Augustus A. White III, the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education and professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, was recently honored with the fifth annual William W. Tipton Jr. M.D. Leadership Award for his work as an educator, mentor, and champion of diversity initiatives. The award, which includes a $5,000 honorarium, was presented to White at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
“I am surprised, humbled, and inspired to be receiving this award,” said White. “I feel particularly honored to be recognized among so many individuals I admire.”
Established by friends, colleagues, and organizations through AAOS and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), the Tipton Award honors the qualities exemplified by the late Dr. Tipton, including leadership, commitment to mentorship, diversity, bridge-building, and collaboration.
White has served as a mentor to Harvard medical students as a former master of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society, an organization committed to the promotion and support of the academic and professional development of Harvard’s medical students through a system of academic advising and a series of enrichment programs.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have some world-class mentors, starting with my parents, then on to my professors and my peers,” said White. “I firmly believe that giving students the opportunity to find a mentor also gives them a greater opportunity to be successful.”
In addition to his mentoring work, White dedicates much of his life to diversity-related issues. He is a founding member and founding president of the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society, a multicultural organization dedicated to advancing excellent musculoskeletal care for all patients, with particular attention to underserved groups. White also served as the inaugural chairman of the AAOS Diversity Committee.
After being the first African-American to graduate from Stanford University School of Medicine and the first African-American orthopedic resident at Yale Medical Center, White served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Vietnam and received a Bronze Star Medal. He later earned his Ph.D. in research on biomechanics of the spine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.