January 22, 2015

Pediatric Orthopaedics icon Green’s contributions honored

Neil Green, M.D., former director and chief of the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, has retired after 38 years of service to Vanderbilt.

Neil Green, M.D., left, shares a laugh with Gregory Mencio, M.D., at a recent gathering honoring Green’s 38 years of service to Vanderbilt. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Neil Green, M.D., former director and chief of the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, has retired after 38 years of service to Vanderbilt.

Friends and colleagues celebrated Green’s storied career and accomplishments at a gathering on Thursday, Jan. 15, in the Children’s Hospital theater.

“Neil Green is the consummate academic orthopaedic surgeon, an outstanding diagnostician, surgeon, mentor and leader,” said Gregory Mencio, M.D., director of Pediatric Orthopaedics at Children’s Hospital and vice chair of the Department of Orthopaedics.

“He has had a profound impact at Vanderbilt that extends beyond the Department of Orthopaedics and has been a recognized leader in pediatric orthopaedics nationally and internationally. Over the past 24 years, he has also been a terrific partner, mentor and friend to me. He retires with the gratitude of so many patients, the legacy of his residents and fellows and the respect of his peers and associates. We will miss him.”

Green joined Vanderbilt in 1976 as an assistant professor in the Department of Ortho-paedics and Rehabilitation, and quickly rose through the ranks. He served as vice chair of the department for 11 years, and was director of Pediatric Orthopaedics from 1981 until 2006, when he passed the post on to Mencio.

Since, he has remained on faculty as a professor of Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation and associate professor of Pediatrics.

“I have seen a marked transformation in Children’s Hospital since I began my career at Vanderbilt,” Green said. “In the beginning there was a Children’s Hospital in name, which was part of the main hospital. With the help of Drs. Ian Burr and Jim O’Neill we were able to create what is one of the best children’s hospitals in the country.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, Green went on to earn a medical degree from Albany Medical College. He did his internship and residencies in general and orthopaedic surgeries at Duke University Medical Center.

Throughout his career, Green authored and co-authored more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, and gave more than 200 presentations and guest lectures in the United States and across the world. He has also been a visiting professor at various institutions, including a visiting professor in residence in Paris.

Through his research and work, Green left an indelible mark on orthopaedics and treatments for children. He helped change the way orthopaedic surgeons cared for pediatric patients with femur and forearm fractures. In addition, his research on bracing for children with scoliosis (an abnormal curving of the spine) helped introduce part-time bracing as an effective treatment for the condition.

“I am truly honored and privileged to have been able to work with Neil. He has touched the lives of the many patients and families he served as well as helped train and mentor countless pediatric orthopaedic physicians and surgeons to do the same,” said John W. Brock III, surgeon-in-chief, director of the Division of Urology and Monroe Carell Jr. Professor.

“He is a terrific leader and great friend. His stellar career and contributions to the field of orthopaedics will have a lasting impact on Children’s Hospital, Vanderbilt and the orthopaedics community.”

Over the years, Green has served as president of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Southern Orthopaedic Association, the Tennessee Orthopaedics Society, and the Nashville Orthopaedic Society, among others.