Hannafin honored as trailblazer for women in medicine

Jo Hannafin with her husband and children, from left, Connor Brisson, John Brisson, Jo Hannafin, Caitlin Brisson, Emily Salvatera and Andrew Brisson as they all celebrated her achievement.

Jo Hannafin with her husband and children, from left, Connor Brisson, John Brisson, Jo Hannafin, Caitlin Brisson, Emily Salvatera and Andrew Brisson as they all celebrated her achievement.

Greenwich resident Jo A. Hannafin, M.D., Ph.D., attending orthopedic surgeon and director of orthopedic research at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), recently received a lifetime achievement award at the hospital’s 31st Annual Tribute Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria.

Dr. Hannafin, who also sees patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery Physician Office in Old Greenwich, is co-founder and orthopedic director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Manhattan hospital. Last year, she became the first female president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. A three-time national rowing champion and silver medalist at the 1984 World Championships, she is the official doctor for a number of professional sports teams.

Ms. Hannafin was also able to meet NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who served as the host of the event.

Ms. Hannafin was also able to meet NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who served as the host of the event.

Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, was emcee of the black-tie gala, which hosted more than 1,000 guests and raised $3.6 million for education, research and patient care at HSS.

“Hospital for Special Surgery takes great pride in the achievements of Dr. Hannafin, and we are delighted to recognize her distinguished career,” HSS president and CEO Louis Shapiro said. “Dr. Hannafin is a true trailblazer. She was the first clinician-scientist at our hospital and is highly respected both nationally and internationally for delivering a high standard of care to patients.”

“I am honored and equally humbled to receive this award. HSS is an extraordinary institution with a singular focus on musculoskeletal diseases and injury,” Dr. Hannafin said. “Because of this focus we are able to provide outstanding patient care, innovative research, and educational opportunities for medical students, residents, fellows, and orthopedic surgeons from around the world.”

Thomas Sculco, M.D., surgeon-in-chief at HSS, noted that the field of orthopedic surgery has one of the lowest percentages of women of any medical specialty. Less than 5% of board-certified orthopedic surgeons are women.

“Dr. Jo Hannafin has been able to reach levels of success and excellence beyond what most orthopedic surgeons achieve,” Dr. Sculco said.

A sports medicine specialist, Dr. Hannafin focuses on injury treatment and prevention in athletes and active individuals. In 1997, she co-founded the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at HSS, the first such center of its kind in the United States. Last July, she became the first female president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. With more than 3,000 members, the society is a world leader in sports medicine education, research, communication and fellowship.

“It is with great pride that we congratulate Dr. Hannafin on her Lifetime Achievement Award,” said David Altchek, M.D., co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Special Surgery. “She has been an inspiration to everyone on the Sports Service and we take great pleasure in celebrating this recognition with her.”

Dr. Hannafin is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association New York Liberty. 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 is a member of the FISA Medical Commission and vice president of the board of trustees of the National Rowing Foundation.

She was the first clinician-scientist at HSS with a research program in ligament physiology. 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.

In March 2013, she was honored by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. as a Physician of the Year.

“Dr. Hannafin has been a leader throughout her entire career,” said Scott Rodeo, M.D., co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at HSS. “She was a world class athlete and one of the first women to complete a sports medicine fellowship. Her combination of wisdom, skill and grace make her a most worthy recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.”

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