Hannafin named first female president of orthopaedic society

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Jo Hannafin

Jo Hannafin

Greenwich physician Jo Hannafin, a former Olympic champion, continues to break the glass ceiling for women in orthopedics, having recently been named the first female president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM).

Dr. Hannafin, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery’s Physician Office in Old Greenwich and at the main hospital in New York City, began her one-year term as president in July. Referred to as a “trailblazer,” in this role Dr. Hannafin will represent a portion of the mere 5% of female board-certified orthopedic surgeons.

With 3,042 members, the American Orthopaedic Society is an international organization of orthopedic surgeons and other allied health professionals dedicated to sports medicine. Founded in 1972, AOSSM is a world leader in sports medicine education, research communication and fellowship.

“It’s the largest sports medicine society in the world, and I’m very excited to have been chosen as president,” Dr. Hannafin said. “I became the 21st female member of the organization in 1997. Today, just over five percent of the members are women, and it’s an honor to be the first woman chosen for the leadership position.”

“Hospital for Special Surgery takes pride in the achievements of Dr. Hannafin, and we are delighted to congratulate her on her new position,” said Lou Shapiro, president and CEO of Hospital for Special Surgery. “Dr. Hannafin is a trailblazer. She was the first clinician scientist at Hospital for Special Surgery, as well as a highly respected orthopedic surgeon and scientist on both a national and international level.”

Dr. Hannafin, director of Orthopedic Research at Hospital for Special Surgery and orthopedic director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the hospital, co-founded the Sports Medicine Center with Dr. Lisa Callahan in 1997. At that time, the center was the first of its kind in the United States.

“It is only fitting that Dr. Hannafin is the first woman to be elected president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. She has been a leader throughout her whole career,” said Dr. Scott Rodeo, co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. “She was a world class athlete herself and one of the first women to complete a sports medicine fellowship, during which time she was the first woman to work with an NFL team as a fellow. Her combination of wisdom, skill and grace will lead the prestigious AOSSM to new heights.”

Dr. Hannafin focuses on injury treatment and prevention in athletes and active individuals. She has published more than 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals, written 20 book chapters and co-authored the book, Say Goodbye to Knee Pain.

She was the first clinician-scientist at Hospital for Special Surgery with a research program in ligament physiology.

Dr. Hannafin is currently head team physician for the New York Liberty, of the Women’s National Basketball Association. A lifelong rower and a physician for the U.S. Olympic Rowing team, she also serves as a team physician for the United States Rowing Team. She was a three-time national rowing champion and silver medalist at the 1984 World Championships.

Over the years, Dr. Hannafin has been an active member of AOSSM, serving on a number of important committees. She previously chaired the Research Committee, where she led an initiative to enhance research funding provided by the organization.

Under her leadership, the committee launched a three-year grant program of $250,000 to fund a major sports medicine study chosen from AOSSM member proposals.

“Very high quality studies have come out of this grant program,” Dr. Hannafin said. “The first study was on the non-contact ACL injury, which is common in female athletes. The AAOSM grants represent significant seed money for important sports medicine research, and many investigators we have supported have gone on to acquire major NIH funding.”

As president of AOSSM, Dr. Hannafin is now responsible for overseeing the organization’s annual meeting and sports sub-specialty meeting.

She also has a personal goal as president to “focus on improving member fellowship.” The missions of the AOSSM include education, research, patient care and fellowship. “

By fellowship, I don’t mean fellowship training, but fellowship in a community of like-minded people — the fellowship among sports medicine physicians,” Dr. Hannafin said.

Her other goals as president are to further strengthen the organization and to ensure that it offers innovative and intellectually challenging annual and sub-specialty meetings that are well attended.

“Ultimately, the hope is that at the end of the year, the organization is stronger than when you took the helm,” Dr. Hannafin said.

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