Victor H. Frankel, MD, PhD, KNO, FAOA: Recognized as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession

Victor H. Frankel, MD, PhD, KNO, FAOA is being honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession for his extensive contributions to the practice of orthopaedic surgery, particularly his significant role in the development of orthopaedic biomechanics and his mentorship and tutelage of countless orthopaedic faculty, residents, fellows and students. The effort to recognize Dr. Frankel was championed by Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, FAOA, who he has known and worked with for more than 40 years. 

Dr. Frankel served his residency at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York, became a fellow in biomechanics at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, then returned to join the faculty at the Hospital for Joint Diseases. It was at that time he established the first orthopaedic bioengineering laboratory in the United States. This was the beginning of a twenty-year period of developing and teaching biomechanics to orthopaedic surgeons and scientists. 

He collaborated with Albert Burstein, PhD to author the textbook Orthopaedic Biomechanics, which established orthopaedic biomechanics as an essential part of the practice and science of orthopaedic surgery. His collaboration with international researcher and lecturer Margareta Nordin resulted in the publication of Basic Biomechanics of the Skeletal System, which has had a significant international impact on the understanding of orthopaedic biomechanics and is now in its 6th edition.

In 1965, Dr. Frankel was selected to be an AOA American-British-Canadian (ABC) Traveling Fellow.  This experience was so meaningful to him that he encouraged many of his faculty to also become ABC fellows. In 1990, he and his companions retraced the tour, visiting the sites throughout England that they encountered 25 years earlier. Dr. Frankel joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University in 1966 as the Director of the Biomechanics Laboratory. He later became Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Case Western and was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Washington. 

In the 1980s, he was largely responsible for bringing the techniques developed by Soviet physician Gavriil Ilizarov to the United States. He also founded the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation with William F. Enneking, MD, which is the largest nonprofit tissue bank in the world.  In 1985, Dr. Frankel and Margareta Nordin established the Occupational and Industrial Orthopaedic Center at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, which was instrumental in recognizing the importance of ergonomic analysis and preventing workplace injuries. Dr. Frankel continued as Chair at the Hospital for Joint Diseases until 1994 and served as President of the institution until he moved on to emeritus status in 1998.  In 1991, Dr. Frankel was knighted and received the Royal Order of the North Star by the King of Sweden.

The AOA acknowledges Dr. Frankel’s far-reaching impact on the orthopaedic community and recognizes him as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession. 

“I have known Dr. Victor Frankel since 1978 when I entered the orthopaedic residency program at the University of Washington. Victor was a mentor to me as well as to many other residents and faculty when he was the Department Chair at the University of Washington and again when I joined the faculty at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in 1984. When I succeeded Victor as Chair in 1994, he continued in his role as mentor by always providing support and guidance. He has dedicated his career in orthopaedics to many important areas but the most important has been his commitment to developing the careers of those around him. He has always believed that we only get better when those around us succeed. It is this approach, along with his other meaningful contributions to orthopaedic surgery, that truly make Victor Frankel, MD, PhD, a pillar of the orthopaedic community.”
- Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, FAOA



If you are interested in becoming a Champion for an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession, you can find more information here

Entire listing of AOA Pillars of the Orthopaedic Profession can be found here.