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Puzas Leads National Effort to Improve Americans’ Bone and Muscle Health

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

J. Edward Puzas, Ph.D., Donald and Mary Clark Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), recently took over the helm of an organization that is leading a decade-long effort to improve research, public awareness and treatment of bone and joint disorders. Puzas will serve as president of the United States Bone and Joint Decade (USBJD) through 2009. 

For more than 35 million Americans – that is one in seven people – mobility is restricted by a musculoskeletal disorder - arthritis, back pain, fracture, osteoporosis, or sports trauma. Those numbers are projected to increase sharply due to the predicted doubling of the number of people over 50 by the year 2020.  The USBJD aims to help with this issue by coalescing resources to increase public awareness of the growing financial burden of musculoskeletal conditions, to improve patient education, to increase resources for research, and to improve diagnosis and treatment. 

Puzas has been involved with the USBJD since it was officially launched in 2001, when he served on its board.  In 2002, he co-chaired the USBJD Research Committee, and has been its chair since June 2003. He also has served as secretary of the USBJD since 2003. As its president, Puzas will build upon and expand USBJD activities including a wide range of consumer education programs on conditions that affect all ages; revising musculoskeletal curriculums for U.S. medical schools; and funding to support promising efforts by young researchers. 

Puzas has been involved in basic and clinical research related to musculoskeletal diseases for the past 25 years, and has been a key player in helping URMC’s Department of Orthopaedics rank first nationally in the amount of funding attracted from the National Institutes of Health. His major areas of interests are the functioning of bone and cartilage cells in diseases such as osteoporosis, pathologic fracture healing, environmental toxin exposure and its role in skeletal metabolism and the mechanism of cancer cell metastasis to bone. He is a past president of the Orthopaedic Research Society, and has approximately 200 publications in peer reviewed medical literature and in medical text books.

Puzas’ touch reaches far beyond Rochester.  He has trained and mentored dozens of graduate and medical students, who have gone on to senior positions in academia, government and industry.  And he has provided consultation services to the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, the Howard Hughes Foundation and a number of societies. He has also won the Kroc Foundation and Kappa Delta Award prizes for outstanding research in the musculoskeletal field.

He received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts, and earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in Radiation Biology and Biophysics from the University of Rochester.  His postdoctoral training was at Yale University in the field of endocrinology.  Since 1978, he has held positions at the University of Washington in Seattle, and OxfordUniversity in England.  In addition to his appointment in the Department of Orthopaedics at URMC, he is also recognized with secondary appointments as professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Oncology and Biomedical Engineering.

Musculoskeletal Conditions in the U.S.

Diseases of the bones and joints have an enormous impact on society, affecting people of all ages, from young children suffering with disabilities, to older adults experiencing osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.  In the United States musculoskeletal conditions rank first among diseases using measures of disability, visits to physicians offices, and among impairments.
In the United States:

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