R. Richard Coughlin, MD, MPH

Orthopedic surgeon

Dr. R. Richard Coughlin is a specialist in foot and ankle reconstruction, orthopedic trauma, and global orthopedics and volunteerism.

Coughlin received his medical degree from University De Caribe in Cayey, Puerto Rico. He completed a general surgery residency at St. Clare's Hospital and an orthopedic residency at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York. He also completed two fellowships, one in sports medicine and one in foot and ankle surgery. He is a member of the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society. He is a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at UCSF.

Coughlin practiced with California Pacific Orthopaedics for six years. At the same time he maintained a clinical appointment at UCSF, treating patients at UCSF's Foot and Ankle Clinic. He joined UCSF full-time in 1993.

Coughlin has a passion for global orthopedics, and has made more than 30 trips to developing countries to lecture and perform surgery. He is chairman emeritus of Orthopedics Overseas. He is proud to have implemented an overseas rotation for his senior residents at Bedford Orthopaedic Hospital in South Africa. He has written several articles advocating volunteerism in orthopedics.

In 2006, Coughlin was awarded the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' "Humanitarian of the Year" award, which is given to one surgeon worldwide each year, for care of disadvantaged populations both at home and abroad. Also in 2006, Coughlin founded the Institute for Global Orthopedics and Traumatology, an initiative developed within UCSF's Department of Orthopedics.


Foot and Ankle Service
1500 Owens St.
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353–2808
Fax: (415) 885–3862

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Board Certification

Orthopaedic Surgery, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Academic Title


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University De Caribe, Puerto Rico 1981


St. Clare's Hospital, General Surgery
St. Vincent's Hospital, Orthopedics 1986

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Coughlin RR, Roy N, Patel V. Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Coincidental Involvement in the Gujarat Earthquake, India (2001). J Orthop Trauma. 2015 Oct; 29 Suppl 10:S11-3.
  2. Elliott IS, Sonshine DB, Akhavan S, Slade Shantz A, Caldwell A, Slade Shantz J, Gosselin RA, Coughlin RR. What factors influence the production of orthopaedic research in East Africa? A qualitative analysis of interviews. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2015 Jun; 473(6):2120-30.
  3. Elliott IS, Spiegel D, Gosselin RA, Trafton PG, Coughlin RR. Volunteer opportunities for orthopaedic surgeons in the developing world. Instr Course Lect. 2014; 63:495-503.
  4. Matityahu A, Elliott I, Marmor M, Caldwell A, Coughlin R, Gosselin RA. Time intervals in the treatment of fractured femurs as indicators of the quality of trauma systems. Bull World Health Organ. 2014 Jan 01; 92(1):40-50.
  5. Morshed S, Shearer DW, Coughlin RR. Collaborative partnerships and the future of global orthopaedics. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013 Oct; 471(10):3088-92.
  6. Sonshine DB, Shantz J, Kumah-Ametepey R, Coughlin RR, Gosselin RA. The implementation of a pilot femur fracture registry at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital: an analysis of data quality and barriers to collaborative capacity-building. World J Surg. 2013 Jul; 37(7):1506-12.
  7. Sonshine DB, Sonshine D, Caldwell A, Gosselin RA, Born CT, Coughlin RR. Reply to letter to the editor: Critically assessing the Haiti earthquake response and the barriers to quality orthopaedic care. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013 Feb; 471(2):692-3.
  8. Chen AT, Pedtke A, Kobs JK, Edwards GS, Coughlin RR, Gosselin RA. Volunteer orthopedic surgical trips in Nicaragua: a cost-effectiveness evaluation. World J Surg. 2012 Dec; 36(12):2802-8.
  9. Sonshine DB, Caldwell A, Gosselin RA, Born CT, Coughlin RR. Critically assessing the Haiti earthquake response and the barriers to quality orthopaedic care. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2012 Oct; 470(10):2895-904.
  10. Disston AR, Martinez-Diaz GJ, Raju S, Rosales M, Berry WC, Coughlin RR. The international orthopaedic health elective at the University of California at San Francisco: the eight-year experience. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2009 Dec; 91(12):2999-3004.
  11. Gosselin RA, Spiegel DA, Coughlin R, Zirkle LG. Injuries: the neglected burden in developing countries. Bull World Health Organ. 2009 Apr; 87(4):246-246a.
  12. Spiegel DA, Gosselin RA, Coughlin RR, Kushner AL, Bickler SB. Topics in global public health. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008 Oct; 466(10):2377-84.
  13. Coughlin RR, Kelly NA, Berry W. Nongovernmental organizations in musculoskeletal care: Orthopaedics Overseas. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008 Oct; 466(10):2438-42.
  14. Spiegel DA, Gosselin RA, Coughlin RR, Joshipura M, Browner BD, Dormans JP. The burden of musculoskeletal injury in low and middle-income countries: challenges and opportunities. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008 Apr; 90(4):915-23.
  15. Roy N, Shah H, Patel V, Coughlin RR. The Gujarat earthquake (2001) experience in a seismically unprepared area: community hospital medical response. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2002 Oct-Dec; 17(4):186-95.
  16. Haskell A, Rovinsky D, Brown HK, Coughlin RR. The University of California at San Francisco international orthopaedic elective. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2002 Mar; (396):12-8.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.