UCSF Names New Chair Of Orthopedic Surgery

October 19, 2006
News Office: Vanessa deGier

Dr. Thomas Parker Vail of Duke University has been named chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in the UCSF School of Medicine. He will assume his new post in January 2007.

As chair, Vail will oversee all of the department's clinical, research and education activities. He will work with both School of Medicine and UCSF Medical Center leadership to develop a new Orthopedics Institute that will increase the department's clinical capacity while integrating related research and training activities.

"A strong musculoskeletal and reconstructive surgery program is one of the most important priorities at UCSF, and I am pleased that we have recruited a world class leader to what is already a world class department," said Dr. David Kessler, vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the UCSF School of Medicine.

One of the nation's top orthopedic surgeons, Vail is currently a professor of orthopedic surgery at Duke University and director of adult reconstructive surgery at Duke University Medical Center. He is also medical director of the Musculoskeletal Clinical Service Unit for the Duke University Health System and a member of the graduate faculty at the Trinity School of Arts and Sciences.

Also a clinical scientist, Vail's research has focused on innovative bone implant techniques, clinical outcomes to assess devices used in adult bone reconstruction, and repair and replacement of cartilage.

"The planned Orthopedics Institute will change the nature of orthopedic surgery at UCSF," said Mark Laret, CEO of the UCSF Medical Center, "and I believe we have absolutely the best person in the country to build it."

After graduating from the Duke School of Engineering cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering and materials science in 1981, Vail attended the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University, Chicago, where he earned a medical degree in 1985. He did his internship, residency and fellowships in orthopedic surgery at Duke. He joined the faculty of Duke University Medical Center in 1992 as assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Orthopedic Surgery. He was promoted to associate professor in 1998 and professor in 2005.

In addition to his extensive work at Duke, Vail has been a national leader in orthopedics, serving on numerous professional committees and inducted into various scholarly societies, including the Knee Society, the Hip Society, the Association of Arthritic Hip and Knee Surgeons, the American Orthopedic Association, and the Interurban Orthopedic Society.

"I realize I am joining a department that is already really strong, so this is an opportunity to expand research and focus on care delivery and excellence," said Vail. "I am delighted and honored to be joining the faculty at UCSF."

Vail's annual compensation will be $780,000, funded by a combination of sources including state funds, clinical revenue and allocations from the UCSF Medical Center and School of Medicine.

UCSF is a leading university that advances health worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences and health professions, and providing complex patient care.

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