UR Medical Center CEO Wins Prestigious Charnley Award

March 31, 2005

C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., CEO, University of Rochester Medical Center and Strong Health

C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., who helped introduce total hip replacement surgery in the United States, recently received the prestigious John Charnley Award, the second time the honor has been bestowed on the current CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and Strong Health. Evarts and four other orthopedists were recognized for their work in helping to research, develop and document proven methods for preventing blood clots, a potentially fatal complication that can arise after hip replacement surgery.

Given by the Hip Society, an exclusive member organization comprised of leading orthopaedic surgeons who specialize in total hip arthroplasty, the award is named after England’s Sir John Charnley, inventor of the Charnley artificial hip.  The award is given each year to author(s) of a publication that outline important clinical or basic research that advances the management of hip disorders.

According to Evarts, as hip surgery was becoming more commonplace, it became apparent that close to half of all patients undergoing hip surgery were at risk of developing a blood clot, and up to three percent of them might die from a pulmonary embolism. This discovery set into motion decades of research to develop best practices in the management of these venous thromboembolisms, or blood clots. Interestingly, Evarts himself has benefited from his research, after undergoing hip arthroplasty in 2003. 

Evarts began his medical career as a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, before serving his internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital. In 1964, he joined the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and, over the next decade, headed that institution's Orthopaedic residency training program, and ultimately served as chair of its department of Orthopaedics.  It was during his tenure at Cleveland when Evarts traveled to England to spend time training with Sir John Charnley, observing him as he performed hip arthroplasties. 

Evarts returned to the University of Rochester Medical Center in 1974 as chair of Orthopaedics, where he is credited with transforming the Medical Center's Orthopaedics department into a national hub for research and clinical care.  In 1987, Evarts was recruited to serve as chief executive officer, senior vice president for Health Affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University and The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. While at Hershey, Evarts was named to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.  He retired from Hershey in 2000, and moved back to Rochester in 2002, where he served as a senior advisor until tapped to lead the Medical Center in 2003.

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