Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, FAAOS, (right) was honored with the 2024 William W. Tipton Jr, MD, Leadership Award during the Your Academy event at the AAOS 2024 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Dr. Jacobs received the award from AAOS Past President Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, FAAOS (left).


Published 5/29/2024
Rebecca Araujo

Tipton Leadership Award Winner Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, Finds Success through Empowering Others to Succeed

At the AAOS 2024 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, FAAOS, received AAOS’ highest leadership honor, the William W. Tipton Jr, MD, Leadership Award. Dr. Jacobs was presented the award for his years of leadership within his institution, RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago, as well as his service to the orthopaedic profession at large.

The Tipton Leadership Award recognizes AAOS members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities that have benefitted the orthopaedic community, patients, and/or the American public. The award honors and celebrates the life, accomplishments, and qualities of the late William W. Tipton Jr, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon, educator, and former AAOS chief executive officer.

Commitment to the profession
Dr. Jacobs is the William A. Hark, MD/Susanne G. Swift Professor and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at RUSH University Medical Center, where he has served as chairman of the department for 16 years. He completed his medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, followed by an orthopaedic surgery residency at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program in Boston.

He joined RUSH University to pursue an adult reconstruction fellowship, and he has remained ever since. He has dedicated his career to supporting and leading the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, along with various roles at RUSH, including the vice provost for research of RUSH University and the vice president for research at RUSH University Medical Center. He also served as the vice dean for research of RUSH Medical College from 2015 to 2024.

A prolific investigator, Dr. Jacobs has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles. He is currently a leader on two large, multicenter National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and has received numerous awards for his research, including the Orthopaedic Research Society/Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation Distinguished Investigator Award in 2020 and the AAOS Kappa Delta Ann Doner Vaughn Award in 2002. Dr. Jacobs’ work has contributed greatly to the understanding of the clinical impact of tribocorrosion, the utility of serum metal testing in the clinical evaluation of patients with orthopaedic implants, and the biology of periprosthetic osteolysis.

Aside from his dedication to his institution and department, Dr. Jacobs’ leadership extends to the entire field of orthopaedics. He is past president of AAOS (2013–2014) and past vice president of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (2019–2020). In addition, he was president of the Orthopaedic Research Society (2006–2007), was president of the Hip Society (2019–2020), and is the current president of the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation. Within AAOS, he has been a dedicated volunteer leader for 30 years, contributing across a variety of committees, forums, councils, and events.

Leading by example
Much of Dr. Jacobs’ work at RUSH University has been focused on mentoring and uplifting his peers and the next generation of orthopaedic surgeons. He spent 15 years as the program director for RUSH’s orthopaedic surgery residency program and has mentored numerous trainees and research faculty. According to Brett R. Levine, MD, MS, FAAOS, who is also a professor of orthopaedic surgery at RUSH, their department’s high caliber of success is due in large part to Dr. Jacobs’ efforts: “As a mentor, he managed to guide many of his faculty (including myself) into leadership roles in regional, national, and international organizations,” Dr. Levine said. “He is passionate, empathetic, and among the best mentors and role models I know.”

Dr. Jacobs’ work has helped bring the residency and fellowship programs “into a new age” by focusing on fostering diversity among the trainees, according to Dr. Levine. “We have graduated the most female adult reconstruction fellows in the country, and he remains a staunch proponent of being fair, diverse, and inclusive. Dr. Jacobs has brought diversity to our department and values the qualities of all as an open-minded leader,” Dr. Levine said. As a testament to his commitment to health equity, Dr. Jacobs is a principal investigator on an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award titled “Advancing Health toward Health Equity throughout Metropolitan Chicago.”

“In the various leadership roles that I have undertaken in my own professional and personal life, I aspired to be a true ‘servant leader’ by empowering those that I have led and by recognizing that success as a leader is determined by the success of those that are led. Individuals are not born leaders—they become leaders by virtue of being good followers,” Dr. Jacobs shared. “My leadership style represents an amalgamation of the lessons I have learned and the wisdom I have gleaned by following several influential mentors.”

To that end, Dr. Jacobs cited his own mentors as the reason for his success as a leader within the field and at his institution. “I am very grateful to the numerous mentors whom I have followed over the years, including Eugene Lautenschlager, PhD, who inspired scientific inquiry during my undergraduate engineering education; Gunnar Andersson, MD, PhD, who served as a role model of an effective academic department chair during my time as a junior faculty member; Aaron Rosenberg, MD, who inspired me to embrace knowledge and wisdom beyond my subspecialty interests as I matured as a surgeon; and particularly Jorge Galante, MD, DSc, who, from my time working in his laboratory during medical school through my joint replacement fellowship and my early and mid-career as an academic orthopaedic surgeon at RUSH, taught me how to integrate my love of science and research with my passion for patient care. Dr. Galante inspired me to channel my quest for knowledge into research aimed at improving the outcomes of total joint replacement,” he said.

Dr. Jacobs’ gratitude extends to those whose lives he has touched and who have worked to support him throughout his career, both in his professional and personal endeavors. “Leaders are only as good as the people that they lead. I am grateful for the many, many talented and dedicated volunteers and staff of AAOS and other organizations that I have had the privilege to lead. I am also grateful to my spectacular colleagues at RUSH, who have provided me the opportunity to lead and had confidence in my ability to lead,” he said. “Finally, none of this would have been possible without the steadfast support of my beautiful wife, Faye, and my three wonderful children, Ross, Max, and Eve. I wish to express my profound gratitude to AAOS for this high honor.”

Rebecca Araujo is the managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at