HTML Fulltext

Richard H. Rothman MD, PhD

Alisina Shahi MD, Javad Parvizi MD, FRCS

Rothman Institute, PA, USA

Vol 2, Num 2, April 2015




    Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness on sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.

    Here at the JBS Journal, we have decided to acknowledge their efforts and in every issue, we will provide you with a brief introduction of one of the great scientists who have contributed to the “Science of Joint and Bone”.




    Dr. Richard H. Rothman was born on December 1, 1936, in Philadelphia; he received his B.A. degree (History) at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.D. in its School of Medicine in 1962. After his internship period at the Philadelphia General Hospital (1963), he started his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University under Dr. Anthony F. DePalma (1963-1968), meanwhile; he worked on his thesis and received his PhD in Anatomy from Jefferson in 1965. He then started his carrier as an Attending Staff of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and in 1970 became the Director of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Pennsylvania Hospital. As a faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, he rose to full professorship in a short period. He is the founder of Rothman Institute, which was at the Pennsylvania Hospital, in 1984. He then became Chairman of the Department of orthopaedic surgery at Thomas Jefferson University on January 1, 1986.

    Dr. Rothman life is full of astonishing pages: Director of the Orthopaedic Research Laboratory of Jefferson Medical College (1969-1970); Vice President of the Philadelphia Orthopaedic Society (1973); Executive Committee, International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine (1974-1976); President, Jefferson Orthopaedic Society (1976); President, Jefferson Cervical Research Society (1977); Board of Directors of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Examiner, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery; President, Professional Staff of Pennsylvania Hospital (1986); Board Member, Annenberg Institute; Overseer, College of Arts and Sciences of University of Pennsylvania; and Associate Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania.

    Dr. Rothman has published more than 200 scientific articles and has written more than 14 textbooks. His textbook on the disorders of the spine, which he wrote with Dr Simone, is still the most luminary text on the subject. His basic science research training and experience were focused on the study of degenerative changes in connective tissue and joints. He investigated the association of these changes to blood flow in bone, tendon, and articular cartilage with aging and osteoarthritis. In the field of clinical research his major emphasis has been on the study of degenerative diseases of the spine, hip, and knee.

    In his mid-70's, Dr. Rothman is still practicing orthopaedic surgery, doing over 800 joint reconstructions at the Rothman institute. The institution that was founded by him is now the world's premier orthopaedic centers in patient care and clinical research, with 21 clinics, 5 surgicenters, and two wholly owned hospitals. Last year the institution provided medical service to over 500,000 patients and performed 31,000 procedures.

    His contributions to orthopaedic science have led to immense advances in this field and he truly is an orthopaedic legend.

    Alisina Shahi MD
    Postdoctrate Orthopaedic Research Fellow, Rothman Institute, Philadelphia, USA


    Javad Parvizi MD, FRCS
    James Edwards Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
    Vice Chairman of Research, Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, USA