Who We Are

/Who We Are
Who We Are 2017-10-23T17:00:32+00:00

For over 60 years, the Orthopaedic Research Society has been the leading research society supporting engineers, orthopaedic surgeons, biologists, and clinicians in pursuit of a world without musculoskeletal limitations.

The ORS continues to bring together the best researchers and surgeons in the world and gives them a community to share new research findings, discuss new ideas and to collaborate in new and innovative ways. The ORS offers programs that teach, mentor and encourage our members while inspiring them to move the field of orthopaedic research forward.

The purpose of the ORS

The purposes of this Corporation are to promote, support, develop and encourage research in surgery and musculoskeletal disease and disciplines related thereto; to provide, support, develop and sponsor educational activities related to the foregoing, and to provide a forum for dissemination of knowledge in the fields.

As stated 1982 – ORS Articles of Incorporation – 501 (c)(3)


To advance musculoskeletal research worldwide


A world without musculoskeletal limitations

Core Values:

Scientific excellence and integrity






Collaboration has been at the cornerstone of the Orthopaedic Research Society since it was founded in 1954.

In 1940, Dr. Alfred R. Shands, who would later become one of the founding members of the ORS served as the chair of the Research Committee of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.  The committee conducted a survey of its member which indicated that just over 180 members were conducting some type of research.  By the end of World War II, there was an increased need for musculoskeletal research in response to the combat related injuries and traumas suffered by those in the armed forces.

In the 1950’s, several musculoskeletal investigators expressed a desire to have a forum for presenting their work and receiving constructive criticism. Dr. Phillip D. Wilson, a member of the Academy, along with several others, met in San Francisco and proposed the idea of starting an organization focused solely on musculoskeletal research.   This idea gained unanimous support from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons at their Annual Meeting in 1951.

In 1952, the first meeting of the founding members of the ORS took place. At this first meeting, Dr. Philip D. Wilson created a draft constitution and set of by-laws for the fledgling society.  It was determined that the purpose of the society was to “encourage and coordinate investigation and research in basic principles or clinical problems related to the special field of Orthopaedic Surgery.”  The founding members also agreed that a special emphasis should be placed on supporting the development of young investigators.  Due to the unexpected death of Dallas B. Phemister, MD, who had agreed to take on the role of chairman, the formal organization of the society was delayed.

1954 marked the first official meeting of the group at the Palmer House in Chicago under the Chairmanship of Dr.  Wilson.  At this first meeting there were twenty-nine people in attendance.  The first order of business was to decide whether the purpose of the group would be to stimulate research done by orthopaedic surgeons, or promote research of orthopaedic surgery.  In the end, it was decided that both were needed and membership to the society would be offered to anyone with an interest in orthopaedic research.

Cultivating the relationship between clinicians and scientists while providing them with opportunities to come together and share ideas was the driving factor in establishing the society. “The close relationship of between clinicians and basic scientists would help ensure the prominent role of orthopaedic surgeons in delivering care to patients with injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system,” explained Eugene R. Mindell, MD who served as president of the ORS from 1972 – 1973.  “In many ways, this relationship is like the development of the clinical scientist and translational research. The clinical problems are often defined by the clinician and brought to the laboratory for possible solutions and then returned to the clinicians for application of the new knowledge in the form of clinical trials.  One challenge was to convince the practicing orthopaedic surgeons that basic science research of the musculoskeletal system is of vital importance to maintaining the primary role of the orthopaedic surgeon in these patients.”

The ORS continues to grow and evolve.  Membership has grown to more than 4,100 members from across the globe.  Once a role only held by surgeons, in 1982 the ORS elected Van C. Mow as the first PhD president.  Currently, Presidents are elected from each of the three disciplines represented in the membership: clinicians, biologists, and engineers.  Through all of the changes, the roots of the society remain research, education, collaboration, advocacy, and communication – all vital roles within the orthopaedic community, and all values of the ORS.

Collaboration, the multi-disciplinary and international nature of the ORS is what makes it unique. More importantly, collaboration among the disciplines plays an important role in the future of orthopaedic care.   As Tim Wright, PhD, ORS President, 1992-1993 states, “While specialization within musculoskeletal research has brought with it an accelerated pace of discovery, one can’t help but wonder what other discoveries have been missed because the clinician is not integrated as well with the basic science discoveries that she/he might translate to better patient care or because the engineer is not attuned to the limitations in orthopaedic surgery that might limit the clinical usefulness of her/his next innovation.”

Collaboration is needed to move the field forward.  Science and technology have pushed the field forward; whether related to improved care and treatment, early diagnoses of disease, improved techniques, improved instrumentation, medical devices, etc.  It is a partnership that moves science from bench to bedside.   The aging population will rely on the orthopaedic surgeon and their care to help them to sustain a high quality of life.  But, in the end, it all begins with the research.

The ORS is the leading research society supporting biologists, clinicians, engineers, orthopaedic surgeons, as well as other professionals in the field of musculoskeletal research from across the globe.

The Journal of Orthopaedic Research (JOR)the official journal of the ORS, is the forum for the rapid publication of high quality reports of new information on the full spectrum of orthopaedic research, including life sciences, engineering, translational, and clinical studies.

JOR Spine is an international, open access peer-reviewed publication that publishes high-quality research on all aspects of orthopaedic research related to the spine.

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