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National Association Honors Evarts with Highest Honor

American Orthopaedic Association Recognizes Lifetime Contributions to Orthopaedics

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

C. McCollister Evarts, M.D.

One of orthopaedic’s highest honors, the AOA-Zimmer Award for Distinguished Contributions to Orthopaedics, was awarded June 21 to University of Rochester Medical Center CEO C. McCollister Evarts, M.D., at the American Orthopaedic Association’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

The award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding leadership in the advancement of the art and science of orthopaedics, as well as sustained and substantial contribution and leadership to orthopaedic surgery. The honor includes a $50,000 monetary award, which Evarts has pledged to the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s C. McCollister Evarts Merit Scholarship Fund.

“I am humbled and honored to be singled out for this prestigious award, joining the company of some of orthopaedics’ finest surgeons and researchers,” Evarts said.

Evarts’ distinguished career, including pioneering work as an orthopaedic surgeon, mentor, educator and strategic leader, all were factors in his selection.  To be considered for the award, nominees must have achieved pre-eminence in one or all of the following areas:  clinical, education and research.  In addition, nominees’ contributions must have changed the practice of orthopaedics worldwide. 

Evarts is credited with helping to introduce total hip replacement surgery to the United States and highlighting the prevention of thromboembolic disease in the musculoskeletal patient. A member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, he has held the top leadership post at two academic health centers, where he helped spur advancements in medical education, research, clinical care and community outreach. Author of over 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, Evarts is also the editor of the 5-volume textbook, Surgery of the Musculoskeletal System. He has served as president of the Association of Orthopaedic Chairmen, The Hip Society, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Association.

The AOA-Zimmer Award comes on the heels of a series of other national and local honors recently bestowed on Evarts. The Monroe County Medical Society recognized Evarts with the Edward Mott Moore Award, the highest award given by the Society to a physician in recognition of excellence in education, patient care, research and community service. The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and its Department of Surgery recently created a new professorship, the C. McCollister Evarts, M.D. Professor in Artificial Organs, to honor the works of Evarts. He also was recognized in the Physician Category of the Rochester Business Journal’s annual Healthcare Achievement Awards for making a significant impact on the quality of health care in the Greater Rochester area. 

Last year, the Rochester Academy of Medicine presented its highest honor, the Albert David Kaiser Medal, to Evarts in recognition of his long, distinguished career, the same year he became one of the few to ever twice win the John Charnley Award. This prestigious award is given by the Hip Society, an exclusive member organization comprised of leading orthopaedic surgeons who specialize in total hip arthroplasty.

Evarts began his medical career as a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and served his internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital. While in medical school, Evarts met his wife Nancy, who was a student at the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

During his 10 years at the Cleveland Clinic, Evarts headed the Orthopaedic residency program and ultimately served as chair of the Orthopaedics department.  It was during his tenure at Cleveland that Evarts traveled to England to spend time with Sir John Charnley, observing him as he performed hip arthroplasties, and eventually popularizing the surgery here in the U.S.

Evarts returned to Rochester in 1974 as chair of a newly created Department of Orthopaedics, and is credited for transforming that department into a national magnet for both research and clinical care.  Today, the department is routinely one of the top National Institutes of Health funded departments in the nation, and in 2004, held the number two spot.

In 1987, Evarts left Rochester to become CEO, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, and Dean of the College of Medicine at PennsylvaniaState University and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. At Hershey, Evarts guided the organization through a massive expansion in clinical, educational and research activity. He became a University Professor at Penn State in 2000. 

In 2003, Evarts returned again to Rochester to serve as a senior advisor to the Medical Center CEO. He was appointed to his current position in June of 2003.  A search is currently underway for his replacement.

But don’t count on him taking it easy.  As a Distinguished University Professor, Evarts plans to continue working at the Medical Center, helping to provide services to uninsured and underinsured orthopaedic patients, to help with the education of medical students and residents, to aid in technology transfer initiatives and to participate in development activities.

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Media Contact

Germaine Reinhardt

(585) 275-6517

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