Our Staff


Richard L.  Kern, Jr., MD

Dr. Kern currently serves as the Department Chair of Neurological Surgery at United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Dr. Kern received his Doctorate of Medicine from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He completed both his General Surgery Internship and Neurosurgical Residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas.

Before coming to Wichita Falls, Dr. Kern was in practice for 15 years with faculty appointment at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, working with the Neurosurgical Group of Chattanooga. There, he performed a wide variety of cranial and spinal procedures and was involved in medical staff leadership, including serving as Chief of Staff at Erlanger Medical Center.

  • Neurosurgical Residency Training – July 1997-June 2002 
    • University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas/Parkland Hospital Dallas, TX
  • General Surgery Internship — July 1996-July 1997
    • University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas/Parkland Hospital Dallas, TX
  • Doctor of Medicine – May 1996
    • East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC
  • Bachelor of Science, Computer Science – May 1992
    • North Carolina State University, College of Engineering, Raleigh, NC
  • Board Certified, Neurological Surgery – 2028
  • Neurological Surgery Specialists of North Texas, PLLC – July 2019 – Present
    • 3808 Kemp Blvd., Suite A
    • Wichita Falls, TX  76308
    • (940) 234-3000
  • Richard L. Kern, Jr., MD, PLLC – July 2017 – Present
    • 3808 Kemp Blvd., Suite A
    • Wichita Falls, TX  76308
    • (940) 234-3000
  • Neurosurgical Group of Chattanooga — July 2002 – July 2017
    • 1010 E. Third Street, Suite 202
    • Chattanooga , TN 37403
    • (423) 265-2233
  • Neurosurgery Department Internet Web Site contributions on Chiari Malformation-UT Southwestern – January 2001
  • Investigative Neurosurgery Senior Elective – Duke University – July & November 1995
    • Mentor: Dennis A. Turner, MD Associate Professor of Neurosurgery & Neurobiology, Department of
    • Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • Hartford Student Scholar – Neuroscience Research – Duke UniversityJune-August 1993
    • Funded by a Hartford Foundation Grant
    • Mentor: Dennis A. Turner, MD Associate Professor of Neurosurgery & Neurobiology, Department of
    • Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • Software Engineer–Telecommunications Division, 1988-1992 
    • Alcatel Network Systems/Transcom, Raleigh, NC
  • Erlanger Medical Center
    • Chief of Staff 2015-2017
    • Vice Chief of Staff 2013-2014
    • Secretary of Staff 2010-2012
    • Chief of Surgery 2009
  • American Medical Association 
    • President, Medical Student Section East Carolina Chapter 1994-1995
    • Director of Residency – Day Fair fundraising event 1994
    • President-Elect AMA Medical Student Section 1993-1994
    • Director of Freshman Medical Student Recruiting Reception 1993
  • North Carolina Medical Society 
    • Member of NCMS Medical Education Committee 1995-1996
    • Governing Council 1994-1995
    • Finance Committee Representative, Governing Council 1995-1996
  •  Psychiatry Clerkship Honors 1995, East Carolina University 
  •  Merck Leadership Award 1995, East Carolina University
  •  Hartford Student Scholar 1993, Duke University
  •  Alpha Epsilon Delta National Premedical Honor Society 1991, NC State University
  •  Best Actor Award 1989, NC State University 
    • MACKENZIE, WH, KERN, RL 1989 “Genetics in Human Affairs” COURSE SYLLABUS REDESIGN North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
    • SENZEL, L, KERN, RL, AFSHARI, C, BARRETT, JC – “Role of Proteoglycan Components on Tumor Suppressor Gene Function”- -STUDENT RESEARCH PRESENTATION 1991 – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC

Ian Armstrong, M.D.

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A diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgery with fellowship training in spinal surgery, Dr. Ian Armstrong has been in practice in the Los Angeles, California area for over twenty years. Dr. Armstrong is a second-generation physician and graduate of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He completed his General Surgery Internship and his Neurological Surgery Residency at Baylor College of Medicine and Affiliated Hospitals at the Texas Medical Center where he was involved with teaching and research. During his ten years at the Texas Medical Center, he had the opportunity to train under Dr. Michael Debakey.

Dr. Armstrong completed two Spinal Surgical Fellowships: Rene Louis, M.D., Hospital De La Concepcion, Marseille, France and David Cahill, M.D. at the University of South Florida. He has twenty-three years of leadership, teaching, research, community service, patient care, trauma and surgical experience. His career has been varied, spanning from the operating room to the board room. Dr. Armstrong has served as Chief of Neurosurgery, held positions on hospital and corporate leadership boards, and has been significantly involved in teaching, research and development. He has also had the opportunity to be a consultant to the movie industry, professional sports teams, professional athletes, and spinal surgery companies.

As a recognized leader in his field, Dr. Ian Armstrong has been called upon to be a resource for news and media, including television, radio and print – both nationally and regionally.

  • M.D. – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 1985
  • Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX
  • General Surgery Internship, Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals, Department of Surgery, 1986
  • Ben Taub County Hospital
  • The Methodist Hospital
  • Houston, Veterans Administration Hospital
  • Texas Children’s Hospital
  • St. Luke’s Hospital
  • Neurological Surgery Residency, 1986 to 1991
    • Neurological Residency Program, Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals, Department of Neurosurgery – Chairman: Robert Grossman M.D.
  • Primary Teaching Hospitals
    • Ben Taub General Hospital and Trauma Center
    • M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
    • Houston Veterans Administration Hospital
    • The Methodist Hospital
    • Texas Children’s Hospital
  • XLIF Pioneer, 2008 – Trophy awarded by Nuvasive for participation in XLIF evaluation, peer education, visiting surgeons program instructor.
  • Halo Development Award, 2007 – Trophy presented by Nuvasive for being instrumental on team for evaluation and implementation of new cervical spine fusion system – Halo.
  • Envoy Development Award, 2007 – Trophy presented by Nuvasive for helping Ian I.T. Armstrong, M.D. – CV
  • Spherex II Team Member – Trophy and Award for recognition of involvement design and develop the Envoy, lumbar spine fusion delivery system.
    with evaluation of a new lumbar pedicle screw fusion system – Nuvasive, 2008.
  • Brotman Hospital Governing Board, Service Award and Plaque, recognition for five years of service, 2006 to 2011.
  • Century City Hospital Governing Board Service Award, 2000 in recognition forservice.
  • Training to Win, Board of Directors Service Award, 1999, recognition on Board of Directors for a foundation providing medical care and insurance for inner city school athletes and uninsured student athletes.
  • Excellence in Clinical Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, 1985.
  • National Institutes of Health Fellowship, Baylor College of Medicine, Spinal Cord Trauma, 1983.
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Alpha Chi Sigma
  • Director of Spinal Surgery – Beverly Hills Orthopedics, Beverly Hills, CA – 2016 to present
  • Chief of Spinal Surgery, California Institute of Neuroscience (CIN), Thousand Oaks, CA – 2017 to present.
  • Commissioned Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army Reserves, December 2020 Current Active US Army Reserves – AOC 61Zullu
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA; Voluntary – 2017 to 2020
  • Faculty, National Skull Base Institute, NSBI – 2017 to 2020.
  • Chief of Neurosurgery Century City Hospital – 10 years.
  • Governing Board of Century City Hospital – 10 years.
  • Director of Spinal Surgery Program Century City Hospital – 10 years. • Director of Neurosurgical Trauma Century City Hospital – 10 years.
  • Director of Neurosurgical Trauma, Midway Hospital, Los Angeles – 5 years. • Cedars Sinai Hospital, Staff Attending, involved with teaching residents, fellows and trauma call – 18 years.
  • Medical Director of Neurosurgery
  • Ian I. T. Armstrong, M.D.
  • Vice Chair Governing Board of Southern California Hospital at Culver City – 3 years.
  • Co-Chair of Bankruptcy Committee, Brotman Hospital – 2 years.
  • Surgical Committee, Southern California Hospital at Culver City – 3 years.
  • Ortho Task Force, Southern California Hospital at Culver City – 1 year.
  • QME Qualified Medical Examiner, State of California -1 year
  • Consultant, Beverly Hills Medical Concierge – International Concierge Medical Practice, serving patients from China, Russia, Middle East, Mexico – 2 years.
  • Medical Director – CEO/Founding Partner, Southern California Spine Institute (Est 1996), a multi-office, hub and spoke model, private practice spine surgical practice with offices in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks, and Bakersfield – 20 years.
  • Medical Advisory Board, Aurora Spine Inc., Carlsbad – Product development and evaluation, teaching – 3 years.
  • Consultant, NuVasive, Inc., San Diego, CA – 11 years.
  • Founding Partner/Owner, CAST Surgical Center, Ambulatory Surgical Center, Westwood – Involved with developing patient care protocols – Sold to publicly traded national company – 5 years.
  • Developing Partner, Owner Medical Office Complex, Bakersfield – 11 years.
  • Conejo Concussion Institute – Medical Advisory Board – 2 years (present).
  • Nexus Consultant involved with peer review regarding medical compliance with practice guidelines – 2 years.
  • Research Consultant, Globus Medical, Audubon, PA – 2018 to 2019.
  • Parent Advisory Board, Baylor University, Waco, TX – 2016 to present.
  • Board Associate, Academic Committee, Oaks Christian High School – 1 year.

Sven Hochheimer, MD

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Dr. Hochheimer specializes in disorders of the spine using contemporary minimally invasive techniques as well as offering modern options for disc replacement or disc arthroplasty, neuromodulation for pain management, and surgery for disorders of peripheral nerves like carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar neuropathy. He has interests in treating brain and spinal conditions using minimally invasive endoscopy approaches which serve to improve the recovery times and outcomes for patients. Dr. Hochheimer, through many years of military experience and service, offers some of the most novel and innovative options for the care of traumatic conditions involving the brain and spine. 

Dr. Hochheimer grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado where he graduated from high school demonstrating academic excellence. He entered the Air Force after high school where he initially trained as a physician assistant mastering the program which he completed with highest honors. Thereafter, he completed medical school training followed by the Air Force neurosurgical residency program. Dr. Hochheimer cared for Air Force patients serving at multiple different locations including deployments overseas where he gained valuable experience caring for our wounded military as we as foreign citizens.

Dr. Hochheimer has actively trained neurosurgical residents in the Air Force in the United States where he excelled in academic neurosurgery until he retired in 2019, after a decorated career

A common theme which has followed Dr. Hochheimer through his education and training has been his unparalleled academic honors and achievements. He has received honors bestowed on few in literally every aspect of his education. He relentlessly pursues knowledge related to surgical techniques to achieve the best possible outcome for his patients. 

He enjoys time spent with his family. He enjoys outdoor activities like rafting, skiing, mountain biking and shooting guns.

Physician Assistant

Randy E. Benish, PA-C

Kenneth J. Jenkins, Jr

Nurse Practitioner

Kara R. Shurtz, APRN, MSN, FNP-C


Briana Rojas-Paoli, LVN

Gabriela Ortiz, LVN

Christina Munoz

Elissa Velasquez

Leisa Chitwood

Medical Assistants

Pamela Payne

Patient Care Coordination

Angela Faubion, RN


Elizabeth Costilla

Belen Collier

Diane Myers


Angela Gibbons

Practice Administrator