Expert Blog


In honor of National Scoliosis Awareness Month in June, the physicians at Sonoran Spine and the Sonoran Spine Research and Education Foundation are honoring two young ladies with college scholarships.

Mirela Ananieva from Phoenix and Taylor Hall of Mesa received this year’s SSREF scholarships. Both recipients have dealt with spine problems since they were young. Diagnosed prior to middle school, Ananieva has learned to deal with her spinal curvature challenges through an active lifestyle. Mirela has successfully overcome her obstacles from scoliosis. She is an accomplished competitive figure skater and attends Arizona State University Barrett Honors College pursing her undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition. Her dream is to become a surgeon and use her skills to make a difference in people’s lives.

Hall underwent a spinal fusion in 2015 under the direction of Sonoran’s Michael Chang, MD to correct idiopathic scoliosis. Six months post-surgery and two inches taller, Taylor feels stronger than she has ever been. Her outlook on the future is positive. She is eager to begin her freshman year of college at University of Arizona and major in creative writing. She states, “my imagination never left as I grew older and I now have the opportunity to make what has only been in my mind and in my writing, a reality.” In addition to writing, Taylor has dreamed about becoming a pilot, another dream she is going to make a reality.

The 2016-17 scholarship recipients were chosen based on several different criteria including; the way their lives had been impacted by a spinal deformity, how they were able to live a productive and functional life in spite of their physical challenges, the student’s overall grade point average and their ability to impact the community through volunteer services.

“Our interest in patients with spinal disorders and spinal deformity doesn’t end with successful treatment,” said Dr. Dennis Crandall, Sonoran Spine founder. “Our goal is to help assure our patients have full and functional lives. That is why the SSREF established this scholarship fund. We want to assist students who are Arizona residents, have undergone surgery for, or overcome a spinal deformity and who want to go to college at one of our top state universities.”