Dedication to James H. Herndon, MD.
Richard H. Gelberman, MD - St Louis, Missouri

On the morning of February 7, 2003, James H. Herndon gave his Presidential address before the largest and most influential orthopaedic surgery organization in the world. Reflected in his comments that morning, and in his subsequent efforts, the goal was clear, to chart the course of that organization in a new direction. "The truth is that the orthopaedic surgery being practiced in this country is the finest in the world. The truth is that our medical school faculty and residency faculty teach the best medical and surgical practices in the world. The whole truth, and the painful truth, is that we can and we must do better to serve our patients, our colleagues, and our profession." Over the next year, Dr. Herndon embarked on a mission that resembled, in some ways, other missions he had undertaken during his career. His overall goal was similar to his previous ones---to raise the standard—to improve the way in which orthopaedic surgery is practiced. His unusual tenacity for achieving that goal can be traced back to his roots.

Born in Los Angeles, California, on October 31, 1938, James H. Herndon was raised and received his early education in Southern California. He attended Notre Dame High School, a private Catholic school for boys in Sherman Oaks and then attended Loyola University of Los Angeles, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1961. The priests at both institutions had a remarkably strong influence on Jim, encouraging him to work hard and to excel. Jim attended the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, where he was awarded the Michael Carey and Edith and Carl Laskey Memorial Awards for exceptional achievement in 1964 and 1965. Based on encouragement from the Dean to travel east to complete his studies, Jim undertook a rotating internship and a year of general surgery training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he entered the orthopaedic surgery residency at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Training Program, graduating in 1970. From 1971 to 1973, he served in the military at the Valley Forge General Hospital as chief of the amputee service and of the orthopaedic clinic. Rising to the highest level of leadership would become a recurring theme in Jim's career. After a fellowship in hand surgery at the Roosevelt Hospital with Dr. J. William Littler in 1973, Jim entered a practice of orthopaedic surgery in Grand Rapids Michigan at the Blodgett Memorial Hospital. Shortly thereafter, he became Assistant Director of the Orthopaedic Residency Program and, in 1977, became head of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery.

In 1978, Jim was recruited to the Rhode Island Hospital to become the orthopaedic surgeon-in-chief. Quickly, he undertook the challenge of developing an academic program at Brown by introducing a broad range of innovative offerings. He began early morning emergency room teaching rounds, a program that continues to this day. He developed the orthopaedic pathology teaching program, he initiated the first medical student rotation on orthopaedics and he built a superior faculty by recruiting effectively from around the country. Ultimately, he became known throughout the institution as "TBG," –THE BIG GUY. Rumor has it that resi-dents always knew where he was by sensing the fragrance of his Polo cologne. In fact, if the scent of Polo was noted on an elevator, the residents became fearful that Dr. Herndon had reached the floor for rounds ahead of them. In the end, Dr. Herndon converted a hospital-based practice at the Rhode Island Hospital into a well-integrated and highly regarded university program. In the words of one faculty member, "Dr. Herndon brought Brown from the minor leagues into the major leagues in every possible way."

In 1990, while at Brown, Jim undertook and completed a Masters Degree in Business Administration and Healthcare Management at Boston University. The knowledge and skills that he gained from the MBA program, combined with his natural talents, would prove to be of enormous benefit to Jim throughout his career.

In 1988, Jim was recruited to the University of Pittsburgh as the David Silver Professor and Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Jim's goal at Pittsburgh was clear from the start, to develop one of the finest orthopaedic departments in the country. He pursued this mission in a systematic fashion by developing and expanding the research laboratories, by assembling an exceptional, nationally recognized faculty, by recruiting and selecting the highest caliber residents, and by supporting the most productive of his faculty with the development of flagship post-graduate fellowship programs. In the words of one faculty member, "It was clear what Jim's expectations were—he expected the highest levels of achievement from himself and from you. You felt as if you were part of the process, as a faculty member you had a sense of ownership. He laid the issues out and then encouraged you to give your opinions."

Jim left the University of Pittsburgh to become the Partners Healthcare Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1998. In 2001, he was awarded the first William H. and Joanna A. Harris Professorship of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard. While Jim's goal of unify-ing the orthopaedic clinical and research programs at Harvard would not be realized fully, his impact on the program, in education, research and clinical care, was substantial. He expanded existing clinical programs, such as the Shoulder and Elbow Service at the MGH, and introduced rigorous new programs, such as the Trauma Service under Dr. Vrahas' leadership. Educational programs were enhanced and resident performance, as evidenced by markedly improved in-training-examination scores, excelled similarly. The research program reached a new level of excellence, and clinical productivity saw phenomenal growth.

Whether serving as President of the ABOS, the AOA, or the Academy, or fulfilling the role of educator, clinician, or researcher, Jim Herndon has always taken the high road—pursuing the greatest levels of achievement personally, and encouraging and empow-ering those around him to do the same. It is most appropriate that this issue of the Harvard Orthopaedic Journal be dedicated to Jim Herndon—and to his life-long goal, "...we can and we must do better to serve our patients, our colleagues, and our profession."

OJHMS Home • Instructions to Authors • Letter from the Editor • Advertisers Info • Dedication • Manuscripts

The Orthopaedic Journal at Harvard Medical School is an annual publication
of the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program. Copies are distributed
free of charge and the entire volume can be viewed here on our website.

To add your name to our mailing list and for any other correspondence please contact us at:

The Orthopaedic Journal at Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts General Hospital, White 535,   •   55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114
e-mail:    •    phone: 617-726-2942    •    fax: 617-726-3124

Copyright © Orthopaedic Journal at Harvard Medical School. All rights reserved.

Hosted by: Web Results Inc.