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.

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.

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, Medical Director

Dr. James Stephen, Medical Director, 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 Chiari I malformation, syringomyelia, and tethered spinal cord. He has been performing Chiari surgery on patients age 16 and older since 2019 and was mentored by Dr. John Oro’ for 2 years. 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.

Caroline Chatain, MSN, FNP-BC

Caroline Chatain, MSN, FNP-BC, is a board-certified nurse practitioner at The Medical Center of Aurora in the Colorado Chiari Institute. Caroline earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Kentucky in 2016. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2021 with a Master of Science in nursing in family nurse practitioner degree. 

As a registered nurse, Caroline spent five years working in the neurological intensive care unit at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and the operating room at Denver Health. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, hiking, gardening, and learning French.