Richard H. Gelberman, MD, a world-renowned expert in hand and wrist microsurgery, and James V. Wertsch, PhD, founding director of one of the most successful and innovative global scholarship programs in the world, will receive the university’s 2013 faculty achievement awards, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced.Gelberman, the Fred C. Reynolds Professor and head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, will receive the Carl and Gerty Cori Faculty Achievement Award. Wertsch, vice chancellor for international affairs, director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy and the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences, will receive the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award.
They will receive their awards and give presentations of their scholarly work during a Dec. 7 program.
“I am pleased that we are recognizing two of Washington University’s most distinguished scholars with the 2013 faculty achievement awards,” Wrighton said. “Both recipients have enjoyed rewarding, productive careers and both have contributed significantly to the university. I join with the faculty of Washington University in congratulating Dr. Gelberman and Dr. Wertsch on this impressive honor.”
When Gelberman joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1995 as the first head of orthopaedic surgery, the department included 14 full-time faculty, had no NIH-funded research and was ranked 48 of 50 orthopaedic surgery departments included in U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Following years of a concerted effort to add top-tier clinicians and researchers, the department, under Gelberman’s leadership, now has 48 faculty members, is ranked in the U.S. News top 10 and, with more than $5 million in annual grant support, has more NIH funding than any other orthopaedic surgery department in the United States.
Gelberman, who is also orthopaedic surgeon-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, is a past president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
He studies connective tissue — the ligaments, tendons and muscles that allow us to move — and much of his NIH-funded research focuses on tendon healing. He also investigates fractures in the wrist, carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve injuries.
Born in New York, Gelberman grew up in Asheville, N.C. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis.
He did his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Wisconsin and fellowships in hand and microvascular surgery at Duke University Medical Center and in pediatric orthopaedic surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital.
He is a graduate of the Executive Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and has an honorary master’s degree from Harvard Medical School.
Among his honors, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2003 and he received the Distinguished Clinician Educator Award from the American Orthopaedic Association in 2008.
The author of more than 250 scientific papers and editor of three books and 25 book chapters, he also serves on the editorial boards of eight medical publications.
Wertsch has led the McDonnell International Scholars Academy since its inception in 2005. The academy’s mission is to develop future global leaders by recruiting outstanding graduates of leading research partner institutions from around the world for PhD or professional degree programs at WUSTL.
Under Wertsch’s leadership, the McDonnell Academy has grown from having 15 leading Asian universities as partners to having 28 leading universities from around the world as partners.
In addition to his work with the McDonnell Academy, he holds faculty appointments in anthropology, education, international and area studies, and psychology, all in Arts & Sciences.
Since joining WUSTL’s faculty in 1995 as professor and chair of the Department of Education, he has played a major role in developing several areas of research and teaching in Arts & Sciences, including the International and Area Studies Program.
A fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wertsch is an expert on collective memory and identity. He has particular interest in how these issues play out in Russia, Estonia and the Republic of Georgia.
He is working on several projects in the Republic of Georgia, including collaboration with colleagues on efforts to understand the emergence of civil society and democracy in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as in the United States.
After earning a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1975, Wertsch spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in Moscow, where he studied linguistics and neuropsychology. He then went on to hold faculty positions at Northwestern University, the University of California, San Diego, and Clark University.
Wertsch holds honorary degrees from Linköping University in Sweden and the University of Oslo, and he is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Education.
He is a guest professor at the University of Oslo, Tsinghua University in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai.