The Diversity Award recognizes members of the Academy who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding commitment to making orthopedics more representative of, and accessible to, diverse patient populations.
For more than 40 years, Gebhardt has acted on his strong conviction that recruiting women and minorities into orthopedics is fundamental to advancing the field. As a medical student at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, he was acutely aware of the small number of women and minority students in his class. Upon beginning his residency at Harvard in 1978, Gebhardt saw the hurdles women and minorities had to go through to succeed. He chose to follow the lead of his iconic mentors—Drs. Gus White, Henry Mankin and Dempsey Springfield—and made a vow to shape change.
“Dr. Gebhardt has been successful in creating a culture of diversity and multiculturalism, and is committed to social justice in developing culturally competent care,” said Augustus A. White, III, M.D., Ph.D., a past AAOS Diversity Award recipient.
As a long-standing member of the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS) and J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society (JRGOS), Gebhardt has mentored numerous medical students, orthopedic residents and young orthopedic surgeons, and is directly responsible for encouraging women to successfully pursue and prosper in orthopedic surgery. Beyond mentoring, Gebhardt is a long-time advocate for recruiting and hiring women and minorities into the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program–both as residents and as faculty. In fact, his orthopedic faculty contains the largest number of women in the Harvard orthopedic system. He chaired two search committees for department leaders and recently appointed a female director of the department’s Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies.
“Minority representation in orthopaedics by race, ethnicity, and sex remains an issue for our profession,” said Alexandra E. Page, M.D., vice president of RJOS. “As a white man in the front row at RJOS and JRGOS meetings, his distinctive bow tie linking him to the traditional patrician image of a physician, Dr. Gebhardt sends a message he supports by his actions: promoting diversity does not belong to women, African-Americans, Latinos or any one group. Diversity is the responsibility of all orthopaedic surgeons.”
Gebhardt has a long history with the Academy and has served on the Board of Specialty Societies, as an instructor for the AAOS Communications Skills course for orthopedists and was involved with the Leadership Fellows program. He currently serves on the AAOS/American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery combined task force on Maintenance of Certification and has been active with the American Orthopaedic Association’s Resident Leadership Program.
“I am incredibly honored to receive this award,” said Gebhardt. “Sometimes, you don’t know you’ve made an impact until you are told. So for me, it’s very rewarding to know that the work I was doing has made a difference.”
Gebhardt is an orthopedic oncologist with an expertise in pediatric bone and soft tissue sarcomas and benign musculoskeletal tumors. As the chairman and orthopedic surgeon-in-chief of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Frederick W. and Jane M. Ilfeld Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Gebhardt is actively involved in treating patients from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
With more than 38,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. AAOS provides education programs for orthopedic surgeons and allied health professionals, champions and advances the highest quality musculoskeletal care for patients, and is the authoritative source of information on bone and joint conditions, treatments and related issues.