Dr. Augustus A. White is a scientist who has distinguished himself on several fronts, most notably orthopaedics. He was the Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston for thirteen years. Today he is the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Professor Emeritus of the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He is former Master of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society, HMS.
Dr. White's interest in orthopaedics stemmed from his experiences in athletics, first at Northfield Mount Hermon School where he was captain of the wrestling team and is in the Athletic Hall of Fame, and then at Brown University where he was a Varsity Athlete in Football and Lacrosse. A star athlete as well as a scholar, he became fascinated by orthopaedic treatment of sports injuries and specialized in orthopaedic surgery. Dr. White attended Stanford Medical School where he served as student body President. It was at Stanford that he became interested in the problem of back pain. Following graduation, he honed his skills at University of Michigan Medical Center as an intern, then at Presbyterian Medical Center, San Francisco where he was a general surgery resident. Dr. White went to Yale Medical Center, where he completed his orthopaedic residency. He then joined the US Army Medical Corps and served for two years. Following this he studied at the University of Gothenburg and at the Karolinska Institute, where he obtained a PhD for research on the biomechanics of the spine.
He later returned to Yale Medical School and became a full Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of the Engineering Laboratory for Musculoskeletal Disease, a currently active laboratory that he founded and subsequently developed with Dr. M. Panjabi. He was recruited to Beth Israel Hospital to start its first Orthopaedic Department. In collaboration with Dr. W. Hayes, whom he recruited, Dr. White originated that hospital's Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory. Both laboratories remain fully active. Over the years Dr. White has concentrated much of his teaching, research, and patient care on problems of the spine. He has trained 25 spine surgeons in the Daniel E. Hogan Spine Fellowship Program, of which he was the Director. While his professional life has drawn him to classroom, laboratory, and lecture hall, he is most committed to direct patient care.
Stimulated by a desire to better meet the challenges in healthcare management, Dr. White completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School, where he was selected by his classmates to deliver a commencement address. He is Past Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of OrthoLogic Corporation, now Capstone Therapeutics. Dr. White serves as a Director for OrthoLogic, and is a past Director of American Shared Hospital Services. He is a Director of Zimmer Holdings, Inc. and the Chair of its Technology and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Dr. White was a member of the Brown University Board of Fellows for 11 years, a Brown Alumni Trustee for five years, and a past Alumni Trustee of Northfield Mount Hermon School. He is a Trustee Emeritus at WGBH Radio/TV and is a former member of the Board of Directors of The Partnership, Inc., both in Boston.
Dr. White is an internationally known, widely published authority on biomechanics of the spine, fracture healing, and surgical and non-surgical care of the spine. He has authored or coauthored more than 200 scientific and clinical publications including chapters, books, and articles. Most noted among them is the highly regarded definitive work, The Clinical Biomechanics of the Spine. This internationally used text, the first of its kind, is designed to present scientific material about spine biomechanics in a manner directly applicable to the care of patients with spine problems. A second edition of this book was published in 1990. A third edition is planned. Dr. White co-edited a book for scientists and physicians entitled Symposium on Idiopathic Low Back Pain. This work emanated from an international meeting chaired by Dr. White and designed specifically to review current knowledge and suggest future research on the scientific aspects of the cause and treatment of back pain. Convinced that patient education is a major factor in the successful resolution of back pain problems, Dr. White completed a second edition of a book for patients called Your Aching Back. This work was selected by Consumer Reports as the best back-pain book and has been translated and published in German. A third edition written with Dr. P. Phillips is forthcoming. In 2001, he co-authored a textbook with Dr. M. Panjabi, Biomechanics of The Musculoskeletal System. This book is designed to assist in the understanding of the role of engineering mechanics in the function of the musculoskeletal system.