Alvin H. Crawford, MD, FAOA
Honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession

Alvin H. Crawford, MD, FAOA is being recognized as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession for his leadership, mentoring, and lifelong contributions to orthopaedic surgery during his distinguished career. The champions for this effort on his behalf are Keith R. Gabriel, MD, FAOA and William L. Hennrikus, MD, FAOA.


Alvin H. Crawford graduated Cum Laude in Chemistry and Music from Tennessee State University. In 1964, he became the first African American to graduate from the University of Tennessee College Of Medicine, began his residency at Boston Naval Hospital and completed it at the combined Harvard University Orthopaedic Program. Fellowships include Otto Aufranc arthroplasty, Boston Children’s and A. I. DuPont Pediatric and Spine.

Dr. Crawford was Director of Orthopaedic Surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for 29 years and was awarded endowed Chairs in Pediatric Orthopaedics and Spinal Surgery and the Crawford Spine Center was dedicated in his name. He has lectured and/or performed surgery in 41 countries and trained 54 international fellows in Pediatric Orthopaedics and Spine Surgery.  Specializing in Scoliosis, he is considered an authority on video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and Neurofibromatosis in children.  A prolific author, publishing over 200 peer reviewed articles, more than 63 chapters, and six books. Cited as one of the Top 10 Educators in the first 100 Years of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, (only surgeon), and country’s best doctors since 1996.

He is currently an assistant in Jazz History at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Professor Emeritus in Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. In 2019, he initiated the Black Men in Medicine Cincinnati (BMIMC) to mentor, assist, and sustain the graduation of undergraduate medical students of color.

Dr. Crawford is a retired U.S. Naval Captain, has been married to Alva Jean for 59 wonderful years. He is father to Alvin (Charlotte) and Carole, and a proud grandfather to Mia, Elle and Uma. He is an avid musician and a tennis enthusiast.

The AOA gratefully acknowledges Dr. Crawford’s lasting legacy and significant contributions, especially in the area of pediatric orthopaedics, and proudly recognizes him as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession.


“It is unnecessary to repeat here a list of Dr. Alvin Howell Crawford’s numerous professional achievements.  He has been a role model for me since 1982, when he was a visiting professor at the US Naval Hospital, Oakland.  Eventually, again courtesy of the US Navy, I was privileged to experience a year of Dr. Crawford’s intense and very personal fellowship in Cincinnati.  Yes, he taught the science and techniques of pediatric orthopaedics; more importantly, he emphasized the appreciation and treatment of each child as a unique human being.  Dr. Crawford speaks of all his former Fellows as his children.  Indeed, he has been a constantly supportive mentor to each of us, and a personal friend for me across the past 37 years.  While I was a fellow, Dr. Crawford showed me his AOA necktie, and told me that I should aspire to membership in this organization.  It is a distinct pleasure to now see him receive the Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession award from our AOA.”

Keith R. Gabriel, MD, FAOA
Dr. Crawford’s Champion

“I met Dr. Al Crawford when I was a junior Naval officer and Dr. Crawford was a senior Naval officer. I was impressed with his talent, confidence,  charisma, leadership skills,  surgical skills, writing skills, speaking skills, athleticism, and musical expertise.  Dr. Crawford was the real deal.  When I decided to pursue a pediatric orthopaedic fellowship, I was humbled and honored by Dr. Crawford’s offer to act as a mentor for me during my future career.  He is committed to developing the careers of those around him. Dr. Crawford has trained, mentored, and inspired hundreds of orthopaedic residents and fellows. He has influenced an entire generation of orthopaedic surgeons.  Dr. Crawford epitomizes the definition of an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession.”

William L. Hennrikus, MD, FAOA
Dr. Crawford’s Champion

For a list of those who contributed to this Pillar honor, please click here.

If you are interested in becoming a Champion for an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession, you can find more information here.

Entire listing of AOA Pillars of the Orthopaedic Profession can be found here.