Host: Dr. Bob Christensen
While most people think that bigger is better with federal government, the cold hard truth is that America’s federal agencies can be destructive, especially when it comes to innovation and regulation. Our founding fathers built this country on the principle of individual freedom, but today’s agencies like the FDA are taking that away with corruption and greed, much like events at Penn State, where: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When you listen to Dr. Bob Christensen’s story — a modern day David who takes on the FDA, the modern day Goliath — you will begin to understand how Stopping Innovation Stops America.
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Stopping Innovation Stops America with Dr. Bob Christensen
BIO: Dr. Bob Christensen: The Modern Day David
In a storyline that closely parallels that of David vs. Goliath, Dr. Robert Christensen has had a long and illustrious history as a practicing oral and maxillofacial surgeon; he entered private practice in Pasadena, California after returning in 1952 from the service as a Navy surgeon during the Korean War. From the beginning, even his days as a boy in Julian, CA, Dr. Bob has found himself time and again facing large, authoritative, and often dictatorial tyrants in medicine, business and government that he has struggled against in his constant quest for the truth. Truly, he is a modern day David.
He was appointed to a position of Assisting Clinical Surgeon in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery, U.C. Irvine in 1965. He performed oral and maxillofacial surgery in 17 different hospitals in the greater Los Angeles and Pasadena areas; through the years he recognized the need to innovate 5 devices related his field of expertise. It was during the 50s and 60s that Dr. Christensen actively developed innovative solutions and medical devices for TMJ, jaw replacements, and dental implants. Those innovations were the precursors of a multibillion dollar dental implant industry seen today, worldwide. Nonetheless, he again faced a series of “Goliaths” along the way, from medical societies to hospital boards, though he never faltered in searching for the truth in his personal and professional lives.
Dr. Christensen has long been recognized as an authority and pioneer for his innovation of the first surgical TMJ implants in the United States and in the world since the early 1960s. He has had the opportunity of teaching TMJ and jaw reconstructive surgery in many universities in America and many countries around the world. Like the founding fathers of America, though, he understands that pursuing the truth that true innovation requires is a risky proposition, an area full of land mines, but that the potential rewards to the individual entrepreneur — like himself, Steve Jobs, and others — are enormous for his own good and that of America.
Dr. Bob was honored to be elected to be a member of the prestigious American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, as well as to have been appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at Clemson University, where the University named their bioengineering lab the Robert W. Christensen Bioengineering Laboratory. Alfred University, in NY, named their biomaterial lab the Robert W. Christensen Biomaterial Laboratory. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester uses his TMJ innovated implants as their mainstay of TMJ surgery for their patients.
Besides being honored by being listed in Who’s Who in the West, America, the World, Medicine and Healthcare, Science and Engineering, Finance and Business, he was also made an honorary Member in the Hollywood Academy of Medicine and the Colorado Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. In 2012, Dr. Christensen was awarded the first ever Special Recognition Award by the Colorado Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. During that award presentation, Dr. Ric Alexander, from New York, made the following comment, “Dr. Bob Christensen is to TMJ surgery and implants, what Steve Jobs is to Apple Computers.”Perhaps that statement and that of Dr. Eugene Keller, Director of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Mayo Clinic when he stated, “The bottom line in my opinion, is that the Christensen TMJ hemi-arthroplasty is the answer to 95 % of the patients who have TMJ osteoarthritis and need surgery. Dr. Christensen, I know you knew this 50 plus years ago”, tells the whole story of what Dr. Christensen has accomplished.
Having founded two separate and very successful medical device companies in the United States and having successfully brought their products through the U.S. regulatory process, Dr. Christensen is well qualified to lead some of these discussions addressing “Stopping Innovation Stops America” or “Medical Innovation Vs. Regulation”. Clearly, the FDA represents the modern day Goliath.