James R. Ficke, MD, Colonel (ret), U.S. Army, FACS, FAOA
Honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession

James R. Ficke, MD, Colonel (ret), U.S. Army, FACS, FAOA is being recognized as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession for his leadership, mentoring, and lifelong contributions to the field of Orthopaedic Surgery during his distinguished career. The champions for this effort on his behalf are Kevin L. Kirk, DO, FAOA, Anthony A.J. Johnson, MD, LTC, MC, USA (RET), FAOA, and Dawn LaPorte, MD, FAOA.

Bio

Dr. Ficke has an active surgical practice focusing on Foot and Ankle reconstruction, trauma, and patients with limb loss. He is the Robert A. Robinson Professor, Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins University. He recently served as a member of the Committee on Trauma and Chair of the Disaster Committee, American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Ficke completed his BS degree in Engineering at West Point; M.D., at Uniformed Services University; and residency in orthopaedic surgery at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.  He completed an AO fellowship in trauma in Munich, Germany, and foot and ankle in Dallas, Texas. He is married to Roberta Ficke, M.D., and has three adult children, Heather, Benjamin, and Eric.

Retired after 30 years of service in the United States Army, his last military assignment was Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  He also served the U.S. Army Surgeon General as the senior advisor for Orthopaedic Surgery and extremity injuries for seven years. While on Active Duty, he deployed to Iraq as Senior Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Country, and Deputy Commander for the 228th Combat Support Hospital. He also served as the Chief of Staff for the Surgeon General’s Dismounted Complex Blast Injury Task Force, and the Army Lead for the DoD/VA Extremity Trauma and Amputee Center of Excellence Development Group. He served as Chair or Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the DoD Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program for eight years. He currently holds research grants with DoD and NIH and his primary research focus areas are clinical outcomes in post-traumatic ankle arthritis, National Trauma Systems Development, Resident Research Training (T32), and Disaster Response Improvement.

He has received the Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons’ COL Brian Allgood Memorial Leadership Award as well as the Surgeon General’s Major General Lewis Aspey Mologne Award for excellence in military academics, education, and clinical care. He is a Legionnaire in the Infantry Order of St. Michael, and a Distinguished Member of the Army Medical Regiment. He is an Eagle Scout. In 2018, he received the Johns Hopkins Award for Advancement of Women in Science and Medicine, and the Boy Scouts of America Leaders in Healthcare Award. In 2024, he was recognized by the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society with the annual “He For She” award.

From March 2020 thru June 2021, as a partnership between the Maryland State Department of Health, University of Maryland Medical System, and Johns Hopkins Health System, he organized and directed the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital as part of the Unified Maryland COVID-19 response. This organization provided care for over 1,400 inpatients; over 2,400 antibody infusions to treat persons with COVID; over 100,000 tests, and over 110,000 vaccinations, and was the longest continually operating such Alternate Care Site in the United States.

Currently, Dr. Ficke serves as Government Steering Committee Chair with the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation. He volunteers as Director for Team Red White & Blue, a veteran service organization of over 200,000 members; the Baltimore Area Council Boy Scout Board, and the Johns Hopkins Medical Board. In 2024, he accepted a 10-year term as Director for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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

Tribute

“Jim Ficke is a true servant leader. He has dedicated his life to service to our country and to orthopaedics. The “Ficke’s Pillars for Success” have helped numerous orthopedic surgeons obtain their goals and lead productive careers. He has served as the orthopedic consultant to the US Army Surgeon General, Chair of the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at Brooke Army Medical Center and currently Department Chair at Johns Hopkins University.  I have been fortunate to learn and mature, both professionally and personally, from his mentorship teachings.   This relationship has now developed into a permanent friendship.   It is because of these reasons that he represents the definition of an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession.”

Kevin L. Kirk, DO, FAOA
Dr. Ficke’s Co-Champion

“I have had the honor and privilege of working with Jim Ficke for the past 10 years.  Jim is the epitome of a pillar of the AOA and an unparalleled servant leader.  He has been a committed ally for women in Orthopaedics and an outstanding advocate and ally for increasing equity and inclusion and diversity in our field. He is an unparalleled role model for leadership for our medical students, residents, and faculty. Jim has been a mentor to me and to 100s of colleagues and trainees.  He has modeled the importance of integrity and transparency and has taught me that to lead is a verb and not a position to be held, as well as the importance of including the whole team in the vision and mission.  He cares deeply for patients and for all those around him.  In addition to being an outstanding mentor and leader, Jim is a wonderful friend and an inspiration in all he does – from Department Chair to ultramarathon runner to dedicated husband, father, and grandfather and more. Jim Ficke is a true leader in every sense of the word and embodies the definition of an AOA pillar of the orthopedic profession.”

Dawn LaPorte, MD, FAOA
Dr. Ficke’s Co-Champion

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.