Groups give it up for research and education

By Amy Kile

Institutions, hospitals, and physician groups ratchet up support for OREF

In 2008, physician groups, institutions, and hospitals contributed more than $800,000 to the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF).

Some groups sponsor an event, such as a golf outing, and donate the proceeds to OREF. Others allocate funds for philanthropic gifts. Most of these donations, however, come from individual donors who pool their contributions to give a more significant amount to OREF as a group.

Thomas P. Sculco, MD, HSS


Dr. John Bradway, MD


In 2007 and 2008, Leon S. Benson, MD, encouraged IBJI members to contribute to OREF’s Annual Campaign.


A 20-year tradition

The institutional giving program began more than 20 years ago, when David G. Murray, MD, then chair of the department of orthopaedic surgery at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University, decided that the entire department should contribute to OREF. Although the donation came from department funds, it was made in the names of the individual department members. Stephen A. Albanese, MD, current chair of the department of orthopaedic surgery at SUNY, has continued the tradition.

OREF recognizes each individual who makes a contribution as well as the physician group, institution, or hospital through which he or she gives. When 100 percent of the surgeons in an orthopaedic department make a contribution, the institution receives special recognition. OREF has received more than $6 million since the first institutional gift in 1995.

Physician groups join the campaign

Recently, donations from physician groups have helped increase institutional giving. For more than 10 years, the entire orthopaedic faculty at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), numbering nearly 80 members, has contributed to OREF at the Order of Merit level ($1,000 and above). Several staff members also give at the Shands level ($20,000 or more).

“The orthopaedic staff was amazingly supportive. We’re proud of our orthopaedic research, education, and treatment programs, so we felt we should step up and support an institution like OREF,” said Thomas P. Sculco, MD, HSS surgeon-in-chief.

HSS has contributed a total of $731,000 since 1997, including an $81,000 donation in 2008. With its contribution, HSS has chosen to provide 2 years of support for OREF grant recipient Shang-You Yang, MD, who is investigating osteolysis at Wayne State University.

“To improve the research, we’re willing to use our clinical revenue to support investigators at other institutions who are doing good work,” Dr. Sculco explained. “Research—be it basic science or clinical—is key to improving how we take care of patients and improving outcomes. That’s always been the cornerstone of HSS and OREF does a great job funding research and education, so we’ll always be supportive.”

Renewing its investment

In 2005, the Orthopaedic Surgeons Network of Arizona (OSNA) followed the example set by HSS by donating $100,000 to OREF’s Annual Campaign. With its fourth annual contribution in 2008, OSNA leads the way in group contributions, having given a total of $400,000 to fund research and education through OREF.

“OSNA orthopaedists and hand surgeons recognize that contributions to OREF are an investment in our future,” explained John K. Bradway, MD, cofounder and president of OSNA. “We have all been the beneficiaries of clinical and bench research through our training and practices—regardless of our specialty interest. Making a substantial contribution over continuous years to OREF allows for broad distribution of those funds to relevant projects throughout all specialties.”

Dr. Bradway hopes that OSNA’s contribution will encourage other physician groups to give at the same level.

“We believe group efforts such as ours will allow the continuation of this vital work,” Dr. Bradway said. “At the same time, we recognize that such six-figure contributions attract attention, and with that notoriety, we hope to inspire our colleagues to make similar or even higher donations. The best news we can receive is that a group of physicians has actually beat our donation level one of these years!”

Following the example

Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (IBJI) gave to OREF as a group for the first time in 2007 and made a $62,250 gift in 2008. The second annual commitment was led by Leon S. Benson, MD, IBJI member and professor of clinical orthopaedics at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who has been encouraging IBJI members to contribute to OREF’s Annual Campaign.

“My attitude is that everybody in our organization should give, not because it’s our philanthropic duty, but because it’s our corporate philosophy—that one of the things we do as an organization is give to OREF,” Dr. Benson said. “You don’t just take care of patients by providing them services, you give back to your community. There are a variety of ways to do that: by teaching, by researching, and by supporting OREF.

“OREF is not just an organization that does some nice things for our patients. It is the single organization that has the most positive impact on our specialty,” said Dr. Benson.

OREF thanks all physician groups, institutions, departments, and hospitals that made contributions in 2008. For a complete list, visit the OREF exhibit in the Venetian Foyer East on Level 2—just outside Academy Hall/Registration. Or contact Ed Hoover at (847) 384-4354 or

Amy Kile, OREF publications manager, can be reached at