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October 16, 2013

$2M gift to support orthopaedic research

Stephen Kates
Stephen Kates holds the new
Hansjörg Wyss Professorship in
Orthopaedic Surgery.

Hansjörg Wyss, a Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist, has given $2 million to the University to support clinical and research work related to geriatric fracture care being led by Stephen Kates in the Department of Orthopaedics and the Center for Musculoskeletal Research.

Wyss’s gift establishes the Hansjörg Wyss Professorship in Orthopaedic Surgery, which will support Kates’s activities related to developing and disseminating a program for the treatment of fractures in geriatric patients. Activities are expected to include research, work at the Geriatric Fracture Center at Highland Hospital, and national and international lecturing. The gift will aid Kates’s efforts to expand and disseminate the Geriatric Fracture Center’s unique model of health care and improve the treatment of fractures in geriatric patients. It also will enhance the work of Kates and the CMSR focusing on geriatric fracture investigation.

“Mr. Wyss’s generous gift is a testament to the caliber of the University’s outstanding clinical and research endeavors in the orthopedic field and the pioneering work of Steve Kates in addressing geriatric fractures,” says Mark Taubman, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for Health Sciences. “It undoubtedly will accelerate our efforts to improve the health of orthopaedic patients worldwide.”

Kates is one of the country’s top orthopaedic surgeons and serves as chief of the Metabolic Bone and Geriatric Division and associate director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the Medical Center. He is principal investigator on an ambitious research program designed to prevent, diagnose, treat, and better understand the basic science of orthopaedic infections, particularly the drug-resistant superbug, Methicillin–Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, known as MRSA.

“Improving fracture care for older adults has been my personal mission for the past 10 years, and this extraordinary gift will enable the University of Rochester to continue on a path that will make a significant impact on treatment and prevention at a national level,” Kates says.

Kates is working to establish the Geriatric Fracture Center’s nationally recognized care model as a consistent health care standard with help from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, a change that would provide an objective measure of improvement in care quality across the United States.

“I am pleased to be able to support Dr. Kates’s excellent work studying, treating, and teaching the management of fractures in geriatric patients,” Wyss says. “Fractures in geriatric patients are an important clinical issue today and are predicted to increase dramatically over the next decade. I congratulate Dr. Kates on what he has accomplished so far, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact of my gift.”

Kates and Wyss have a longtime connection through the AO Foundation, a nonprofit Swiss organization that supports research and development in the orthopaedics field. The AO Foundation currently funds Kates’s research on orthopaedic infections. Wyss is a founder and honorary member of the AO Foundation. He also is founder and former chairman and CEO of Synthes USA, a manufacturer of Swiss-designed medical devices for orthopaedic and trauma surgery. In June 2012, Synthes was sold to Johnson & Johnson. Wyss’s philanthropy has included support of medicine, education, arts, and land conservation.

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