An Endowed Chair in Orthopaedics
The Department of Orthopedics of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children is the oldest and largest service of the hospital, as well as one of the largest and best-known pediatric orthopedic departments in the nation.
Having an Endowed Chair for the Department would offer many advantages including:
- providing an annual income in perpetuity to support orthopedic research aimed at improving patient care;
- attracting the best medical talent; and
- bringing additional prestige to the 70-year legacy of orthopedic care.
Many large hospitals and universities have endowed chairs to provide ongoing funding for their most important departments. An endowed chair will honor the Nemours legacy of outstanding orthopedic care and provide essential financial resources.
From the earliest days of the hospital, research has played an important role. Today’s research effort includes orthopedic surgeons, scientists, research Fellows, an epidemiologist, and a study coordinator. The Center for Orthopedics Research and Development (CORD) — whose efforts are focused within the Pediatric Engineering Research Laboratory (PERL) — works closely with Nemours Department of Orthopedics to develop devices and methods that directly impact children with musculoskeletal disabilities.
Our Gait and Motion Analysis Lab, one of the first of its kind, provides breakthrough techniques that help us better serve children with orthopedic disorders. Through this valuable research, the hospital has amassed a huge repository of data which helps to answer important clinical questions about the effectiveness of treatments.
The Greek roots of the word “orthopaedic” literally mean “straighten the child.” Our surgeons are often able to correct or greatly improve conditions that cause disability or pain. Children and their families come from all over the Delaware Valley, as well as nationally and internationally, to receive care from orthopedic specialists at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
The Department includes 11 orthopedic surgeons, six orthopedic residents, three Fellows, seven physician assistants, three advanced practice nurses and an epidemiologist. All musculoskeletal conditions are treated including spinal deformities, club foot, cerebral palsy, dwarfism, limb length discrepancies, curvature of the spine, bone cancer, and many other orthopedic problems in children.
Children with orthopedic conditions account for a quarter of all patients seen at duPont Hospital. In 2009, there were more than 36,000 outpatient and cast room visits, and 1,832 surgical procedures. More than 840 orthopedic patients were admitted to the hospital. Nearly 3,700 patients had gait analysis.
The Nemours Legacy
Alfred R. Shands Jr., MD
Alfred R. Shands Jr., MD was the first Medical Director of what was then known as the Alfred I. duPont Institute, a 60-bed hospital for children with orthopedic problems located in Wilmington, DE. A prominent physician from Duke University Medical School, Dr. Shands was the author of Handbook of Orthopaedics and wrote 384 publications. He was the President and founder of the Orthopaedic Education and Research Foundation.
Dr. Shands received many awards and significant recognition during his long career. The American Orthopaedic Association instituted the annual Alfred R. Shands Jr. Lectureship and The University of Virginia established the Alfred R. Shands Professorship in Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.
Dr. Shands built internationally renowned programs in pediatric orthopedic hospitalization, orthopedic surgery, education, and research, as well as post-graduate studies. He trained scores of surgeons who later became giants in the field of orthopedics, serving the Alfred I. duPont Institute with distinction for more than three decades. Dr. Shands died in 1981.
G. Dean MacEwen, MD
G. Dean MacEwen, MD is known not only for his successful treatment of thousands of children, but for training hundreds of young surgeons who now head orthopedic teams all over the world. Dr. MacEwen served as the second Medical Director of the Alfred I. duPont Institute from 1969-1986. He was recruited and trained by Alfred R. Shands Jr., MD when pediatric orthopedics was beginning to emerge as a specialty.
Dr. MacEwen’s pioneering work in treating scoliosis and hip dysplasias laid the groundwork for today’s treatments. He helped to develop the “Wilmington brace”—used world-wide to correct scoliosis. Dr. MacEwen instituted community screening programs to identify orthopedic problems at an early stage.
Orthopedic residents from all over the world were trained by Dr. MacEwen, as well as doctors coming out of the military. He was a tireless advocate for the expansion of the Institute to a full-service hospital, which opened in the mid-1980s. Knowing that he educated so many orthopedic surgeons is Dr. MacEwen’s most satisfying accomplishment.