Who We Are
Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) is a group of orthopedic surgeons and other providers committed to delivering world-class care in a friendly, patient-centered environment. In addition to offering comprehensive adult orthopedic services, we offer pediatric fracture, spine and congenital (hereditary) scoliosis and hand care.
The OPA “care team” model of service helps patients enjoy the personalized attention and a family feel of a small practice…with all the conveniences, advanced technologies and cost-saving advantages of a large group practice. The group includes:
- Orthopedic Surgeons
- Physician Assistants
- Physical Therapists, Occupational (Hand) Therapists & Massage Therapists
- Athletic Trainers
- Support Staff (medical assistants, surgery schedulers, etc.)
Our mission is to deliver extraordinary, individualized healthcare to all Alaskans and visitors, restoring their health and function following injury or illness and maximizing their ability to fully engage in all life has to offer.
1966: Ed Voke, MD, Founds Practice
OPA had its beginnings in 1966, when renowned spine surgeon Edward M. Voke, MD, founded the practice after spending two years practicing with the Public Health Service in Alaska and after completing his surgical residency in Ohio. In those days, there were only 3 orthopedic surgeons practicing in the Anchorage area. His medical-surgical expertise and good humor improved the quality of life for thousands of grateful Alaskans. Dr. Voke worked well into his seventies before finally retiring to spend more time with his family. He passed away in 2015.
2001: Group Practice Expands
In 2001, Dr. Voke brought on his colleague and friend Robert J. Hall, MD—a young, highly regarded orthopedic surgeon from Iowa who had been living and practicing in Alaska for several years, and who was then specializing in joint replacements.
Within a short time, Drs. Hall and Voke recruited James M. Eule, MD, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon from Colorado. Dr. Voke soon transitioned control and leadership of the practice to his colleagues, and in 2003 Hall–Eule, Inc. was formed, adopting the name Orthopedic Physicians Anchorage only a few months later.
Several other talented surgeons with complementing surgical interests and expertise joined OPA over the next few years. These included, in 2003, Eugene M. Chang, MD, a fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon from Anchorage; in 2004, William J. Mills, MD, former associate professor at the University of Washington Medical School (also from Anchorage), who has since passed away; in 2005, Marc J. Kornmesser, MD, a fellowship-trained hand and upper extremity surgeon from Detroit; and in 2006, Christopher J. Manion, MD, former Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Alaska Native Medical Center, specializing in sports medicine.
2006: Additional Leadership Added
In 2006, Rick Watson, CMPE, joined OPA as Chief Executive Officer. Rick’s vision was to foster growth and development to help OPA become the best orthopedic practice in Alaska. The practice grew quickly under his direction and expanded to include additional services that had not been offered by OPA in the past. OPA continues to improve and develop under Rick’s leadership today.
2008: Alaska's First Orthopedic Walk-in Clinic
OPA opened Alaska’s first orthopedic injury walk-in clinic in 2008. The clinic helps injured patients save time and money and receive direct access to orthopedic specialists. With the clinic’s success, OPA hired additional orthopedic-trained, certified physician assistants to operate the walk-in clinic, and today offers walk-in hours 7 days a week. OPA remains Alaska’s only orthopedic injury walk-in clinic that is open every day.
2008: OPA Athletic Trainers Begin Covering High School Athletic Teams, Free of Charge
OPA hired certified athletic trainer Lynne Young, ATC, MEd, in 2008 and donated her services to the Anchorage School District and other community sporting events. Soon thereafter, OPA expanded its athletic training staff to a team that now consists of seven full-time trainers, led by Ms. Young, who are dedicated to serving the Anchorage and Mat-Su Valley school districts as well as community athletic programs and events. OPA provides these services at no cost to the athletes.
2009: Rheumatology Clinic Opens
Dr. John Botson, MD, RPh, CCD, a fellowship-trained rheumatologist, was brought on in 2009. His training in treating musculoskeletal diseases made him a natural fit for the existing orthopedic group, while offering much-needed rheumatology and infusion services to residents of Alaska. In 2012, the rheumatology clinic expanded, as Ryan Ragle, MD, also a fellowship-trained rheumatologist, returned to Alaska to join OPA and serve his hometown community.
2010–2014: Six Physicians Join
Mark E. Flanum, MD, fellowship-trained in both spine surgery and sports medicine, joined the OPA spine team in 2010. A year later, Tim Kavanaugh, MD, one of Alaska’s most well-known orthopedic hip- and joint-replacement surgeons and founder of Alaska Bone & Joint Institute, joined OPA. Fellowship-trained orthopedic trauma surgeon Greg Schweiger, MD, who also practices sports medicine, joined in 2013.
In 2014, renowned sports medicine specialists Eli Powell, MD, and Jeff Moore, MD, joined the OPA team. The two had co-founded of Alaska Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine and together have served as head team physicians for the Alaska Aces (until the team disbanded in 2017), the Great Alaska Shootout, and the University of Alaska Anchorage athletic programs. Fellowship-trained hand specialist Owen Ala, MD, trained in upper extremity and microvascular surgery, joined later in 2014.
2015: OPA Expands to Mat-Su Valley and Incorporates "Alaska" into Its Name
In anticipation of its expansion into the Mat-Su Valley, OPA updated its name to Orthopedic Physicians Alaska. Drs. Deryk Anderson, DO, and Tucker Drury, MD, joined OPA in 2015 and began seeing patients at the OPA Wasilla office. Months later, the team opened an extended-hours orthopedic injury walk-in clinic there.
2015: Onsite Surgery (Alpine) & Recovery Services (Alpenglow) Open at Anchorage Location
After a remodel of most of the OPA building, the practice opened two state-of-the-art centers onsite to enhance patient surgical outcomes and to increase convenience and cost-efficiencies for patients. Alpine Surgery Center was created as an ambulatory surgery center specializing in orthopedic and pain treatment procedures. Several OPA physicians became members of the Alpine Surgery Center Board of Directors, with Dr. Kavanaugh as its president. Located on the second floor of the OPA building, Alpenglow Short-Stay Assisted Living was designed to help residents discharged from Alpine Surgery Center recover in comfort. With 24-hour assistance from nursing staff in a beautiful and relaxing environment, Alpenglow patients prepare for their post-op return to life at home, and expedite their post-op exercise programs under the guidance of OPA physical therapists next door.
2017: Preferred Provider Contracts Finalized
In 2017, OPA became a preferred, in-network provider for Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, CIGNA, and First Choice Health.
2018: Three Physicians Join, Wasilla Location Expands
OPA welcomed three respected orthopedic surgeons to its ranks in 2018. Dr. Jessie Janowski, MD, joined the OPA Hand team. She is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic hand surgeon and is very active in the community. Dr. Curtis Mina, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon specializing in minimally invasive procedures joined OPA’s Wasilla team. A short time later, Dr. Adam Ellison, MD, also joined the Wasilla team. Dr. Ellison completed fellowships in both sports medicine and shoulder and elbow surgery.
2018: South Anchorage Physical Therapy Center Opens – and Adds Massage Therapy
To make rehabilitation therapy more accessible to patients on the south side of town, OPA opened a satellite PT location, featuring physical, occupational (hand) and massage therapy services.
2019: Wasilla Physical Therapy Center Opens
OPA opened a new Therapy Services location in Wasilla, featuring physical, occupational (hand), and massage therapy services. The opening of this clinic brought with it the addition of some of Alaska’s most experienced therapists to the OPA team.
2019: Anchorage and Wasilla Walk-in Hours Expand
In October, OPA expanded its Anchorage Walk-in Clinic hours—opening an hour earlier every day—to Monday-Friday, 10am-8pm and Saturday–Sunday, 11am–6pm. In November, OPA’s Wasilla Walk-in Clinic expanded its service to include Saturdays, making its new hours Monday–Saturday, 12pm–6pm.
2020: Telehealth Appointments & COVID-19 Safety Measures Introduced
OPA took measures to ensure patient and employee safety and remain open despite the pandemic. Telehealth visits were introduced along with new screening procedures and many other steps that enabled patients to get the care they need in a safe environment.
2020: OPA Eagle River Moves, Expands
OPA moved to its Eagle River clinic down the road on the Old Glenn Highway, making room for more services – including hand and spine subspecialties, physical therapy, and an injury walk-in clinic.
2020: Wasilla Relocates & Expands Services
To better meet the orthopedic and rheumatology needs of valley residents, OPA opened a new new facility and expanded services to include rheumatology – complete with an infusion suite, along with all orthopedic subspecialties, physical therapy and an injury walk-in clinic.
2020: Six Physicians Join OPA
OPA is pleased to welcome several new doctors to the team, including fellowship-trained spine surgeon Derrik Foge, MD; joint replacement specialists Thomas Paynter, MD, and Bryan Haughom, MD; fellowship-trained hand and upper extemity specialists Dann Laudermilch, MD, and Alan Swenson, MD; physiatrist Erik Olson, DO.
2020: Soldotna Hand Clinic Opens
Dr. Owen Ala opened an OPA office in his hometown of Soldotna, giving Peninsula residents better access to hand, wrist & upper extremity specialty care.
The OPA team includes Alaska’s leading specialists and offers some of the latest, most advanced treatment procedures available today.
OPA treats a wide variety of conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions, minimally invasive arthroscopies (repairs), and total joint replacement.