2022 AOA Award Winners

Each year, AOA members select two renowned peers for special recognition. Congratulations to our 2022 winners!

Cato T. Laurencin, MD, PhD, FAOA

2022 Winner of the Distinguished Contributions to Orthopaedics Award

Vincent D. Pellegrini, Jr., MD, FAOA

2022 Winner of the Distinguished Clinician Educators Award

About the 2022 Award Winners

Cato T. Laurencin, MD, PhD is the University Professor, the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Professor of Materials Science, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Connecticut.  He is the CEO of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at UConn.

He earned his BSE in Chemical Engineering from Princeton, his MD, Magna Cum Laude, from the Harvard Medical School, and his PhD in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from MIT.

Dr. Laurencin is the pioneer of the field of Regenerative Engineering. In receiving the Spingarn Medal, he was named the world’s foremost engineer-physician-scientist. Dr. Laurencin pioneered the novel use of polymeric biomaterials for treating musculoskeletal conditions. His work spans fundamental basic science involving polymeric materials all the way to clinical trials and use to treat clinical problems. His versatile use of biomaterials in this area has resulted in an array of products that have helped improve the human condition.  In recognition of his breakthrough achievements, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers created the Cato T. Laurencin Regenerative Engineering Founder’s Award.

In orthopaedic surgery, he received the Nicolas Andry Award from the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons, the Marshall Urist Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society, and the Kappa Delta Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Dr. Laurencin is the first surgeon in history elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors.  He is the first person in history to receive both one of the oldest/highest awards of the National Academy of Medicine (the Walsh McDermott Medal) and the oldest/highest award of the National Academy of Engineering (the Simon Ramo Founder’s Award). The American Association for the Advancement of Science awarded Dr. Laurencin the Philip Hauge Abelson Prize given ‘for signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States’.

Dr. Laurencin is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America’s highest honor for technological achievement, awarded by President Barack Obama in ceremonies at the White House.

Dr. Pellegrini received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Dartmouth, and was awarded the Dean’s Valedictory Medal at Dartmouth Medical School. He completed an internship and residency in general surgery at Hartford Hospital followed by an orthopaedic residency and fellowship in surgery of the hand at the University of Rochester.

After holding faculty positions at Stanford University and the University of Rochester, he served as Professor and Department Chair of Orthopaedics for 27 years at three different institutions; from 1992-2001 at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, from 2001-2013 at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and from 2013-2019 at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he also served as Associate Dean for Medical Education and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at Clemson University. Since 2019 he has held the position of Professor and Vice Chair of Education and Research Affairs in the Department of Orthopaedics at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Professor in The Dartmouth Institute of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Dr. Pellegrini’s clinical interests are focused on arthritis surgery, including total hip and knee arthroplasty and surgery of the hand, and his research interests include basal joint arthritis of the thumb, venous thromboembolism complicating total joint arthroplasty, heterotopic ossification, and the biology of fracture healing. His research has been funded by the Department of Defense, the US Army, and PCORI, and has resulted in over 200 peer reviewed publications and the Charnley and Stinchfield Awards of the Hip Society, the Coventry Award of the Knee Society, and the Nicolas Andry Award of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons. He was an AOA North American Travelling Fellow in 1984-85 and the ASSH Sterling Bunnell Traveling Fellow in 1991-92.

Dr. Pellegrini has held leadership roles as President of the American Orthopaedic Association, The Hip Society, the Maryland Orthopaedic Association, the Medical Staff of the University of Maryland Medical Center, and as Chair of the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies of the AAMC and a member of the AAMC Board of Directors. He served as Deputy Editor of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and a member of the ACGME Residency Review Committee in Orthopaedic Surgery. Currently, he is an examiner for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and Chair of the Faculty Council at Geisel School of Medicine.

His greatest professional passion is for resident and medical student education and he has been responsible for the education of more than 100 orthopaedic residents and 20 resident research fellows. He is an avid mentor and an active supporter of the AOA and the missions of academic medicine.

View the AOA Award Winners Hall of Fame. Learn more about the Awards criteria, including how to submit a nomination.