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Rick W. Wright, MD, joins Vanderbilt University Medical Center as chair of Orthopaedic Surgery

Jun. 11, 2019, 11:21 AM


by John Howser

Rick W. Wright, MD

Rick W. Wright, MD, one of the nation’s leading orthopaedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists, has been named chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He will join the faculty Sept. 1.

Wright comes to VUMC from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where he is the Jerome J. Gilden Distinguished Professor and executive vice chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is also head team physician for the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues, who are currently battling the Boston Bruins in this year’s Stanley Cup finals.

At Washington University Wright also serves as director of the Orthopaedic Clinical Research Center. His research interests include knee ligament healing and clinical problems involving the shoulder. He is a founding member of MOON (the Multi-center Orthopaedic Outcomes Network) which is a multi-center sports medicine group studying ACL and shoulder injuries through a prospective database. He is also principal investigator and Washington University is the coordinating center for the MARS Project (the Multi-center ACL Revision Study), which currently includes 1,200 patient subjects. Vanderbilt is also a trial site for both the MOON and MARS.

The search to identify Wright was chaired by Reid Thompson, MD, the William F. Meacham Professor and chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. Other members of the search committee included: Ronald Alvarez, MD, MBA; John W. Brock III, MD; Andre Churchwell, MD; Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN; 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.

“We are delighted that Dr. Wright will be leading one of our most visible and distinguished clinical departments. He brings extensive experience, along with an exciting vision for the future of our programs in orthopaedics and sports medicine. I look forward to working closely with Rick as we continue to shape and grow the department’s clinical, research and training programs, building on their national prominence,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer for VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Dr. Jed Kuhn for his outstanding guidance as the department’s interim chair, and to Dr. Thompson and the other members of the search committee for their steadfast work to identify Dr. Wright.”

At Vanderbilt, Wright will lead a nationally ranked department that is currently home to more than 40 full-time faculty working alongside a robust and distinguished cohort of residents, fellows, clinicians and therapists. The department is internationally recognized for its superb training programs and innovative research across the continuum of orthopaedic conditions and diseases.

“Dr. Wright is joining us at a time when our programs in orthopaedics are poised for significant growth. We offer an array of unique services for children and adults that are vitally important given the diversity of injuries and diseases we need to be able to treat. I want to welcome him to our clinical leadership team and look forward to working with him as we continue to expand the depth and breadth of these offerings to serve the citizens of Tennessee and the surrounding region,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

At Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Wright has advanced through increasing responsibilities to his current role as department executive vice chairman. He also serves as associate medical director of The Faculty Practice Plan, Washington University Physicians, for the Washington University School of Medicine.

Wright is the current president of the American Orthopaedic Association and is also president-elect of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is a frequently invited lecturer, presenting on a diverse range of orthopaedic-related topics, and is the author or co-author of more than 270 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and abstracts.

Wright earned both a Bachelor of Science and medical degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He completed his internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at VUMC, and then completed a fellowship in sports medicine with the Minneapolis Sports Medicine Center.

“My wife Lana and I are thrilled at the chance to return to VUMC and Nashville where we began our family and started my orthopaedic training. I am eager to begin the work of leading the department and building upon its long history of outstanding patient care, education and research,” Wright said.

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