Celebrating 60 years of Funding Research

By: Karen Pubentz

OREF marks a milestone in its support of new investigators and orthopaedic research

The Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) marked its 60th anniversary in September, kicking off a celebration that will culminate with a number of special events in Orlando during the 2016 AAOS Annual Meeting. During its 60-year history, OREF has provided more than $143 million in funding to more than 4,700 individuals and institutions—funding that has enabled thousands of orthopaedic surgeons to pursue a professional research career.


From the beginning, OREF has been dedicated to advancing the field of orthopaedics. In addition to funding research, the organization was founded with the commitment to help orthopaedics achieve the same degree of scientific rigor and scholarship—and garner the same respect from government and private funding sources—as other areas of medicine. OREF’s efforts would enable its stakeholders to compete with other physicians for research dollars and opportunities. With these goals as its mission, the organization was officially incorporated on Sept. 3, 1955.

Today, OREF continues to live out its mission of advancing excellence in orthopaedics by nurturing and supporting orthopaedic researchers. With improvements in quality of life and longevity made possible by research in other areas of medicine, it is now more important than ever for orthopaedists to lead the way in ensuring that patients enjoy optimal musculoskeletal function and mobility throughout their lives. As Alfred R. Shands Jr, MD, one of OREF’s founders and its first president, stated in OREF’s first Annual Report, “Vitality and strength in any field of medicine can be directly measured by its activity in research and education. Progress cannot be made without sound programs of investigation, good teaching of the student, and adequate training of the resident.”

The organization has updated its mission to meet new challenges in the 60 years since its founding, but OREF’s activities continue to reflect its founders’ goals and principles. That it has grown more successful with each passing year in its ability to fund research is testament to OREF’s immense value to the practice of orthopaedics, as well as to the vision and foresight of its founders and the orthopaedic surgeons whose faithful support sustains it today.

Karen Pubentz, OREF senior director of marketing communications, may be reached at pubentz@oref.org