THCC’s Director of Neurosurgery had a key role in the 2023 opening of the THCC-UCSF Brain & Spine Center on Sierra Vista’s medical campus

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Tenet Health Central Coast announced that the Central Coast Medical Association has honored Phillip Kissel, MD, as the 2023 Physician of the Year for San Luis Obispo County. Nominated by peers, the award is for a physician who has worked to improve the quality of health care, contributed to the education of other physicians, and engaged in community service and other activities outside of medicine.

Dr. Kissel is Tenet Health Central Coast’s Director of Neurosurgery and has been practicing at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center for nearly 35 years. He was instrumental in the creation of the Tenet Health Central Coast-University of California San Francisco Brain and Spine Center that opened in 2023 on the medical campus of Sierra Vista. The Center was the most recent illustration of Dr. Kissel’s leadership and vision to bring academia-level care to San Luis Obispo County. With his leadership, Tenet Health Central Coast created neurosurgical affiliation with UCSF where all the neurosurgeons caring for Tenet Health Central Coast patients are credentialed staff of UC San Francisco. The significance of that quality for San Luis Obispo patients is evidenced by U.S. News & World Report’s naming UCSF Neurology & Neurosurgery as No. 2 in the nation and “Best in the West.”

Along with performing over 10,000 neurosurgical and spinal cases in San Luis Obispo, Dr. Kissel has served as President of the California Association of Neurological Surgeons (2016), on the San Luis Obispo Medical Education & Research Foundation’s Board of Directors (since January 2021), and has served as a member of the Central Coast Medical Association for 30+ years.


Dr. Kissel’s journey in the medical field began with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a post-baccalaureate degree in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University in 1983, followed by a surgical internship at UCLA/Harbor General Medical Center, and a neurosurgical residency at the University of California, Davis, which he completed in 1989.

Tenet Health Central Coast is an integrated healthcare system consisting of two acute care hospitals and several affiliated entities, including primary and specialty care, urgent care, outpatient imaging and laboratories across the Central Coast. The hospitals are Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, the county’s only designated trauma center, in San Luis Obispo, California, and Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton. Among their numerous recognitions for quality and compassion, both hospitals are internationally recognized Baby-Friendly birth facilities and both have earned the “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Tenet Health Central Coast serves many diverse communities throughout the Central Coast, enabling all that come through its doors have access to quality, coordinated care and advanced specialty services at convenient locations.