The Five Most Influential Women In Medicine

We spotlight five incredible female doctors who are breaking ground in the world of medicine.—May 12, 2014

Dr. Jo Hannafin, MD, PhD, president of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine

Fans of ABC’s hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy are no doubt familiar with Callie Torres, the sassy orthopedic surgeon who loves breaking her patients apart and putting them back together again. In the real world, though, the Callie Torreses of orthopedic surgery – that is, women – are few and far between.

In a medical field in which less than five percent of board-certified orthopedic surgeons are female, Dr. Jo Hannafin, MD, PhD, is a trailblazer. In 2013, Hannafin, Director of Orthopedic Research and a practicing orthopedic surgeon at the renowned Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, was named the first female president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the largest sports medicine society in the world with more than 3,000 members. Hannafin is also Orthopedic Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at Hospital for Special Surgery, which she co-founded in 1997 and is currently serving as the head team physician for the WNBA’s New York Liberty basketball team.

Certainly, being a trailblazer in any field or industry can be difficult or burdensome, but Hannafin insists that her path has been fairly stress-free. “I have not experienced any significant difficulties during my career, but I have been fortunate to have mentors who were relatively gender blind,” she says. “I am very passionate about my work as a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon, which has involved the care of athletes and active people, as well as research in areas designed to improve and impact patient care. That passion has permitted me to thrive and excel in this field.”

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