Mark B. Coventry, MD, FAOA: Honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession
Mark B. Coventry, MD, FAOA is being honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession for pioneering the modern era of adult reconstructive surgery. The effort to recognize Dr. Coventry was championed by Bernard F. Morrey, MD, FAOA along with generous support from many of Dr. Coventry’s friends, former Mayo colleagues, and residents.
Dr. Coventry was the son of a general surgeon and was introduced to medicine while accompanying his father on house calls. His father taught him to treat patients as people and not as conditions, which was a lesson he would remember throughout his long career. He attended the University of Michigan and in 1942, joined the staff at the Mayo Clinic as a surgeon and instructor of orthopaedic surgery. His career was interrupted during WWII when he joined the Medical Corps of the United States Naval Reserve. He served the next four years in Guadalcanal, New Guinea and the Philippines.
When he returned to the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Coventry devoted himself to orthopaedic patient care. In the early 1950s, he built on his colleagues’ development of cortisone by using it as a treatment for acute shoulder bursitis and orthopaedic injuries. In 1955, he was appointed chairman of the orthopaedic department at the Mayo Clinic. He would go on to serve on the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors and as a professor at the Mayo Graduate School and the Mayo Medical School.
In the years that followed, he performed the first proximal tibial osteotomy, instituted the first total joint registry, and was the first in the United States to perform a total hip arthroplasty (THA) using an FDA-approved bone cement (the first approved THA was March 1969). A great innovator, he designed original hip and knee surgery instruments, introduced a low-dose anticoagulant drug as a treatment for pulmonary embolism, and was a pioneer in the use of radiation to control heterotopic ossification of the hip. A highly respected administrator and educator, Dr. Coventry was praised by his colleagues and students for his honesty, integrity and humanity.
Dr. Coventry was president of the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) in 1977, the Clinical Orthopaedic Society, The Hip Society, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), and served on the editorial boards of JBJS, and the Journal of Arthroplasty. He published more than 250 articles and 31 book chapters. He died in 1994, 10 years after retiring from the Mayo Clinic.
The AOA acknowledges Dr. Coventry’s amazing legacy to the orthopaedic community and recognizes him as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession.