Meet Our Team

Meet Christopher C. Ornelas, MD

Originally published July 20, 2016

Last updated April 30, 2024

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dr. Ornelas is an orthopedic surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC, who specializes in spine surgery and nonoperative spinal disorders.

Here’s what you won’t find on his resume.

He dreamed of becoming a doctor.

“My entire life, I always wanted to be a physician. The day I was accepted to medical school, my lifetime dream came true. As I start my day I remind myself of how privileged I am to have the opportunity to participate in the lives of my patients.”

Teaching is his passion.

“As physicians, we choose a career of lifelong learning. I’m a physician, but I also act as a teacher by educating patients about their bodies and helping them to understand their treatment plans. The boundaries of education are pushed even further on the academic side. I have the privilege of educating the next generation of health care providers.

I also teach in my free time. Outside of the office, I have coached a number of youth sports programs. I enjoy the challenge of taking a diverse group of kids and molding them into a team. Teaching respect for the game and sportsmanship is always my priority.”

He feels rewarded when your goals are met.

“The most rewarding part of my job is when a patient tells me how the efforts of my team have helped them achieve their goals, whether their goal was understanding their condition, pain improvement or improved function. I try to tailor treatment plans to each individual patient.”

Not every case is the same.

“I am continually inspired to be the best physician every day. My patients are my motivation. They bring unique scenarios and situations with them — this diversity helps me to continue to strive to be better not only with my medical knowledge and clinical skills but also with my effort to communicate. Different people respond to different treatment plans, and different situations require different goals.”

Keck Medicine inspires him.

“I trained and worked in private, academic and government medical settings prior to joining Keck Medicine. The collaboration between my specialty and complementary specialties is simpler and seamless here at Keck Medicine. As a result, my patients are able to have a more comprehensive evaluation and diverse participation in their care. Our institution is growing at a fast pace, and we are always exploring new and creative ways to improve access to care.”

View Dr. Ornelas’ full biography and schedule an appointment.