Medical School Names Former Orthopaedics Chair as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

February 07, 2003

The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry has tapped a nationally renowned hand surgeon to serve as its Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Richard Burton, M.D., who is credited with building the University of Rochester Medical Center’s orthopaedics department into one of the country’s top five orthopaedics research programs in federal funding, has accepted the senior dean post.

A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Medical School, Burton received two years of general surgical training at Strong Memorial Hospital before serving two years in the United States Air Force, assigned to the Strategic Air Command. After Honorable Discharge, he completed his orthopaedic residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, Peter Bent Brigham, and Boston Children’s hospitals. Following a fellowship in hand surgery, Burton joined the Cleveland Clinic to direct its Hand Surgery program. He was recruited to the University of Rochester in 1974.

In 1988, Burton was named chair and Wehle Professor of Orthopaedics, and served until he retired in 2000. After a brief retirement, he returned to the Medical Center to serve as acting chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Burton has a profound interest in both clinical and basic science research. He led the team of orthopedists that developed a breakthrough surgery for patients with a common type of arthritis of the thumb. This operation, known internationally as the “Burton procedure,” is now recognized as the gold standard therapy for this condition. Nationally, Burton is in demand to perform the procedure including on many well-known people from around the country.

Because of his national recognition in hand surgery, Burton has served as president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the oldest and largest organization of hand surgeons in the world. For ten years, he was the Director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, with responsibility for overseeing national certification exams in Hand Surgery for orthopaedic, plastic and general surgeons. As a member of the American Orthopaedic Association, he has been involved in the Planning and Development, Ethics, and Executive Committees.

Burton resides in Pittsford, New York with his wife Peggy. The couple has two grown sons.

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