical training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. During his training at the University of Pennsylvania, he completed fellowships in brain tumor research and complex spinal surgery. In 2004, Dr. George J. Counelis joined the medical staff of John Muir Health and was chosen as the Medical Director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Program in 2008.
Dr. Merkow completed medical school at the Columbia University Medical Center. Following medical school, he completed his internship and residency at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Merkow received his fellowship training at the Wellington Public Hospital. Dr. Merkow is board certified in Neurosurgery by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. He specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, brain tumors and functional neurosurgery.
Dr. Bice was awarded his doctorate by the University of Florida in 1985 and certified by the American Board of Radiology in Therapeutic (1988) and Diagnostic (1994) Radiologic Physics. As a medical physicist he has been responsible for linac-based stereotactic radiosurgery programs for more than 20 years. Prior to accepting the chief of physics position at John Muir Health, he practiced medical physics in London, England for two years. Dr. Bice was on the faculty of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio for more than 25 years, teaching medical physics as well as conducting and publishing research.
Dr. Chen is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. He received his medical training at the Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed his internship and residency. Dr. Chen is a neurosurgeon at John Muir Health where he specializes in minimally invasive approaches to the spine, tumors of the brain and spine, and cervical spine disease.
Dr. Piazza is a neurosurgeon who specializes in surgical treatment of diseases of the spinal column and nervous system. Dr. Piazza completed medical school at Columbia University Medical Center. Following medical school, he completed residency training and a fellowship at University of Pennsylvania.
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Cristina received her Bachelor's Degree in Business in 1994 and her Associate's Degree in Nursing from Los Medanos College. She began her career as an Oncology Nurse in 2009 and earned her Radiation Therapy Certificate in 2012. She has been a Nurse Navigator in Radiation Oncology at John Muir Health since 2012, and is currently studying for her Oncology Certification.
Dr. Massullo is certified by the American Board of Radiology/Radiation Oncology. He completed medical school at Mayo Medical School, and his internship and residency at University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Massullo completed his research fellowship with the American Cancer Society. Prior to joining the Radiation Oncology team at John Muir Health, he was a clinical faculty member at the University of California at San Diego.
Dr. Moini is certified by the American Board of Radiology/Radiation Oncology. After completing medical school at the Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy, she completed her internship at Yale University School of Medicine. Her residency program was at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has held faculty positions at Johns Hopkins University and University of California at Davis Medical Center.
Darcel received her Bachelor's Degree in Dietetics from California State University at Chico. She is a Certified Faith Community Nurse and currently works as a dedicated Nurse Navigator at John Muir Health.
Gail earned her RN Degree at Los Medanos College. She has Certification in Oncology Nursing and a certificate in Radiation Oncology Nursing. Gail had earned a Master's Degree in Business prior to attending nursing school. She has been the Nurse Navigator Supervisor in Radiation Oncology at John Muir Health since 2007.
John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek is recognized as Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery.