August 30, 2018

Schwartz steps down as Orthopaedics chair

After serving as the department’s leader for nine years, Herbert S. Schwartz, MD, Dan M. Spengler Professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, has stepped down from his role as chair, effective Aug. 28. John E. Kuhn, MD, Kenneth Schermerhorn Professor, will serve as interim chair of the department while a national search is conducted to identify a new chair. Schwartz will remain on faculty and continue to lead the department’s program in Orthopaedic Oncology.

Herbert S. Schwartz

Schwartz was named chair in 2009 and has led the department through a period of impressive growth.

The department is currently home to 42 full-time faculty, 25 residents and nine orthopaedic fellows. In addition, the department is home to five nurse practitioners and six physician assistants. Ten orthopaedic surgeons from the Nashville area serve on the department’s clinical faculty while more than 40 therapist clinicians complement the department’s clinical enterprise.

“During his tenure as chair, Dr. Schwartz was effective in expanding the department’s scope and reach. Herb has fostered an environment where faculty collaborate to provide outstanding care and pursue innovative research initiatives that are yielding new discoveries and treatments for traumatic injuries and serious musculoskeletal diseases affecting people at all stages of life,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Herb for his many contributions and look forward to continuing to work with him as we advance the Medical Center’s priorities.”

The department’s faculty are nationally recognized for innovative research across the continuum of orthopaedic conditions and diseases. New studies announced this year include tracking the possible impact psychological intervention may have on high-performance athletes who suffer anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and their ability to return to sports; a Department of Defense-funded study examining when soldiers who suffer serious ankle and knee injuries are best able to return to weight-bearing activity; and a study examining strategies for reducing opioid use among chronic pain patients. Faculty members are also, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, leading major, longitudinal research initiatives such as the Multicenter Orthopaedic Outcomes Network (MOON) and Multicenter ACL Revision Study (MARS).

“As Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation has increased in stature, Dr. Schwartz has continued to focus on the vital role the department plays in our community and across Middle Tennessee. New services have been created and our programs in Sports Medicine are elevated, fulfilling the important responsibility of caring for athletes of all ages, whether they are amateurs or at the highest levels of professional performance. This is a point of pride for the Medical Center and is possible through expertise that is only available here. We owe Herb our gratitude for guiding the department through this period of significant growth and change,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer, VUMC.

The department’s faculty serve as highly visible team physicians and institutional ambassadors for the Nashville Predators, Nashville Sounds, Vanderbilt University Athletics, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) and Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Through its ongoing commitment to fostering safe environments for youth sports, the department has helped develop and implement unique programs such as Safe Stars, the nation’s first statewide rating system for all types of youth sports leagues. The department’s faculty also routinely host or support conferences on youth sports safety along with educational events and conferences for continuing medical education of residents, fellows, faculty, alumni, physical therapists, occupational therapists and athletic trainers.

The search for Schwartz’s successor will be chaired by Reid Thompson, MD, William F. Meacham Professor and chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. Other members of the search committee include: Ronald Alvarez, MD, MBA; John W. Brock III, MD; Andre Churchwell, MD; Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN; Mitch Edgeworth, MBA; Lisa Kachnic, MD; Seth Karp, MD; David J. Kennedy, MD; Richard Miller, MD; Reed Omary, MD; Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD; Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD, and Consuelo Wilkins, MD.