AAOS Honors 3 Surgeons with the Organization’s Top Awards

    Leadership Award

    The 2018 William W. Tipton, Jr., MD, Leadership Award was presented to Ramon L. Jimenez, MD. With this award, Dr. Jimenez becomes the second person in the history of the Academy to win both the Tipton Leadership Award and the Diversity Award.   

    The Tipton Leadership Award recognizes Academy members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities that have benefitted the orthopaedic community, patients, and/or the American public. The award honors and celebrates the life, accomplishments and qualities of the late William W. Tipton, Jr., MD, an orthopaedic surgeon, educator and former AAOS chief executive officer.

    Dr. Jimenez embraces the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” as this sentiment has been a benchmark that has helped shape a career-long history of leadership focused on giving back to his profession, his heritage, and the community.

    During his career, Dr. Jimenez has worked diligently to advance important causes and initiatives that benefit his patients, colleagues and the profession, including his commitment to identifying and training the next generation of orthopaedic physician leaders.

    Embracing diversity in the orthopaedic work force is another passion for Dr. Jimenez. As a result, he was one of the founding members of the AAOS Diversity Advisory Board and oversaw efforts to improve patient care domestically and internationally by leading the development of the AAOS Culturally Competent Care curriculum.  

    In 2009, Dr. Jimenez, along with Alberto A. Bolanos, MD, founded and serves as president of the American Association of Latino Orthopaedic Surgeons with the mission to mentor young Latinos to a career opportunity in orthopaedics. Dr. Jimenez continues to serve as president of the organization.

    Dr. Jimenez also served as the president of the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation where he built partnerships and increased development funding by 7 figures.

    With deep ties to his hometown of San Jose, California, Dr. Jimenez has become very involved with The Foundation for Hispanic Education, which oversees three local charter high schools and provides education and resources to support English language learners and educators. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the organization and is the chair of the charter school committee.

    “Bill Tipton was a very close friend of mine and to be given an award that embodies who he was as a person and a leader is an honor and a privilege,” said Dr. Jimenez. “When Bill sat down with you and asked you to become more involved with an organization or initiative, you immediately wanted to echo his commitment and emulate the type of leader he was.”

    Dr. Jimenez founded and managed a 5-person practice in San Jose for 35 years, where he specialized in arthroscopy, reconstruction of hips and knees, and spine procedures. He is currently a senior consultant for an orthopaedic and sports medicine group in Monterey, California.

    Diversity Award

    In recognition of his commitment to advancing diversity in orthopaedics, Mark C. Gebhardt, MD, received the 2018 Diversity Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

    The Diversity Award recognizes members of the Academy who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding commitment to making orthopaedics more representative of, and accessible to, diverse patient populations.

    For more than 40 years, Dr. Gebhardt has acted on his strong conviction that recruiting women and minorities into orthopaedics is fundamental to advancing the field. He has mentored numerous medical students, orthopaedic residents, and young orthopaedic surgeons, and is directly responsible for encouraging women to successfully pursue and prosper in orthopaedic surgery. Beyond mentoring, Dr. Gebhardt is an advocate for recruiting and hiring women and minorities into the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program, both as residents and as faculty.

    “I am incredibly honored to receive this award,” said Dr. 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.”

    Dr. Gebhardt is an orthopaedic oncologist with an expertise in pediatric bone and soft tissue sarcomas and benign musculoskeletal tumors. As the chairman and orthopaedic 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, Dr. Gebhardt is actively involved in treating patients from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

    Humanitarian Award

    Rick D. Wilkerson, DO, is the recipient of the 2018 Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in honor of nearly 3 decades of work serving underserved populations around the globe.

    The Humanitarian Award recognizes living fellows, international, and emeritus members of the Academy who have distinguished themselves through outstanding musculoskeletal-related humanitarian activities in the United States or abroad.

    Dr. Wilkerson lives in Spencer, Iowa, with his wife Barbara and 9 children. Early in his career, he chose to practice in a rural area of Iowa as a result of a suggestion by Barbara that he practice in an area that needed him, not one that he needed.

    In addition to being a skilled orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Wilkerson is passionate about helping countries develop and improve their orthopaedic capabilities, and he knew that with his experience, resources, and determination, he could make an enormous impact on peoples’ lives.

    His global humanitarian pursuits have taken him to more than 14 countries, including Haiti, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Uganda. His colleagues credit his West Point education and military medical experience as a key factor for the special instincts and skill set required to thrive in environments of war, hostile governments, or natural disasters.

    Dr. Wilkerson has been involved with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) and the International Medical Corps. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Wilkerson has made annual trips to Iraq, where he initiated a total knee arthroplasty (TKA) program for Iraqi residents that has led to more than 1500 TKAs performed. He also sponsored 8 Iraqi orthopaedic surgeons in his private practice for postgraduate training. As a result of his commitment, Dr. Wilkerson was named honorary professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Basrah in Iraq.

    During his travels with HVO, Dr. Wilkerson has trained surgeons, treated patients, created orthopaedic training programs, and taught medical students in Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Uganda and Cambodia.

    “Receiving the AAOS Humanitarian Award is an incredible honor, especially given the caliber of all the previous award recipients, many of whom I’ve known and worked with,” said Dr. Wilkerson. “It means so much that my peers took the time to nominate me.”