Physician Profiles


Charles E. Kelly, MD

PNBC Founder and Board Member

Before establishing Physicians Neck & Back Center (PNBC), Dr. Kelly was exposed to patients with chronic back pain not responsive to treatments and surgery available to him as a primary care physician. Wanting to help patients alleviate their pain, he, together with Dr. Brian Nelson and Dr. Joseph Wegner founded PNBC in 1990. The PNBC approach to alleviating pain and improving function for chronic neck and back patients is based on restoring the spinal function, activity level and personal independence. Dr. Kelly has also conducted several research studies and published the results in peer-reviewed medical journals.


  • Athletic Scholarship, Notre Dame, Pre-Med, B.A. 1971 - 1975
  • University of Minnesota, Medical School, M.D. 1976 - 1980
  • Residency, University of Minnesota, 1980 - 1983
  • Chief Residency, University of Minnesota, 1983-1984


  • Board Certified in Internal Medicine

Professional Activitie(s):

  • Member, American Back Society, 1996 - Present
  • Member, North American Spine Society, 1993 to Present
  • Past Member, Ramsey County Medical Society
  • Past Member, Allina Quality Care Committe, 1986 - 2000
  • Past member, Medica Board of Directors, 1989-1993
  • Coveted Mt. Olivet Award Recipient for the State’s Best Scholar/Athlete 1971

Speaking Engagement(s):

  • Minnesota Academy of Family Practice Conventions
  • National Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • Spondylolisthesis, National Spine Conference

Published Article(s):

  • “The clinical effects of intensive, specific exercise on chronic low back pain: a controlled study of 895 consecutive patients with 1-year follow up.B. Nelson, E. O'Reilly, M. Miller, M. Hogan, J. Wegner, and C. Kelly. Orthopedics 18(10): 971-981, 1995.

  • “Can spinal surgery be prevented by treating surgical candidates with aggressive strengthening exercise? A prospective study of cervical and lumbar patients.”B. Nelson, D. Carpenter, T. Dreisinger, M. Mitchell, E. O'Reilly, C. Kelly, J. Wegner, J. Palen, and M. Hogan. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 80:20-25, 1999

Rocklin Shir, MD

Dr. Shir is a lifelong Minnesota resident with a strong acedemic background. Dr. Shir has practiced Emergency Medicine for 26 years. He has also practiced Occupational Medicine for 3 years prior to joining Physicians Neck & Back Clinics, where he has gained valuable experience in treating patients with neck and back disorders. After personally suffering back pain for a year, Dr. Shir came to PNBC as a patient in 2009. When he experienced first-hand, the lasting benefits of physician-guided neck and back strengthening program, he joined the PNBC team in 2011. Dr. Shir is confident that he can help others return to a more active and enjoyable lifestyle as well.


  • Undergraduate degree at University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN.  B.A., Magna Cum Laude, 1977.  
  • Medical degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN.  M.D. Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society, 1981.
  • Residency, Family Practice at St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center. 1981 - 1984.  



  • Board Certified in Family Practice  1984- 2005
  • Board Certified Emergency Medicine  1989- Present 


Related Experience: 

  • Occupation Medicine  2007-Present  


Professional Activitie(s): 

  • Past Diplomat of American Board of Family Practice
  • Member of American Academy of Family Practice
  • Fellow of American College of Emergency Physicians

Gloria J. Peterson, MD

After a decade of practicing family medicine, Dr. Peterson wanted to concentrate her practice on offering a non-surgical approach to spinal care to patients. She joined Physicians Neck & Back Clinics (PNBC) in 2002 and splits her time between our Woodbury and Roseville clinics. Dr. Peterson enjoys specializing in spinal care because of the dynamic and ever-changing focus in this area of medicine. She is pleased with the long-term results many of her patients have experienced from the PNBC active rehabilitation approach. She is also active as a teacher and is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota where she instructs new residents.


  • University of Minnesota, Undergraduate, French, 1969 - 1973
  • University of North Carolina, MA in French Literature, 1974 - 1976
  • University of Minnesota, Medical School, 1982 - 1986
  • University of Minnesota, Medical School Family Medicine, 1987-1991


  • Board Certified in Family Medicine

Previous Related Experience:

  • Family Medicine, 1992 - 2002

Professional Activitie(s):

  • Associate Professor - University of Minnesota, 2004 - Present
  • Preceptor for Residents of the University of Minnesota Medical School, 1994 - Present
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice

Caroline Anna Mason, MD

Dr. Mason practiced Family Medicine for 15 years before joining Physicians Neck and Back Clinics in 2005. In her practice, she cared for many patients with chronic neck and back pain who were frustrated with treatment modalities and continued to experience pain and reduced function. She has concentrated her practice on spinal care and has enjoyed seeing her patients experience long term improvement with active rehabilitation therapy at PNBC. She also acts as a consultant for quality organizations performing case reviews.


  • University of Minnesota Medical School, 1987
  • University of Minnesota, Family Medicine Residency, 1990



  • Board Certified in Family Medicine 1991, 1997, 2003


Professional Activities:

  • Member, Academy of Family Medicine


Previous Related Experience:

  • Family Practice Physician and Chief of Professional Services, Inver Grove Medical Clinic, HealthPartners Medical Group, 1990-2005.
  • Assistant Medical Director, Best Sience and Measurement, HealthPartners, 2001-2004.
  • HealthPartners President's Award, 1995.
  • Ramsey Special Recognition Award for Exceptional Service, 1995.

Sue Richner, MD

Dr. Richner has practiced Family Medicine for 5 years and have practiced Occupational Medicine to the present time. She's had extensive experience caring for patients with acute and chronic spine pain.


  • Family Practice Residency, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 1986-1989
  • Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 1982-1986
  • Masters of Public Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 2004
  • Masters of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 1979-1982
  • Bachelors of Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 1974- 1979



  • Board Certified, American Board of Family Medicine


Previous Related Experience:

  • Family Practice Physician, Allina Medical Clinic 1990-1995
  • Occupational Medicine Physician, Healthworks, 1995-2001
  • Occupational Medicine Physician, Allina Medical Clinic Eagan 2001-2006
  • Occupational Medicine Physician, Minnesota Occupational Health 2006- present

kanekKaren R. Kane, MD


Dr. Kane began practicing at Physician Neck and Back Clinics (PNBC) in 2004. As a staff physician at the North Memorial Occupational Health Clinic, she treated back and neck injuries but is pleased to be specializing in these areas at PNBC. Dr. Kane has been in the medical profession for nearly 20 years and has served as a staff physician at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. She has also served as the Occupational Health Medical Director for a large multi-specialty clinic in the Twin Cities. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of neck/back injuries and disability management. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Kane provides consultative services for disability management.


  • University of Minnesota Medical School, 1981
  • Residency and fellowship training at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, 1985
  • University of Minnesota, Masters of Public Health, 1985


  • Board Certified in Internal Medicine
  • Board Certified in Preventive Medicine
  • Board Certified in Occupational Medicine

Previous Related Experience:

  • Staff physician, Mayo Clinic 1986 - 1988
  • Staff physician, University of Minnesota 1988 - 1991
  • Occupational Health Medical Director for a large multi-specialty clinic in the Twin Cities. 1991 - 1996
  • Staff physician North Memorial Occupational Health Clinic 1996 - 2004

Professional Activitie(s):

  • Member, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • Member, North Central Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association

Speaking Engagement(s):

  • “Shoulder Injuries.” Leading Edge Conference, GE Benefits, 9/9/04

  • “Disability Management from the Primary Care Provider’s Perspective.” Disability Management Employer Consortium, 4/15/04

  • “Low Back Injuries.” Leading Edge Conference, GE Benefits, 10/10/03

Shawn Olson photo Shawn Olson, MD

Shawn Olson photo

Dr. Olson graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2009 and completed residency training with HealthPartners/University of Minnesota Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2013. He has also earned a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. As an Occupational Medicine Specialist, Dr. Olson has extensive experience with neck and back pain, both from a preventive and treatment perspective. He has spent years treating, protecting and promoting the health of injured workers. He is dedicated to providing high quality, cost effective outcomes, while maintaining great client satisfaction. He joined PNBC for the opportunity to participate in the rehabilitation of back and neck pain, using exercise as a tool. He is deeply interested in the crucial influence of exercise on the human body, and is an avid fitness fanatic himself. He enjoys caring for patients with a comprehensive fitness approach, with a focus on objective measures, and caring for patients using evidenced based decision making to minimize unnecessary tests and procedures.


  • Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2011-2013
  • Masters of Public Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, 2011-2013
  • Anesthesiology Residency, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2010-2011
  • Transitional Internship,Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN, 2009-2010
  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, 2005-2009
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, Minneapolis, MN, 2001-2005


  • Specialist in Occupational Medicine, American Board of Preventive Medicine, 2014
  • Aviation Medical Examiner, Federal Aviation Administration, 2014
  • Commercial Driver Medical Examiner, National Registration of Certified Medical Examiners, 2013

Professional Activitie(s):

  • International Commission on Occupational Health, 2014 - Present
  • American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2011 - Present
  • Ad Hoc Patient Satisfaction Committee, 2015 - Present
  • Residents and Recent Graduates Section – President-Elect, 2014 - Present
  • Central States Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association, 2011 - Present

Figueroa_copyMary Figueroa, MD


Dr. Mary Figueroa firmly believes that the best way to be of service to her patients is to educate them. For her, medicine has always been about educating people to empower them to work to improve their health. That means the best way to affect the health of an individual is to understand their concerns and problems and educate them about what they can do to make it better. Her goal is to listen to the patient's needs. She strives to provide a friendly, respectful atmosphere for care with the goal of maximizing spine health.

Dr. Figueroa stays healthy by attending Zumba classes 3-4 days a week and walking. Her favorite place to walk is at the Minnesota Landscape Arborteum.

University of Minnesota Medical School
Residency at the Hennepin County Medical Center