Atrium Health Foundation has announced a transformational gift to establish an endowed professorship in spine surgery at Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute. The professorship – which honors Dr. Jerry M. Petty – was made possible with a leading $2.3 million gift from Rick and Linda Hendrick, with Felix Sabates, Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, Downie and Sally Saussy, and the Petty family among additional contributors. Dr. Domagoj Coric, the inaugural holder of the Dr. Jerry and Audrey Petty Endowed Professorship in Spine Surgery, was recognized at an investiture on March 22. The endowment will support Dr. Coric’s research and education initiatives strategically envisioned by Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute and SpineFirst leadership.

Dr. Petty, who concluded his extensive career in 2021, is regarded as one of the most distinguished neurosurgeons in the nation, and one of the most admirable healthcare providers in the history of the Charlotte region. Over the last several decades, Dr. Petty’s spirit of innovation has paved the way for thousands of patients in this region to access the most advanced care available.

“Our family is honored and humbled to support the Dr. Jerry and Audrey Petty Endowed Professorship in Spine Surgery,” shared Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman and CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group. “As one of the most respected neurosurgeons in the world, Jerry has dedicated the entirety of his professional life to helping patients and has done immeasurable good here in our region and across the country. The endowment will ensure that the impact of his unparalleled 53-year career practicing medicine will continue to be felt for many, many more years to come.”

“Jerry and his beloved Audrey truly represent the very best of us,” added Hendrick. “Their values, passion for giving back to others and genuine humility have been a constant inspiration for our family, countless people in our organization, and for so many others they’ve touched. Since we met them in 1986, our relationship has spanned generations beginning with my parents, who considered Jerry and Audrey their best friends. They would be so happy to see them recognized in such a wonderful way. Our bond with the Pettys has continued with Linda and me and our children and grandchildren. We are grateful to have had them in our lives and could not be more thrilled to be involved with this special project.”

Dr. Coric is the inaugural holder of the Dr. Jerry and Audrey Petty Endowed Professorship in Spine Surgery, the highest level of distinction for a physician at Atrium Health. A neurosurgeon, partner, and dedicated leader at CNSA, he serves as the executive medical director of SpineFirst – a joint venture between CNSA and Atrium Health.

The investiture marked the celebration of a new level of partnership with Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates (CNSA) in serving the greater Charlotte community. CNSA and Charlotte Memorial Hospital were both founded in 1940, and have a rich history – starting with the leadership of Dr. Petty and his founding partners at CNSA. That legacy of innovation and excellence has built two joint ventures between the health care organizations, Carolina Center for Specialty Surgery and, most recently, SpineFirst.

Pictured (L-R): Dr. Domagoj Coric; Dr. Claude T. Moorman, President of Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute and the Edward N. Hanley, Jr. Endowed Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery; Dr. Jerry Petty; and Ken Haynes, Enterprise Executive Vice President and President of the Greater Charlotte Region of Atrium Health.


About Atrium Health Foundation  

About Atrium Health Foundation Founded in 1959, Atrium Health Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in Charlotte. As the point of contact for all contributions benefiting Atrium Health in the Charlotte region, the Foundation inspires transformational giving to improve health, elevate hope, and advance healing – for ALL. Through its current Giving Hope Campaign, Atrium Health Foundation is supporting Atrium Health’s efforts to create the learning health system of the future by building healthy communities, outstanding education programs, preeminent research, and exemplary facilities.