Top Docs History 1995-2015

Editorial StaffApril 1, 2015
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To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Top Docs, we did some housekeeping. Through the upheaval of the Internet Age, our Top Docs database hadn’t changed much since 1995. Which is to say: It was still a stack of back issues piled in a closet.

We resolved to update our system. First, we broke open the PHOENIX magazine morgue and pulled our past Top Docs issues. Then we painstakingly catalogued every physician selected for Top Docs distinction over the issue’s 20-year history, from pediatrician Neil Aaron to psychiatrist Kenneth Zwier, and stored them on a spreadsheet. Finally, we crunched the 2,457 names to bring you these fun facts and all-time rankings. Salud.

All-Time Specialty Leaders
Note: Number reflects total Top Doc listings, both in the given specialties and otherwise.

Allergy & Immunology: Mark S. Schubert (18)

Anesthesiology: Aubrey Maze (17)

Cardiology/Cardiovascular Disease: Nathan Laufer (27)

Colon & Rectal Surgery: K.S. Venkatesh (16)

Dermatology: Howard Luber (15)

Fertility: Randall Craig (15)

General Surgery: Richard T. Perry (16)

Geriatrics: Gillian Hamilton (15)

Hematology/Oncology: Jeffrey Isaacs (17)

Internal Medicine: Wayne Kuhl (18)

Neurological Surgery: Robert Spetzler (22)

Neurology: Barry Hendin (20)

Obstetrics & Gynecology: Michael Urig (15)

Opthalmology: Robert Bullington (17)

Orthopedic Surgery: David Ott (15)

Otolaryngology (ears, nose and throat): John Raines (19)

Pediatric Neurology: Allen Kaplan (18)

Pediatrics: Vivian Ziltzer, David Alexander, James Padrez (16)

Psychiatry: James McLoone (17)

Pulmonary Disease: Amy Silverthorn, Cash Beechler (15)

Thoracic Surgery: Michael Caskey (16)

Urology: Larry Bans (20)

Most Honored Top Doc: Cardiologist Nathan Laufer, with 27 Top Doc listings spanning 21 issues. Laufer double-qualified in “Cardiology” and “Cardiovascular Disease” on multiple occasions.

Q&A with Dr. Laufer
How does it feel to be the #1 Top Doc?
Well, it’s a great honor. And I’m humbled by the recognition. I do appreciate PM for putting this together and getting the ballots out there.

Any chance you’ll be practicing in 2035?
I’m not sure I could even predict five years. According to my wife, I should never retire. I’m a Type A personality and the last thing she’d want me to do is go shopping with her.

Which Valley Cardiologist would you go to if you needed one?
I would trust any of the members in my practice… I hand-picked each of them, so I’d better be comfortable entrusting them with my care.

Names You Can Trust?
Number of individual doctors that have appeared in the pages of Top Docs, respective to surname.
21: Smith
11: Patel
10: Cohen, Johnson
8: Nelson
7: Campbell, White, Brown, Singh
6: Collins, Friedman, Lee, Lewis, Shapiro, Walker

Dr. Consistency
Only one Valley physician has appeared in every Top Docs issue: “rock star brain surgeon” Robert Spetzler, our 2014 cover model.

Non-Spetzler Top Doc Streaks
Urologist Larry Bans, neurologist Barry Hendin, hematologist Jeffrey Isaacs and otolaryngologist John Raines are currenlty riding 15-year streaks.

Most Honored Female Top Doc
Scottsdale pediatrician Vivian Ziltzer, who appeared in our inaugural issue and has 16 total listings.


For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.