Meet Our Team
We are rooted in a rich history of premium care and passionate professionals. Our physicians and staff are leading, trusted specialists with top credentials and educational backgrounds. In our premier center for spine care, surgery and treatment, the clinical collaboration of an elite group of spine physicians ensures the best result. Every patient, every time.
Carter Cooper is a certified physician assistant (PA-C). He joined Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery in 1998 and is the primary assistant to Dr. Steuer.
Mr. Cooper holds a Master of Medical Science degree from Emory University School of Medicine. His earlier training includes a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science in industrial management with highest honor from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Active in physician assistant education, Mr. Cooper lectures on neurology topics at Emory University and at Mercer. He speaks frequently about brain and spine care at state and national conferences. In his practice, he is committed to empathetic listening and helping patients understand their issues so they can make informed decisions about their treatment.
John Dobrasz, PA-C joined Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery in January 2001. He is the primary assistant to Dr. Tomaras.
Mr. Dobrasz earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and a Master of Medical Science degree with honors from Emory University in December 2000.
He has worked as a research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Sports Medicine, a Mohs surgery technician at the University of Virginia Department of Dermatology, a trauma registry analyst at the Baltimore Shock Trauma Center, a research associate at the University of Virginia Department of Plastic surgery and as a physician assistant with the Northside Emergency Associates.
Matt Sartorio, PA-C joined Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery in February 2009. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University in 2002, an M.S. degree in exercise science from the University of Georgia in 2006 and a Master of Medical Science with honors from Emory University in 2008.
Prior to entering the Emory PA program in 2006, Mr. Sartorio worked as a high school athletic trainer in Fairfax County, Virginia until 2004 and as a certified athletic trainer for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams at the University of Georgia. Mr. Sartorio is also currently involved with USA Swimming, USA Wrestling and the United States Olympic Committee as a sports medicine staff member. He recently attended the 2008 Short Course World Championships in Manchester, England with USA Swimming.
Rick Benefield, PA-C joined Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery in February 2014 and is the primary physician assistant who makes rounds at each hospital for Polaris.
A Georgia native, Mr. Benefield earned both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the State University of West Georgia. He went on to earn his Master of Medical Science degree from Emory University’s School of Medicine in 2008. During his academic career, Mr. Benefield was recognized as a Scholar Athlete and was a part of a championship football program, worked as a graduate research assistant and was recognized by the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Prior to joining Polaris, he worked as a physician assistant in cardiology.
Mr. Benefield has two children with his wife, Erica. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and participating in an active lifestyle.
Tracey Couse is a certified family nurse practitioner (FNP-C). She joined Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery in 2016. She works in collaboration with Dr. Raymond Walkup.
Tracey has a medical laboratory technology diploma from Fanshawe College, a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Western University, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing in Family Practice from Kennesaw State University. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing, and the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses.
Prior to joining Polaris, Tracey worked as a laboratory coordinator and manager in medical research for Western University, Emory University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she contributed to numerous scholarly publications. She went on to work at Saint Joseph’s Hospital as a medical/surgical bedside nurse and then at a bustling vascular surgery practice as a nurse and clinical manager.
Tracey enjoys all forms of health promotion activities. She is an avid runner and enjoys the outdoors, cooking, and traveling.