About | Emory School of Medicine (2024)

Going Off Campus

In 1991, The Emory Sports & Spine Center, became the Emory Clinic's first off-campus location and began two decades of exponential growth and focus on improved customer service and access for patients and their families.

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Spine Center

In 1994, Dr. Scott D. Boden became the first Director of The Emory Spine Center which became its own division within Orthopaedics and its own section within The Emory Clinic. This multi-disciplinary center fostered the development of new care models with improved access and novel financial/business models. This led to the continued growth of the Emory Spine Center to 24 full time faculty consisting of orthopaedic spine surgeons, neurological spine surgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation spine physicians, and occupational medicine seamlessly functioning together.


In 2004, the Orthopaedics Department led the development and building of a 95,000 square foot free standing outpatient musculoskeletal center at Executive Park. This move allowed consolidation of MSK services into a primary, one-stop shop, for all patients needs including dedicated MRI/CT, digital x-ray, physical/occupational therapy, and an ambulatory surgery center leading to unprecedented growth of the program. In 2021, these services moved to the Emory Musculoskeletal Institute (more details below).

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In 2007, the department opened the free-standing Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH) in Tucker with less than 1400 inpatient surgeries per year (translocated from Emory University Hospital) which has grown to over 3900 inpatient surgeries per year (as of 2017) and boasts consistently the highest patient satisfaction ratings of any hospital in the United States.

New Contracts

In 2017, Emory Healthcare Orthopaedics was able to secure bundled pricing contracts with several large national employers and be designated as a Joint Replacement and Spine Center of Excellence by several of the major players.

New Heights

The Sports Medicine Division grew from three sports medicine surgeons to nine surgeons and seven PM&R sports or family practice sports physicians. As of 2017, Emory Healthcare and Emory Sports Medicine are the official team healthcare providers for the Atlanta Falcons (2011), The Atlanta Hawks (2016), The Atlanta Braves (2017), The Atlanta Dream (2015), Georgia Institute of Technology (D1), Emory University (D3), Ogelthorpe (D3), and over 20 high school programs and multiple soccer and tennis club programs. In 2017, the Emory Sports Medicine Complex opened boasting a 100,000 square foot facility that houses a brand new Emory Sports Medicine Center, Emory Physical Therapy, Peak Performance Project P3 (a world leader in sports performance measurement and science), The Emory Healthcare Courts (Atlanta Hawks Practice Facility), and Atlanta Hawks Basketball Operations.

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Emory Musculoskeletal Institute

Emory opens the 180,000-square-foot, world-class Emory Musculoskeletal Institute, located in Emory’s Executive Park health innovation district in Brookhaven, Georgia. The new six-story building, with a focus on innovation, improving the patient experience and research, will continue to provide all musculoskeletal services in one convenient location for patients, and serve as the central hub supporting 10 regional offices ranging from LaGrange to Flowery Branch.

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Historical Look Back on the Department of Orthopaedics at Emory University

The orthopaedic section did not become a division of surgery at Emory until after World War II. Before that time, it had been an integral part of general surgery where the physicians interested in orthopedics were particularly focused on trauma care.

Emory’s Department of Orthopaedics has been led and shaped by four former chairmen.

1946-1974Robert P. Kelly, M.D.Chief Division of Orthopaedics, Department of Surgery

Dr. Kelly was recruited by Dr. Daniel C. Elkin, Chief of Surgery at Emory. Upon being appointed Chief of Orthopaedics, Dr. Kelly immediately began working to develop a residency program in orthopaedics, which up to that time had been non-existent. The residency program began with one resident per year and gradually grew to two residents per year and in the 1950’s expanded to three residents per year. As the residency program developed, Dr. Kelly also expanded the number of faculty members to include seven full time orthopedists. Toward the end of his tenure at Emory, Dr. Kelly suffered an unfortunate cardiac incident that decreased his ability to continue practicing. He never completely recovered and his death was a tragic loss to the department and the university.

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1974-1981Thomas E. Whitesides, Jr., M.D.Chief Division of Orthopaedics, Chairman Department of Orthopaedics

Dr. Whitesides, a student under Dr. Kelly, was encouraged by Dr. Kelly to prepare for a career in academic medicine. Dr. Whitesides heeded this advice and returned to Emory after completing his training at Washington University. His entire career as a distinguished academic orthopaedic surgeon was spent at Emory. Among his many professional accomplishments, Dr. Whitesides served as a member of the Board of Directors of the ABOS and also received the Kappa Delta Award for Outstanding Basic Science Research from the AAOS. It was Dr. Whitesides’ vision that Emory Orthopaedics be a Department in the School of Medicine rather than a division of the General Surgery Department. He was the driving force behind Orthopaedics achieving departmental status at Emory. Dr. Whitesides was appointed chief of the division of orthopaedics in 1972 and later became the first chair man when Emory granted departmental status to Orthopaedics in 1979. Dr. Whitesides is now retired but is still active in basic science research, presents at Grand Rounds, and is regularly consulted about complex cases.

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1981-1987Richard S. Riggins, M.D.Chairman Department of Orthopaedics

Dr. Riggins came to Emory as the Orthopaedic Department Chairman from The University of California at Davis. After serving as Department Chair for 6 years, he returned to California to a private practice in San Louis Obispo.

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1987-2002Lamar L. Fleming, M.D.Chairman Department of Orthopaedics

After residency training at Duke, Dr. Fleming was recruited to the Emory Orthopaedics faculty by Dr. Whitesides. He spent his entire career at Emory. He was instrumental in founding the Kelly Society and served as an officer for multiple prestigious academic society groups. Under his leadership as Chairman the size and scope of the faculty increased dramatically.

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2002 - 2017James R. Roberson, M.D.Chairman Department of Orthopaedics

Dr. Roberson, in his general surgery internship at the time, was recruited by Dr. Whitesides to join the orthopaedic residency program. Dr. Roberson completed his residency in orthopaedics and went on to a fellowship in adult reconstruction at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Roberson has served as Associate Medical Director of Emory University Hospital, member of the Board of Directors of The Emory Clinic, and currently is a Director on the ABOS Board of Directors. He was appointed Department Chair and Robert P. Kelly Professor in 2002.

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2018 - presentScott D. Boden, MDChairman Department of Orthopaedics

In 1994, Dr. Scott D. Boden became the first Director of The Emory Spine Center which became its own division within Orthopaedics and its own Section within The Emory Clinic. In 2004, Dr. Boden was named the Director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and led the development and building of a 95,000 square foot free standing outpatient musculoskeletal center at Executive Park. He was appointed Department Chairin 2018.

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About | Emory School of Medicine (2024)
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