For nearly 50 years, S. Terry Canale, MD, has served his patients and his profession. During that time, says AAOS Past President James H. Beaty, MD, "he has been a leader in every stage of his career and in every organization that has been fortunate enough to have him as an involved member."
During the AAOS Annual Meeting, the Academy recognized Dr. Canale's groundbreaking efforts in education, research, and patient-centered care by presenting him with the William W. Tipton Jr, MD, Leadership Award.
"Terry is one of those individuals who, when recognized by his peers and put in a position of leadership, has not only actually done the job, but also has added vision and innovation and successful new ventures to every organization with which he has been involved," wrote Dr. Beaty in his nominating letter.
"I cannot think of a person who is more deserving of this award than Dr. Canale," agreed AAOS Past-President John J. Callaghan, MD. "He possesses and embraces an incredible desire to serve—with passion and enthusiasm—whenever he is asked."
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Dr. Canale received his MD from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 1967. He went on to an orthopaedic residency at Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia) and spent a year at the U.S. Army hospital in Fort Hood, Texas. He joined the staff of the Campbell Clinic in 1974, eventually becoming chief of staff (1994–2001).
He currently is professor and chairman of the University of Tennessee-Campbell Clinic (UTCC) department of orthopaedic surgery and president of the Campbell Foundation. Dr. Canale serves or has served with 18 civic organizations in and around the Memphis, Tenn., area, including St. Peters Orphanage, University Club of Memphis, First City Bank Board of Directors, Synergy Foundation Board of Directors, Shelby County Drug Court, and the Greater Memphis Arts Council.
Throughout his career, he has been active in a number of local, regional, and national orthopaedic specialty organizations, including the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA), the AAOS, and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA). He is former president of both POSNA (1989–1990) and AAOS (2000–2001). He has also served as president of the Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies (now the Board of Specialty Societies) and chaired the board of directors of Orthopaedics Overseas (now Health Volunteers Overseas) as well as the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF).
The "write" choice
Dr. Canale has contributed significantly to the orthopaedic literature in both journals and textbooks. He has served as editor for Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics (9th through 12th editions) and is working on the 13th edition, to be published in 2017. He served as co-editor of two editions of a pediatric orthopaedic text, and has contributed to a number of other orthopaedic texts and journals.
AAOS members will also remember the editorials he penned as editor-in-chief of AAOS Now, the Academy's member newsmagazine. Two of those commentaries—A Fat Nation Needs to Be in Motion (May 2013) and Confessions of an Orthopaedic Surgeon (November 2014)—earned Gold Awards from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors. Never one to mince words, Dr. Canale frequently expressed his beliefs that orthopaedic surgery was "the most satisfying of all medical specialties" and that orthopaedic surgeons were "the finest group of physicians anywhere." Even in his final editorial, he admitted, "I still have lots to say on just about any topic."
In an editorial on leadership (Am I Leading Yet? AAOS Now, May 2008), Dr. Canale noted that "it sometimes is difficult to see leadership right in front of our own eyes," but pointed to the Leadership Fellows Program and the Tipton Leadership Award as "wise investments in the future of our specialty."
He led the campaign to measure how the public viewed orthopaedic surgery (in 1998, as a high-tech, low-touch specialty). In response to that survey, he took steps to ensure that the public improved its viewpoint. He was the founder—as well as a teacher and coach—of the AAOS Communications Skills Mentoring Program. He championed the Academy's "Sign Your Site" surgical safety program and chaired a task force on wrong-site surgery.
Research and education
His interest in research and education led him to a long-term position on the Resident Research Committee, positions of leadership in the educational efforts of POSNA and the AAOS, and time as president and chair of the OREF board of directors. He was instrumental in the development of the basic science research arm of the UTCC department of orthopaedic surgery and helped to recruit several prominent researchers to this department.
Dr. Canale was among the founders of the Orthopaedic Learning Center (OLC). As chair of the UTCC orthopaedic department, he negotiated with university and hospital officials to ensure an optimal learning environment for orthopaedic residents. During his time on the OREF board of directors, he oversaw a staffing restructure leading to an increased role in fundraising for both education and research. As president of POSNA, he initiated efforts to build both education and research endowments.
"As an academic faculty member, Dr. Canale has been involved in the education of approximately 5,500 medical students, 300 orthopaedic residents, 20 pediatric orthopaedic fellows, and countless national and international observers," noted Dr. Beaty.
"It is impossible to even estimate the number of orthopaedic surgeons he has instructed during AAOS CME courses, skills courses, and annual meeting instructional courses," he added.
"When one looks at a career identified with leadership, Dr. Canale's name always rises to the top," said AAOS Past-President Stuart L. Weinstein, MD.
"Whether it's local, regional, or national, Dr. Canale has served in key leadership roles; he has essentially chaired every one of the educational committees or work groups within the AAOS," added Dr. Weinstein.
The picture of a leader
Outside his professional life, Dr. Canale is an accomplished artist; his works have been displayed both locally and nationally. From drawing surgical procedures and orthopaedic conditions on the examining table sheets to explain them to patients, Dr. Canale turned to "slinging" paint on canvas, eventually declaring himself a "folk artist."
His entry in the AAOS "Wounded in Action" exhibit showed the "dual role of many orthopaedic surgeons during times of war. They must be not only physicians but also warriors. Especially during and since World War II, orthopaedists have developed many innovative and effective techniques for treating war injuries and for rehabilitating injured soldiers."
In accepting the award, Dr. Canale said, "It is an honor to receive an award named after Dr. Tipton, who made countless contributions to the advancement of orthopaedic care. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in so many AAOS leadership roles which have allowed me to help carry on his legacy of orthopaedic education and innovation."
He and his wife, Sissie, have two children and three grandsons.