Research Development Committee

Kappa Delta Award/OREF Clinical Research Award: Background

Kappa Delta

In 1947, at its Golden Anniversary, Kappa Delta Sorority announced the establishment of the Kappa Delta Research Fellowship in Orthopaedics, the first award ever created to honor achievements in the field of orthopaedic research. The first annual award, a single stipend of $1,000, was made available to the Academy in 1949 and presented at our annual meeting in 1950. The Kappa Delta Awards have been presented by the Academy at our annual meeting to persons who have performed research in orthopaedic surgery that is of high significance and impact.

In 1961, the sorority increased the number of awards from one to three, and over time their dollar value has been raised. At present, three annual awards of $20,000 each are given. Two awards are named for the national presidents who were instrumental in the creation of the awards: Elizabeth Winston Lanier and Ann Doner Vaughn. The third is known as the Young Investigator's Award.

In the years since their inception, the Kappa Delta Awards have totaled over a million dollars. The awards are bestowed for outstanding manuscripts that focus on basic and/or clinical research related to the musculoskeletal system. Many recipients have cited the Kappa Delta Awards as having been the decisive factor in encouraging them to continue in the field of research. The orthopaedic research awards are one of the four national philanthropies supported by Kappa Delta Sorority and the Kappa Delta Foundation.


In 1994, the Board of Trustees of the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation determined the need to encourage clinical research in orthopaedics. The Board created the OREF Clinical Research Award, and approved funding of $20,000 annually, beginning in 1995.

This award recognizes outstanding clinical research related directly to musculoskeletal disease or injury. Eligible applicants must be members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Orthopaedic Research Society, the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, the Canadian Orthopaedic Research Society. The winning paper is presented by the author at the Orthopaedic Research Society's annual meeting, and the award is presented to the recipient by an OREF representative at the Academy's annual meeting during the Kappa Delta Award presentations.