Research support leads to better care

By: Gene R.Wurth

By Gene R.Wurth


The impact of orthopaedic medicine is more apparent every day. Pee-wee to well-past-60 athletes, globe trotters of all ages, extreme sports enthusiasts, and ever-growing numbers of active elders are relying more and more on the ability of orthopaedic surgeons to keep them going strong.

Research OREF is funding today, such as postoperative clinical studies of anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions that predict potential failure and that could lead to ways to prevent such failure, promises further advancements for orthopaedic practice and patients.

Thanks to research and education, the ways in which orthopaedics can improve patients’ lives—at every stage of life—are proliferating and increasing in sophistication. Thanks to our many individual and corporate donors, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Fund (OREF) had another successful year in 2007, raising more than $17.5 million in total support. This includes cash gifts and deferred gift arrangements, as well as gifts to OREF and gifts made through OREF to our many partner organizations. It also includes nearly $5.8 million from more than 50 corporate contributors and $9.1 million in both cash and deferred gifts for the OREF endowment. The endowment is now valued at more than $27.8 million in cash and more than $42.2 million in planned gift arrangements.

This fundraising success allowed OREF Trustees to award $2.8 million in grants and awards for project year 2008. Since it was founded in 1955, OREF has awarded approximately 3,200 research grants and educational awards totaling nearly $88 million.

In addition to donations made directly to OREF for its use, about $750,000 in individual gifts and $2.6 million in corporate donations were designated for our orthopaedic partners. In total, OREF and its partners will award $6 million in research and educational grants this year.

The list of those who have supported OREF through the years is long and continues to grow rapidly. The roster of those researchers whose careers OREF support helped launched is significant, and the number of orthopaedists who have continued on to leadership positions within the specialty after receiving an OREF grant is noteworthy.

In the early 1950s, several visionary orthopaedic surgeons, at the urging of Alfred R. Shands Jr., MD, determined that the specialty of orthopaedic medicine was changing so dramatically in scope and speed that it needed a new, more scientific basis to address its evolution. What had begun as a technical, almost mechanical, discipline was rapidly becoming complex and more valued. These factors led to the formation of OREF.

Since then, OREF has laid a solid foundation for the benefit of clinicians, researchers, and patients. With the help of its donors and continued effort and vision, OREF can do even greater things in the years ahead.

Gene R. Wurth is President/CEO of OREF. He can be reached