John J. Callaghan, MD, has served in key leadership roles at the AAOS and many other local, regional, and national orthopaedic organizations for more than two decades. When he assumes the AAOS presidency at the 2010 Annual Meeting, he will draw upon his extensive leadership experience to help chart the Academy’s course and respond to challenges its members face.


Published 3/1/2010
Jennie McKee

John J. Callaghan, MD: Dedicated to orthopaedics

Incoming AAOS president will focus on unity, quality, and Academy’s response to Haiti disaster

Education and career
Dr. Callaghan, who specializes in adult hip and knee joint reconstruction, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and Loyola Medical School in Chicago. He completed a hip fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and completed orthopaedic residency training at the University of Iowa.

He is currently the Lawrence and Marilyn Dorr Chair and professor in the departments of orthopaedics and bioengineering at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Dr. Callaghan has authored or co-authored more than 260 peer-reviewed publications and has received many honors and accolades, including numerous Frank Stinchfield and John Charnley Hip Society Awards, as well as the Knee Society’s Insall and Coventry Awards.

“During the past 20 years, we’ve made considerable progress in hip and knee replacement,” he said. “We’ve come to realize that the biggest problems for long-term durability are related to bearing surfaces. We are also making advances in our understanding of the causes of complications, such as dislocation.”

A passion for volunteering, fostering unity
Dr. Callaghan has served on many AAOS committees, including the Annual Meeting Program Committee, Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies (the predecessor to the Board of Specialty Societies), and the Council on Education. He has been president of the Iowa Orthopaedic Society, Mid-America Orthopaedic Association, Hip Society, and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.

A former chair of the Ortho-paedic Research and Education Foundation’s board of trustees, Dr. Callaghan has also been on the boards of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, the American Orthopaedic Association, the Orthopaedic Research Society, the Hip Society, and the Knee Society.

“Because I have been involved with many of our sister and partner organizations,” he said, “I have a good perspective on the challenges we share as well as areas in which our interests diverge.”

Defining “quality” and responding to disaster
The Academy will put a strong emphasis on defining and promoting “quality” as it relates to health care, as well as on continuing the efforts to help people injured in the earthquake in Haiti.

“The Haiti mission is now front and center,” said Dr. Callaghan. “We will continue to determine the resources needed and the structure that should be implemented to help the victims of that tragedy.

“As president of the AAOS,” he added, “I will ensure that the Academy continues to provide the highest quality education, research, communications, and advocacy efforts possible to its members and other musculoskeletal care providers around the world. It will be a great honor to serve the fellowship.”

Jennie McKee is a staff writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at

Get to know John
Would you like to find out more about the new AAOS president? Here are some fast facts about John J. Callaghan, MD:

  • Recognized as the 2007 Alumnus of the Year by Loyola Stritch School of Medicine
  • Twice honored by orthopaedic residents at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as “Teacher of the Year”
  • Has served as principal investigator of studies funded by grants from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, the Veterans Administration, and the National Institutes of Health
  • Has received five Hip Society Awards, two Knee Society Awards, the Orthopaedic Research & Education Foundation Clinical Research Award, the William H. Harris Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society, and the Nicholas Andre Award from the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons
  • Has served the federal government for more than 26 years, both in the U.S. Army and in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System
  • Has two children, Patrick and Katie, with Kim, his wife of more than 20 years. Patrick is a senior at the University of Notre Dame and will be attending Northwestern University Law School. Katie is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in theology and pre-professional studies.