UAB Orthopaedics becomes a department of the School of Medicine

Orthopaedics at UAB has been elevated to a full department within the School of Medicine from its previous division status.
Written by: Kendra Carter
Media contact: Bob Shepard,

ortho surgery 2017The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is the 27th department in the School of Medicine. The Division of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine became the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery on Oct. 1. Following approval by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

Steven M. Theiss, M.D., the John D. Sherrill Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, is serving as interim chair of the department, which is the 27th department in the School of Medicine.

“Elevating orthopaedic surgery to a department will allow the program to grow its offerings, all while providing the best patient care for Alabama residents, comprehensive training for future surgeons and robust research programs,” said Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine.

The Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at UAB is a world-class practice, with 30 surgeons and physicians, along with 11 advanced practice professionals, performing more than 8,000 orthopaedic surgical procedures per year at UAB Hospital, UAB Hospital Highlands and Children’s of Alabama. The program’s clinical services include spinal surgery, adult reconstructive (hip and knee, shoulder and elbow), hand and upper extremity, foot and ankle, musculoskeletal oncologic surgery, sports medicine, pediatric orthopaedics, and traumatology.

The fully accredited, five-year residency program offers 30 resident positions with six at each level. One-year fellowships are available in hand and upper extremity, foot and ankle, spine, traumatology, and orthopaedic research. Research activities are conducted in each of the specialty areas.

“Our entire group — including the faculty, residents, fellows and staff — is very excited about the opportunities and responsibilities that come with becoming a department,” Theiss said. “This distinction will enable us to grow our clinical and academic programs, ultimately resulting in improved care for our patients. It will also allow us to contribute more directly to the overall success of UAB Medicine. We thank the leaders of UAB for their support and look forward to a bright future.”

Theiss will serve as interim chair through the transition and establishment of the department. A national search for a chair is planned to begin in 2018.