Rosier Steps Down as Chair of Orthopaedics; O’Keefe Identified as Likely Next Chair

December 07, 2006

"Dr. Rosier ushered in the golden era for orthopaedics here at the Medical Center, with our clinical, research and education missions poised to reach new heights."

At this morning’s Orthopaedics Grand Rounds presentation at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Wehle Professor and Chair of Orthopaedics Randy N. Rosier, M.D., Ph.D., announced he will step down as department Chair to focus on an expanding research portfolio, which has experienced unprecedented growth in the past two years. Regis J. O’Keefe, M.D., Ph.D., professor of orthopaedics and director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research, is expected to take over the helm of the thriving department. The transition will take place on or before March 1, pending University of Rochester Board of Trustees approval.

"I have been honored to lead a department steeped in excellence in all areas – research, education and patient care,” Rosier said. “With the incredible advances we have made over the last six years, especially in the research realm, it has become increasingly clear to me that I can now best serve the department by dedicating significantly more time to our collective research efforts.  I am deeply grateful to the tremendous faculty and staff support I have had as chair, and I look forward to continue working side-by-side with them in the coming years.”

Rosier said he plans to oversee the $7.8 million Center of Research Translation (CORT) grant recently received by the Orthopaedics Department from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, as well as play an active role in the new $40 million Clinical and Translational Science Institute.  He also will continue with his clinical orothopaedic oncology practice.

Named Chair in May 2000, Rosier led Orthopaedics to achieve monumental milestones in less than seven years. One of his first moves as chair was to establish the Center for Musculoskeletal Research to coordinate all intra- and inter-departmental research.  This focused approach has paid dividends for the Department, which just earned the No. 1 ranking spot based on funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2005, surpassing some of the nation’s top-rated research institutions including Yale University, Washington University, Thomas Jefferson Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania.  NIH’s 2006 rankings will likely show UR’s Orthopaedics Department outpacing the No. 2 program’s funding by several-fold.

As a measure of the Department’s national academic stature, URMC is the only academic medical center in the nation to have a member of its Orthopaedics faculty serve as a director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery for 40 consecutive years – first with C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., then Richard Burton, M.D., Rosier, and now Judy Baumhauer, M.D. 

Rosier also drove significant changes in the department’s clinical enterprise, overseeing the relocation of all orthopaedic and rehabilitation clinical services into one location at Clinton Crossings in 2001. Since that time, patient visits to the faculty orthopaedics practice have doubled, and full-time clinical faculty now number 36, offering every sub-specialty service available in orthopaedics. This success now serves as a model for many other Medical Center clinical services moving off-campus.

“Dr. Rosier ushered in the golden era for orthopaedics here at the Medical Center, with our clinical, research and education missions poised to reach new heights,” said Medical Center CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. “While we will miss his focused and insightful approach at the administrative level, this is the right moment for him to apply his leadership and scientific skills to burgeoning research.” 

According to Berk, no search will be necessary in the selection of Rosier’s successor.  Medical School Dean David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D. and he are already working through the process to appoint O’Keefe. 

“The long tradition of outstanding leaders in orthopaedics, which have included Dr. Evarts, Dr. Burton, and of course, Dr. Rosier, has created a culture of excellence in clinical care, research and teaching in the department,” Guzick said. “In a department infused with such talent, we did not have to look far or long to select Dr. O’Keefe to continue this legacy. With his research, clinical and academic experience, Regis has been courted to chair the finest Departments in the country. He is extraordinarily well suited to chair the department and I look forward to working with him.”

A member of the Department of Orthopaedics since 1993, O’Keefe maintains an active clinical orthopaedic practice, while directing the Center for Musculoskeletal Research.  As such, he oversees the research of 16 faculty and two dozen graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. O’Keefe’s NIH grant support has consistently placed him among the most highly funded orthopaedic surgeon-clinician scientists in the United States.

O’Keefe has and continues to serve in leadership positions with a number of national orthopaedic organizations including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, the United States Bone and Joint Decade, and the Skeletal Biology and Skeletal Regeneration Study Section for the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review.

His medical education and training includes a medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and residency and/or fellowships at Harvard, the New England Deaconess Hospital and the University of Rochester Medical Center.  He received a doctorate from the University of Rochester Department of Biochemistry as well.

“I am honored and humbled to head a department that has been served by some of orthopaedics’ most accomplished scientists and practitioners,” O’Keefe said. “I intend to maintain the level of excellence that has characterized our department’s activities for more than four decades.”

Distinguished University Professor Evarts said, “I had the privilege of recruiting Dr. O’Keefe as a resident and then watching his career blossom to become one of the country’s most talented orthopaedic physicians.  He brings great skills as a clinician, researcher and teacher to the post, and will follow in the footsteps of Dr. Rosier, who has created an environment that led to the department earning the number one rank in NIH funding.”

“When I turned over the reins of the Orthopaedic Department to Dr. Rosier in 2000, I knew I was leaving it in good hands, and he has compiled remarkable achievements in the department’s research, patient care and education areas,” said Burton, senior associate dean for Academic Affairs. “I commend Dr. Rosier for his accomplishments, and I look forward to seeing the department continue to expand and thrive under the leadership of Dr. O’Keefe.”  Burton, who chaired the Department while O’Keefe was a resident and was simultaneously working on his basic science thesis, says he has long been impressed by O’Keefe’s “energy, intellect, commitment, and his innate leadership ability.” 

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