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Josh Jacobs, MD

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Fred Redfern, MD

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Annunziato Amendola, MD

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Kevin Bozic, MD, MBA


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Shafique P. Pirani, MD

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Franklin H. Sim, MD

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Vernon T. Tolo, MD

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           February 9, 2012

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Los Angeles Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon, Vernon T. Tolo MD, Honored for Leadership in Mentoring Residents, and Fostering Diversity and Unity in Orthopaedics

SAN FRANCISCO – The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) presented the 2012 William W. Tipton Leadership Award to Vernon T. Tolo, MD, of Los Angeles, Calif., during an awards ceremony at its 2012 Annual Meeting. The Tipton Leadership Award recognizes Academy members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities that have benefitted the orthopaedic community, patients, and/or the American public.

“I am pleased and surprised to receive this award,” said Dr. Tolo. “It is a great honor for me as there are so many people within the Academy who have demonstrated exemplary leadership."

“Dr. Vernon Tolo’s commitment to orthopaedics is exemplary and unique,” said John P. Dormans, MD, who nominated Dr. Tolo for the award. “Dr. Tolo has worked throughout his career to foster leadership skills among the younger (AAOS) members, while encouraging diversity within orthopaedics. He also championed for unity between specialties in the hopes of strengthening the voices of orthopaedics as a whole.

“Dr. Tolo has always enthusiastically accepted the role of leader throughout his orthopaedic career,” said Dr. Dormans. 

Dr. Tolo has served as president of three orthopaedic societies: The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA), 1994-1995; the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), 1995-1996; and the AAOS, 2002-2003. He currently is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (American volume) and continues to serve as a professor at the University of Southern California where he received the USC Resident Teaching Award in 1990 and the Professor of the Year Award in 2000. He is the former chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Orthopaedics.  In 2009, POSNA awarded Dr. Tolo their Distinguished Achievement Award.

While president of AAOS, Dr. Tolo launched the Leadership Fellows Program (LFP), a one-year program designed to mentor young participating surgeons while stressing the importance of extending orthopaedic services through advocacy and education.

"The LFP has been more successful than I ever imagined,” said Dr. Tolo. “These young physicians have gone on to be leaders in the Academy and within their communities. They also have kept in very close touch with one another over many years.” 

Dr. Tolo grew up in North Dakota. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and received his general surgery and orthopaedic surgery training at Johns Hopkins.  He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps for 2 years and completed a pediatric orthopaedic  fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.  He was the chief of pediatric orthopaedics at Johns Hopkins for 10 years before moving to Los Angeles in 1987 to become the John C. Wilson, Jr., Professor and the first full-time pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). He built a faculty group and fellowship there, and fostered strong relationships within the community that helped to create and secure funding for the Children’s Orthopaedic Center at CHLA.   

He currently is the Chief Emeritus of the Children’s Orthopaedic Center. Dr. Tolo said he had many strong mentors in orthopaedic surgery over the years. As a result, he enjoys “giving a hand” to the young doctors he works with through residencies and fellowships.

“To see them accomplish so much on their own is enjoyable in every way,” said Dr. Tolo. 

He said the most rewarding aspect of orthopaedic surgery for him has been “the rapport that you build with patients and colleagues over the years.”


More about Dr. Tolo

Previous Tipton Leadership Award Winners

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