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Department remembers two former faculty members

Paul DeRosa, MD, and James Strickland, MD

Paul DeRosa, MD, and James Strickland, MD

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in 2022 lost two of its most celebrated former faculty members.

James W. Strickland, MD, and G. Paul DeRosa, MD, died in April and October, respectively. Both gentlemen were alumni of IU School of Medicine who then joined the faculty and made notable impacts while training a new generation of orthopaedic surgeons.

DeRosa served as chair of the department from 1986 to 1995, guiding the program to unprecedented growth. Strickland earned emeritus status and was posthumously awarded the school’s Distinguished Medical Alumni Award for 2022.

After attending Indiana University as an undergrad, Strickland enrolled in IU School of Medicine. He graduated and began his orthopaedic surgery residency with the department in 1962. For two years in the middle of his training, Strickland left residency to serve as a captain and chief orthopedic surgeon in the United States Air Force-Medical Corps. He completed a fellowship in hand surgery in 1969 at Northwestern University Medical School.

Strickland then joined the faculty of IU School of Medicine as a clinical professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He founded the Indiana Hand Center, which was the first clinical practice in Indiana solely dedicated to disorders of the upper extremity. It is nationally respected for its fellowship program. Later in life, Strickland founded Reconstructive Hand to Shoulder of Indiana in Carmel, Indiana; and helped implement the hand surgical programs at Franciscan Health in Greenwood, Indiana, and Rush Memorial Hospital in Rushville, Indiana.

He was past president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. A revered and beloved teacher, he trained more than 140 fellows in his career and published more than 231 articles, chapters and commentaries. He held 11 patents and developed four distinct surgical techniques.

Similarly, DeRosa had a profound impact on the field of orthopaedic surgery, the department, and many of the young doctors trained by IU School of Medicine.

DeRosa was the valedictorian of his class at the University of Notre Dame and came to IU School of Medicine in 1965. He completed a rotating internship at St. Vincent Hospital followed by his orthopaedic surgery residency program at IU.

He further trained to be a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children in London from 1969 to 1970. He then served in the Air Force for two years at the rank of major.

DeRosa joined the orthopaedic faculty at IU School of Medicine in 1970 as an assistant professor and continued an illustrious career as an accomplished surgeon, an educator, a mentor to learners at all levels, and leader at local and national levels.

DeRosa served as the department chair from 1986 to 1995, overseeing great growth within the department. He then took the position of Executive Director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery until 2008 when he retired at Executive Director Emeritus.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Caitlin VanOverberghe

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a communications coordinator for the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she supports the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Ophthalmology. Having earned degrees in journalism and telecommunications ...