Our History

New York Orthopaedic Hospital Clinical Staff circa 1920s.

Columbia Orthopedics' rich tradition in orthopedic surgery dates back to the founding of the New York Orthopaedic Dispensary in 1866–later renamed the New York Orthopaedic Hospital. Since that time, the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center has grown into a preeminent center for orthopedic education, research, and patient care.

The history of the New York Orthopaedic Hospital is a story of scientific and clinical progress, generosity in the care of needy patients, and collaboration among prestigious institutions dedicated to promoting the highest standard of excellence in orthopedic health and professional education.

At the time of the institution’s founding, orthopedic surgery was a nascent specialty. Dr. Charles Fayette Taylor, along with benefactors Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., Howard Potter, James M. Brown, and John Aspinwall, as well as other Trustees, established the New York Orthopaedic Dispensary in 1866.
Initially founded as a charitable organization “for the purpose of furnishing treatment to the poor, with special reference to diseases and deformities of the bones and joints requiring surgical and mechanical treatment, and for giving instruction in the same,” NYOH would evolve, but always remain focused on clinical and academic excellence in service to its patients.

Over the next 150 years, ten Surgeons-in-Chief would direct the New York Orthopaedic Hospital, now the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Their leadership, alongside the groundbreaking contributions of numerous orthopedic luminaries, would help carry on the core missions of the institution: patient care, research, and education.

Milestones in Columbia Orthopedics' History

  • 1859

    Dr. Taylor and the Roosevelts

    Dr. Charles Fayette Taylor treats Anna Roosevelt, sister of future president Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., for a spinal disease and gains an important financial sponsor - Theodore Roosevelt, Sr.

  • 1866

    New York Orthopaedic Dispensary Founded

    Founding of the New York Orthopaedic Dispensary (NYOD) at 1299 Broadway under the leadership of Dr. Charles Fayette Taylor, along with benefactors Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., Howard Potter, James M. Brown, and John Aspinwall, as well as other Trustees.

  • 1869

    Service to Patients in Need

    "This dispensary is organized for the purpose of furnishing treatment to the poor ... with special reference to the Diseases and Deformities of the Spine and Hip-joint and other of the more serious diseases of the bones and joints requiring surgical and mechanical treatment, and for giving instruction in the same." — New York Orthopaedic Dispensary Annual Report

  • 1873

    Expansion to New Facilities

    In response to the growing number of patients, NYOD moves to a location at 126 East 59th Street with new facilities, expanded services, and dedicated hospital beds

  • 1875

    New Name, Expanded Mission

    NYOD renamed as New York Orthopaedic Dispensary and Hospital, reflecting its expanded mission and addition of inpatient wards

  • 1876

    Dr. Newton Shaffer - 2nd Chief

    Dr. Newton Shaffer becomes Surgeon-in-Chief and continues Dr. Taylor's tradition of conservative, mechanical treatment

  • 1887

    National Leadership

    Dr. Virgin P. Gibney and Dr. Shaffer help established the American Orthopaedic Association

  • 1896

    A Modern operating room is built in a converted patient ward with funds donated by J.P. Morgan

  • 1899

    Dr. Russell A. Hibbs - 3rd Chief

    Dr. Russell A. Hibbs, appointed as Surgeon-in-Chief, performs the first successful operation to lengthen the Achilles tendon

  • 1902

    Expansion to Westchester County

    Opening of the Country Branch and Industrial school, a 40 acre facility in White Plains, NY

  • 1911

    World's First Spinal Fusion

    Dr. Hibbs performs the first successful vertebral fusion to prevent the progression of curvature of the spine, a technique that has been called the most important advance in scoliosis treatment in 3,000 years

  • 1916

    A State-of-the-Art Facility

    NYODH moves to a newly built facility at 420 East 59th Street, which includes dedicated facilities for adult patients

  • 1916

    A New Mission

    "Patients who suffer from chronic deforming diseases ... are not incurable, and orthopaedic surgery is giving abundant proof of that fact. We must no longer be bored by the chronically sick; we must stop sending them to someone else. We must give them hope." - Dr. Russell A. Hibbs

  • 1918

    Partnership with Columbia University

    Dr. Hibbs appointed as first Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

  • 1927

    Early Leadership in Surgical Education

    Annie C. Kane Fellowships in orthopedic surgery established - five years before the founding of the American Boards of Medical Sub-specialties

  • 1928

    The First Academic Medical Center

    Opening of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, and the Presbyterian Hospital Fracture Service

  • 1932

    Dr. Benjamin P. Farrell - 4th Chief

    Dr. Benjamin P. Farrell Succeeds Dr. Hibbs as Surgeon-in-Chief

  • 1940

    Dr. Alan DeForest Smith - 5th Chief

    Dr. Alan DeForest Smith appointed as Surgeon-in-Chief

  • 1945

    Merger with Columbia-Presbyterian

    NYOH merger with Columbia-Presbyterian  Medical Center approved and formalized

  • 1949

    Dr. Robert E. Carroll - The First Hand Service

    Establishment of the world's first specialized Hand Service by Dr. Robert E. Carroll

  • 1950

    A New Home at Columbia-Presbyterian

    NYOH relocated to new facilities on the 5th floor of the Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights

  • 1950

    Dr. Charles S. Neer, II – The First Shoulder Service

    Establishment of the world's first dedicated Shoulder Service by Dr Charles S. Neer, II

  • 1953

    World's First Humeral Head Arthroplasty

    Dr. Neer performs the first humeral head arthroplasty using a device of his own design, which is now in the collection of the Smithsonian.

  • 1956

    Dr. Frank E. Stinchfield - 6th Chief

    Dr. Frank E. Stinchfield appointed as Surgeon-in-Chief of NYOH and Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery

  • 1958

    Dr. Carroll establishes the first hand fellowship in the United States

  • 1963

    Dr. Frank E. Stinchfield

    "Every man should keep his own running score in the struggle for perfection and encourage the young doctor to do the same. Every student must be made to feel in his how mind and heart the need of contributing his best ability and devout care of his patient ... And, above all, he must acquire a feeling for ... the pursuit of excellence."

  • 1969

    Early Leaders in Hip Replacement

    One of the nation's first programs in total hip replacement is established by Dr. Frank E. Stinchfield and Dr. Nas S. Eftekhar

  • 1970

    Pioneering Work in Knee Replacement

    Dr. Eftekhar performs the first total knee arthroplasty to utilize a metal-backed tibial component and modular polyethylene inserts - the Mark I

  • 1973

    World's First Total Shoulder Replacement

    The world's first shoulder replacement resulting in full range of motion is performed by Dr. Neer

  • 1976

    Dr. Neer Establishes the first shoulder fellowship in the United States

    Dr. Louis U. Bigliani serves as Dr. Neer's first shoulder fellow

  • 1976

    Dr. Alexander Garcia - 7th Chief

    Dr. Alexander Garcia appointed as Surgeon-in-Chief, and is the first to hold the title of Frank E. Stinchfield Professor and Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery

  • 1979

    Division of Pediatric Orthopedics established with Dr. David P. Roye, Jr. as Director

  • 1984

    Dr. Harold M. Dick - 8th Chief

    Dr. Harold M. Dick appointed as Surgeon-in-Chief and Frank E. Stinchfield Professor and Chairman4

  • 1986

    Pioneering Orthopedic Research

    NYOH Research Laboratory reorganized under Van C. Mow, PhD

  • 1992

    Trauma Training Center Founded

    The Trauma Training Center is founded by Dr. Melvin P. Rosenwasser, teaching orthopedic trauma principles and techniques to Columbia residents & fellows, and physicians from around the world

  • 1995

    A Tradition of Excellence

    "We [must] never lose sight of our primary responsibility, which is to maintain and enhance the tradition of excellence in orthopedics, which stretches all the way back to Charles Fayette Taylor and the back brace he made for Anna Roosevelt." - Dr. Harold M. Dick

  • 1998

    Dr. Louis U. Bigliani - 9th Chief

    Dr. Louis U. Bigliani appointed as Surgeon-in-Chief and Frank E. Stinchfield Professor and Chairman

  • 1998

    A New Academic Home with Old History

    Relocation to new academic facilities on the 11th floor of the Presbyterian Hospital, the original home of the Presbyterian Hospital Fracture Service

  • 1998

    Training the Next Generation of Leaders

    Opening of the Arthroscopy Laboratory, offering state-of-the-art instruments for training & research in advanced arthroscopic surgical technique

  • 2014

    Dr. William N. Levine – 10th Chief

    Dr. William N. Levine appointed as Surgeon-in-Chief and Frank E. Stinchfield Professor and Chairman

  • 2015

    Establishment of The Spine Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian/Allen

  • 2016

    Celebrating 150 Years of Excellence

    NYOH/Columbia Orthopedics celebrates 150 years of excellence in orthopedic patient care, research, and education