AAOS Bulletin - December, 2005

Award and endowment honor William W. Tipton Jr., MD

By Kathleen Misovic

Memories of an exceptional leader never fade, especially when the individual had a strong impact on his profession. The influence that William W. Tipton Jr., MD—the former executive vice president and executive director of medical affairs—had on his colleagues was so strong that they decided to preserve his legacy with an endowment and leadership award in his name.

The Orthopaedic Research and Educational Foundation (OREF) created the William W. Tipton Jr., MD, Leadership Award with substantial support from the AAOS. However, the idea originated with a smaller group of Dr. Tipton’s colleagues.

William W. Tipton Jr, MD

“Dr. Tipton and I were close friends and colleagues for more than 20 years,” said William J. Robb III, MD, who heads the Tipton Endowment Committee and is a member of the OREF Board of Trustees. “He was a unique individual who was a very successful orthopaedic surgeon in private practice and a significant leader in the orthopaedic community. I was just one of many of his friends and colleagues who wanted to recognize the contributions he made during his career.”

“We wanted to do something to ensure that [Dr. Tipton’s] legacy would not be forgotten,” said Francis B. Kelly, MD, who is also a member of the OREF Board of Trustees and the chair of the AAOS Board of Councilors (BOC). “He was such a quality fellow, such a great leader to our society and profession; we felt we could do best by establishing a leadership award in his name.”

The annual award will be presented for the first time at the 2006 Annual Meeting in Chicago. The award recipient will receive a $5,000 donation to use toward promoting leadership in orthopaedics.

Surpassing its goals

So far the Tipton Endowment fund has raised about $150,000 from individual contributors, regional and state subspecialty orthopaedic societies and the Academy.

“We’ll keep working to raise donations because we’d like to build the endowment as much as we can,” Dr. Kelly said, adding that the committee plans to use any additional money to fund grants promoting orthopaedic leadership.

“We’ve been so successful in raising support for this award that we can envision extending it beyond honoring a recipient every year, by making grants available for leadership activities in a community or recognizing other leaders,” Dr. Kelly said. “We also hope to use it as a way to develop leaders among the young fellows. The endowment has unlimited potential.”

“We’re looking for opportunities to create incentives for other leadership initiatives,” said Dr. Robb, adding that the committee hopes to raise a total of $250,000 for the endowment fund. “One of the programs that may be considered for funding is the Leadership Fellows Program. But in the meantime we’re focused on setting up the first Dr. Tipton Leadership Award.”

And the winner is…

Who will be the first orthopaedist honored with the Dr. Tipton leadership award? It will be someone who exemplifies many of the leadership traits Dr. Tipton possessed.

“Dr. Tipton was always very positive and always trying to build coalitions as a way to solve problems without offending anyone. He was quite the diplomat,” Dr. Kelly said. “He was extremely well organized, which is a good leadership trait. And he was extremely well-liked and respected by all the people he came in contact with. Simply put, he was everybody’s friend.”

The deadline for applying for the first award was Dec. 15, 2005. The committee sought nominations from state and specialty orthopaedic societies, AAOS members and orthopaedic residents who have directly benefited from the nominee’s activities. Any Academy fellow in good standing is eligible for nomination.

To be considered for the award, nominees must be recognized as leaders among their peers and have made significant accomplishments for their specialty. Candidates also needed to show a commitment to mentorship, and understand and demonstrate the values of diversity.

A 10-member committee will choose the award winner from among the nominees. The committee members were chosen from the AAOS, the BOC, OREF, the Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies, and the original group of orthopaedists who envisioned the award.

For more details on the William W. Tipton Jr., MD, Leadership Award, or information on donating money to the Tipton Endowment Fund, visit the OREF Web site.

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