Augustus A. White, III, MD, PhD, FAOA
Honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession

Augustus A. White, III, MD, PhD, FAOA is being recognized as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession for his leadership, mentoring, and lifelong contributions to orthopaedic surgery during his distinguished career. The champions for this effort on his behalf are George S.M. Dyer, MD, FAOA, Serena S. Hu, MD, FAOA, and Michael J. Yaszemski, MD, PhD, FAOA.


Augustus A. White, III, MD, PhD was the Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, MA, for 13 years. Today, he is the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School (HMS), former Professor of the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and former Advisory Dean of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society at HMS. He currently serves as the Director of the Culturally Competent Care Education Program at HMS.

Dr. White completed his MD at Stanford Medical School, his internship at the University of Michigan Medical Center, his general surgery resident at Presbyterian Medical Center San Francisco and his orthopedic residency at Yale Medical Center.  He then joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a combat surgeon in Vietnam in service for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. Following that, 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 returned to Yale and became a full Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of the Engineering Laboratory for Musculoskeletal Disease, which he co-founded and developed. Over the years, he trained 25 spine surgeons in the Daniel E. Hogan Spine Fellowship Program, which he directed. 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 health care management, he completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School where he was invited by his classmates to be a speaker at their graduation. Dr. White has received eight Honorary Degrees throughout the course of his career.

Throughout his career, Dr. White has committed himself to issues of diversity, and is nationally recognized for his work in medical education and issues of health care disparities. Equality and diversity are values athletes embrace early on in their careers. Gus White learned these ideals on the football field and in his professional life.  His commitment to these values went far towards Brown’s Alumni Magazine naming him as one of the 100 Brown graduates who “had the greatest influence in the 20th century. He is the founding President of the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society, an organization dedicated to the enrichment of diversity in the orthopedic profession.  In 2006, Dr. White was presented the Diversity Award by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and in 2010, the same organization honored him with the William W. Tipton, Jr., MD Leadership Award for outstanding leadership in orthopedics. Dr. White is the first individual to receive both these Awards.

Dr. White received the Humanitarian Award on November 4, 2021, Movement is Life ™ Catalyst for Change, in honor of his lifetime of work to serve all fellow human beings, his enduring quest for healthcare equity, his passion for all to embrace human dignity, and his guidance as the soul and conscience of Movement is  Life.

The AOA gratefully acknowledges Dr. White’s extensive and comprehensive impact on the orthopaedic community and recognizes him as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession. 


“By helping to lead this campaign to recognize Dr. White as a Pillar of the AOA, I get to be called a “Champion.”  But that feels a little silly, since Dr. White has been one of my first and best Champions since I was a medical student.  He defines the term “Champion” actually.  He’s been helpful in public ways, and also behind the scenes.  He’s opened doors for me, and then most importantly he’s made sure I’ve followed through on the opportunities he’s created.  When I’ve had trouble or questions, he’s been there for advice and counsel.   It is my great honor to be part of this effort to thank my Champion, Gus White, for all he’s done for me, and countless others like me.” 

George S.M. Dyer, MD, FAOA
Dr. White’s Champion

“Dr. White is really a giant in medicine, orthopedics, spine care and leadership.  He has made so many contributions to these communities, blazed so many trails. His overriding goal in all his endeavors was to better the lives of his patients, his colleagues and those who followed after him.  His curiosity about life and medicine, his willingness to gently but persistently question and improve the status quo, and his excellence in all fields he touched are to be admired and emulated.   Yet his modesty and generosity truly capture the essence of his tribute and motto, “Hello fellow humans.”

Serena S. Hu, MD, FAOA
Dr. White’s Champion

For a list of those who contributed to this Pillar honor, please click here.

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.