History of Washington University Orthopedics

Our commitment to excellence in education, research and patient care is deeply woven into the fabric of our history.  During the last century, developments in and around the St. Louis community, surgical and technological advancements in the specialty of orthopaedic surgery, and leading academic and clinical pursuits by our orthopaedic faculty have laid the foundation for excellence.  Since 1893, Washington University Orthopedics has had an unusual number of national leaders including five AOA presidents (Steele, Allison, Abbott, Key and O'Keefe) and three AAOS presidents (Reynolds, McCarroll and Gelberman).



The university was formally named the Washington University School of Medicine (its present title).

The St Louis Shriners Hospital was completed.

Education in orthopaedic surgery under the directorship of the clinical orthopaedic faculty at Washington University was offered at this facility.

1930 - 1955

J. Albert Key, MD, was orthopaedic surgery chairman at Washington University. He established a formal training program in orthopaedic surgery at the Barnes Hospital.

During the duration of his leadership, Dr. Key remained active in research and teaching. The J. Albert Key Library in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is a living legacy to the current and future generations of orthopaedic surgeons who train and work at this institution.

1955 - 1972

Fred Reynolds, MD, assumed directorship of the department as well as the positions of Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the WUSM and Chief of Orthopaedics at the Barnes and Allied Hospitals.

Dr. Reynolds, an advocate of orthopaedic education, helped to establish the national reputation long associated with the training program. Dr. Reynolds was also involved in the care of the St. Louis Cardinals Professional Football Team.

1972 - 1995

Arthur H. Stein, Jr., MD, H. Relton McCarroll, MD, and Paul Manske, MD, are among the key figures who served terms as the Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery following Dr. Reynolds.

The Arthur H. Stein, Jr., MD, and the H. Relton McCarroll, MD, Memorial lectures commemorate the dedication of both men to the field of orthopaedic surgical education.


A formal Department of Orthopaedic Surgery was established at Washington University School of Medicine.

Richard H. Gelberman, MD, became the Fred C. Reynolds Professor and Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery. He assembled a faculty of experts in their respective orthopaedic subspecialties, including a team of full-time research scientists.


Washington University Orthopedics and Barnes-Jewish Hospital open an Outpatient Orthopedic Center in Chesterfield, Missouri.


Washington University Orthopedics opens a walk-in Orthopedic Injury Clinic at the Outpatient Orthopedic Center in Chesterfield, Missouri. 


Regis J. O'Keefe, MD, PhD, was named the new Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery. A highly regarded orthopaedic oncologist and a national leader in musculoskeletal research, Dr. O’Keefe comes to St. Louis from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where he was the Marjorie Strong Wehle Professor in Orthopaedics and chair of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. Dr. O'Keefe succeeds Dr. Gelberman, who became the Chairman of Orthopaedics when the department was established in 1995.


Washington University Orthopedics opens a pediatric and adolescent orthopedic office within the new St. Louis Children's Hospital Specialty Care Center, located at Highway40/I-64 and Mason Road in West St. Louis County. 


Washington University Orthopedics opens an orthopedic office within the new Center for Advanced Medicine - South County, located at I-55 and Butler Hill Rd. in South St. Louis County.


Washington University Orthopedics opens a second walk-in Orthopedic Injury Clinic at the orthopedic office within the Center for Advanced Medicine - South County. 


Washington University Orthopedics opens an orthopedic office on the Progress West Hospital campus, located in St. Charles County. 

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