About Colorado Chiari Institute

Welcome to Colorado Chiari Institute

Welcome to the Colorado Chiari Institute at The Medical Center of Aurora. The Medical Center of Aurora is recognized as a Best Hospital by U.S. News and World Report, a leader in hospital safety by The Leapfrog Group with a Grade ‘A” rating, a three time Magnet designated hospital for nursing excellence, and designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery. The mission of the Colorado Chiari Institute is to provide high quality, compassionate care for those suffering from the Chiari 1 malformation and related disorders.

CCI is an outgrowth of The Chiari Clinic established by John Oró, MD, FAANS and Diane Mueller, ND, RN, FNP-BC at the University of Missouri Health Sciences Center in 1998 and the Chiari Care Center at The Medical Center of Aurora in 2005. Dr. Oró and his team have evaluated several thousand patients with CM 1 and he has surgically treated over 1,000.

We’d like to welcome experienced neurosurgeon James H. Stephen, MD to the team. Dr. Oro is no longer accepting new patients, but will serve as Medical Director of CCI, and will focus on national and international Chiari education.

Wellness is an integral part of care at CCI and we believe in treating the whole patient. By examining nutrition and wellness, we seek to identify issues that may be aggravating Chiari symptoms. Kimberly Sexton, MSN, RN, FNP-BC and supportive specialists assist patients in reaching overall health goals.

The Colorado Chiari Institute also specializes in the evaluation and management of patients with tethered spinal cord.

Enhancing compassionate quality-care is our mission, and we do this through our commitments to research, education, and innovation.

Just twenty minutes south of Denver International Airport, CCI is conveniently located near I-225.

View our Referral Process to schedule an appointment.

Contact us:
1400 South Potomac Street, Suite 210
Aurora, CO 80012

Phone: (303) 695-2663

Fax: (303) 695-2665


Meet the Team

James H. Stephen, MD

Dr. James Stephen has always been energized by solving complex problems and directly helping others. With his interests in understanding mechanical systems and human physiology, he studied mechanical and biomedical engineering at The University of Michigan. Dr. Stephen completed medical school at the University of Pennsylvania with the goal of working collaboratively to fix problems that directly benefit peoples’ lives. Neurosurgical rotations at Mayo Clinic, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and an extra year of basic science research investigating spinal fusion confirmed his dedication to neurosurgical training. Dr. Stephen completed his neurosurgical residency training at the University of Pennsylvania and also a fellowship in spinal deformity correction at the Philadelphia Shriner’s Hospital for Children.

Dr. Stephen appreciates the privilege and monumental responsibility of taking care of patients with neurosurgical diseases. His clinical focus is spinal trauma, spinal deformity, spinal tumors and general neurosurgery. He strives to treat every patient as if they were a family member, patiently listening to their goals and concerns, explaining the treatment options, and guiding patients through the process to help them achieve the best possible outcome. Combining the precise, meticulous practice of neurosurgery with the art of individualized medicine is a strength of Dr. Stephen’s and a calling he finds incredibly rewarding.

John Oró MD, FAANS

John Oró MD, AANS Fellow, served on the neurosurgery faculty at the University of Missouri Health Sciences Center in Columbia for 21 years. In 1991, Dr. Oró became Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery and expanded its clinical and research programs. Among the new programs, he and Diane Mueller, ND, RN FNP-BC, developed The Chiari Clinic, a national center for the evaluation and care patients with the Chiari I malformation.

Dr. Oró moved to Colorado in 2005 to serve as Director of Neurosurgery at The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) and together with TMCA developed the Neurosurgery Center of Colorado and Chiari Care Center. In view of the increasing need for specialty care of persons affected by the Chiari I malformation, in 2017, his clinical focus narrowed and together with TMCA and Kimberly Sexton FNP-BC, created the Colorado Chiari Institute.

Dr. Oró retired from clinical practice at the end of 2019 and now serves as Medical Director of the Colorado Chiari Institute.

Kimberly Sexton, MSN, RN, FNP-BC

Kimberly Sexton, a nurse since 1980, has extensive experience in critical care, orthopedics, business, healthcare consulting, nursing education and pain management. She received a Master of Science Degree in Nursing and a post-graduate certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She is board certified in family practice and nursing pain management by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Additionally, she has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix. She has been honored many times for Excellence in Care and is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Kimberly has been a HealthONE employee since 2001 and has been working with patients with Chiari I malformation and related spinal cord conditions since 2008. Currently she serves as Nurse Practitioner following Chiari patients from their initial visits through their hospital stay and post-operative course.

In her spare time, Kimberly enjoys quilting, cooking, traveling and spending quality time with her poodles and family.

Laura Peterman

Laura Peterman is a nurse and has been in the healthcare field for 10 years. She has experience in orthopedics/spine, pediatrics, case management, and oral/maxillofacial surgery. She received her associates of applied science in nursing from Northwest College in Powell, Wy and plans to continue with her Bachelors with University of Colorado.

Laura has been with HealthONE since 2016. She has been recognized as a Daisy Award nominee on multiple occasions and is frequently noticed by her peers as someone they can rely on.

As the first contact that you will meet at the Chiari institute, Laura will be the friendly voice and face to meet with the new Chiari patients. She will help with the check-in and scheduling process, as well as patients that qualify and elect to have surgery.

Outside of work, Laura enjoys hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, and spending time with her friends and family.