UCSF names new Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery

By Vanessa deGier

Thomas Parker Vail, MD -----

Thomas Parker Vail, MD, has been named the new chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the UCSF School of Medicine.  He will assume his new post in January 2007.

As chair, Vail will oversee all of the department’s clinical, research and education activities.  He will work with both School of Medicine and UCSF Medical Center leadership to develop a new Orthopaedics Institute that will increase the department’s clinical capacity while integrating related research and training activities.

“A strong musculoskeletal and reconstructive surgery program is one of the most important priorities at UCSF, and I am pleased that we have recruited a world class leader to what is already a world class department,” said David Kessler, MD, vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the UCSF School of Medicine.

One of the nation’s top orthopaedic surgeons, Vail is currently a professor of orthopaedic surgery at Duke University and director of adult reconstructive surgery at Duke University Medical Center.  He is also medical director of the Musculoskeletal Clinical Service Unit for the Duke University Health System and a member of the graduate faculty at the Trinity School of Arts and Sciences.

Also a clinical scientist, Vail’s research has focused on innovative bone implant techniques, clinical outcomes to assess devices used in adult bone reconstruction, and repair and replacement of cartilage.

“The planned Orthopaedics Institute will change the nature of orthopaedic surgery at UCSF,” said Mark Laret, CEO of the UCSF Medical Center, “and I believe we have absolutely the best person in the country to build it.”

After graduating from the Duke School of Engineering cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering and materials science in 1981, Vail attended the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University, Chicago, where he earned a medical degree in 1985. He did his internship, residency and fellowships in orthopaedic surgery at Duke. He joined the faculty of Duke University Medical Center in 1992 as assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery. He was promoted to associate professor in 1998 and professor in 2005.

In addition to his extensive work at Duke, Vail has been a national leader in orthopaedics, serving on numerous professional committees and inducted into various scholarly societies, including the Knee Society, the Hip Society, the Association of Arthritic Hip and Knee Surgeons, the American Orthopaedic Association, and the Interurban Orthopaedic Society.

“I realize I am joining a department that is already really strong, so this is an opportunity to expand research and focus on care delivery and excellence,” said Vail. “I am delighted and honored to be joining the faculty at UCSF.”

Vail’s annual compensation will be $780,000, funded by a combination of sources including state funds, clinical revenue and allocations from the UCSF Medical Center and School of Medicine.

UCSF is a leading university that advances health worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences and health professions, and providing complex patient care.

NOTE: Additional information on compensation for Dr. Vail is available upon request from the UCSF News Office (415-476-2557).