10 orthopedic changemakers

Carly Behm -  

From researchers, to leaders and mentors, here are 10 orthopedic surgeons whose work has had a widespread impact on the specialty:

Editor's note: Physicians are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

James Andrews, MD. Dr. Andrews leads the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Fla. The center is sought by professional and casual athletes looking for care. Dr. Andrews is a former president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and is known for his work advocating for injury prevention in youth sports. 

Richard Berger, MD. Dr. Berger is a pioneer in outpatient joint replacements. He was the first physician to perform outpatient hip and knee replacements. Dr. Berger, of Chicago-based Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, surpassed his 12,000th outpatient joint replacement in 2021.

Neal ElAttrache, MD. Dr. ElAttrache is a recognized leader and researcher in sports medicine. Dr. ElAttrache was inducted as the 47th president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine in 2018 and joined the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute's board of directors in 2020. 

Bryan Kelly, MD. Dr. Kelly was named surgeon-in-chief and medical director at New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery in 2019. Before that, he was chief of the hospital's shoulder service and advanced its care, research, education and staff development. He's authored more than 190 publications and treats athletes from around the world.

Lisa Lattanza, MD. Dr. Lattanza is one of the founders of the Perry Initiative, an organization encouraging young women to be leaders in orthopedic surgery and engineering. The Perry Initiative was founded in 2009, and more than 13,000 high school, college and medical students have participated in programming.

Martha Murray, MD. Dr. Murray developed the Bear anterior cruciate ligament restoration implant. Multiple surgeons have started using the regenerative treatment, and the innovation earned her the 2022 Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation's Clinical Research Award.

Mary O'Connor, MD. Dr. O'Connor is a recognized researcher in joint replacement and limb salvage surgery. She's led a multicenter study on sex differences in the tissues of the knee joint in osteoarthritis patients and is a co-investigator in a study on stem cell injections for the knee. She also wrote a landmark medical paper with Franklin Sim, MD, about limb salvage for cancerous pelvis tumors. Other areas of research include orthopedic patient care processes and knee replacement.

Marc Philippon, MD. Dr. Philippon is co-chair and co-director of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colo. He has treated nearly 1,000 professional and Olympic athletes and is a trustee with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation.

Alexander Vaccaro, MD, PhD. Dr. Vaccaro has served as president of Rothman Orthopaedic Institute since 2014. He is an internationally recognized expert in spine surgery and has published more than 900 peer-reviewed and 200 non-peer-reviewed publications. Rothman has one of the most robust science programs in orthopedics globally.

Kristy Weber, MD. Dr. Weber was the 87th president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the first woman to take the role. She is director of the sarcoma program at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia and built a collaborative research team combining clinical and basic research between Penn Medicine and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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