Freddie Fu Recognized for Advancing Diversity in Orthopaedics

Issue Date: 
March 21, 2011

Freddie H. Fu, Distinguished Service Professor and David Silver Professor and Chair in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and renowned UPMC orthopaedic surgeon, was recently selected as the 2011 Diversity Award winner by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). The Diversity Award recognizes members of the academy who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding commitment to making orthopaedics more representative of and accessible to diverse patient populations.

A native of Hong Kong, Fu was one of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s first Asian residents when he came to Pitt during the 1970s. As an assistant professor and fellowship director at UPMC, he helped found the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine in 1982 and subsequently trained a diverse group of clinical fellows in a then-new orthopaedic specialty—sports medicine. Fu became chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the late 1990s and began to diversify the residency program and department faculty.

“As an immigrant, I have seen firsthand where it may be harder for someone who is a bit different to find opportunities and receive mentorship. Over the years, I’ve tried to understand and respect people of different backgrounds and to reach out to them,” Fu said.

Under his leadership, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has become noted for its gender equity. Nationwide, only 4 percent of board-certified orthopedic surgeons and less than 10 percent of orthopedic residents are women, according to the AAOS. In the Pitt Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, however, women represent 20 percent of the full-time faculty and 30 percent of the orthopaedic residency program.

“Although much has changed over the years, our tradition of attracting the best and brightest faculty to provide quality patient care, teaching, and innovative research remains the same,” Fu said.

Fu also has completed several traveling fellowships, lectured internationally, and has trained more than 600 orthopaedic and sports medicine fellows worldwide through the Pitt Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Fellowship Program he developed.

A world-renowned orthopaedic surgeon, Fu has become a leader in anatomic ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction surgery. He and his colleagues are currently conducting a large clinical trial to compare patient outcomes of two types of anatomically correct ACL reconstructions, known as anatomic single-bundle surgery and anatomic double-bundle surgery. Though more research is necessary to compare the outcomes of these two procedures, preliminary studies have shown that both restore knee anatomy and function better than the one-size-fits-all approach of ACL surgery typically performed today.

Fu has been the David Silver Professor and Chair in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery since 1998. He also is chair of the UPMC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, which currently is ranked eighth in the U.S. News & World Report annual Best Hospitals survey.