Arthur M. Pappas, MD, FAOA
Honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession

Arthur M. Pappas, MD, FAOA

Arthur M. Pappas, MD, FAOA is being recognized as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession for his role as a pioneering visionary and tireless founding architect of the UMass Medical School and chair of the Department of Orthopedics & Physical Rehabilitation. His many accomplishments were primarily in the areas of sports medicine, and rehabilitation and the special challenges faced by children born with severe physical disabilities.


Dr. Pappas graduated from Harvard College and the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and received his medical training at Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He spent two years in the U.S. Navy doing research at the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Maryland. As an orthopaedic educator, Dr. Pappas built the preeminent orthopedic surgery residency training program at UMass Medical School, developing orthopaedists for leadership positions. The champions for this effort on his behalf are David C. Ayers, MD, FAOA and Norman E. Beisaw, MD.

He worked to make the resources of academic medical centers available to community hospitals and initiated an affiliate hospital system in 1991. These actions were fundamental to ensuring the availability of academic physicians at community hospitals throughout central and western Massachusetts, benefitting residents and patients alike.

Dr. Pappas served as Vice President for Affiliate Relations for UMass Memorial Health Care, was Professor of Pediatrics at UMass Medical School and Chair of the Board of Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital in Worcester, chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Massachusetts Hospital School in Canton, Mass., which serves severely handicapped children.

He held numerous other leadership roles, including medical director for the Boston Red Sox (1978 to 2003), president of the Association of Professional Baseball Physicians, president of the Massachusetts Amateur Sports Foundation, president of the New England Rehabilitation Services of Central Massachusetts and director of Health Services for Handicapped Children.

He has received many honors and awards—including the Massachusetts Hospital School’s Edward H. Bradford Lifetime Achievement Award for Program Development for Handicapped Children, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Shining Star Award from UMass Children’s Medical Center, and the Physician Achievement Award and the Dr. Marian Ropes Award from the Arthritis Foundation, and the Dr. A. Jane Fitzpatrick Community Service Award from the Worcester District Medical Society.

The AOA acknowledges Dr. Pappas’ lasting legacy and significant contributions and recognizes him as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession.


“Dr. Arthur Pappas was a wonderful mentor to me when I was appointed the Pappas Chair of Orthopedics in 2003. I witnessed the incredible impact Dr Pappas had on a large network of residents and fellows for whom he served as a role model of professionalism and compassion for over 40 years. He instilled in them his love of orthopedics and his zeal for teaching. Perhaps best known for his innovative work with the Boston Red Sox pitchers, Dr Pappas’ true passion was caring for his pediatric orthopaedic patients. He developed a Commonwealth-wide network and spearheaded philanthropic events to ensure its success. As the inaugural Chair of Orthopedics upon the opening of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Dr. Pappas was instrumental in not only the success of the Department but of the entire academic Healthcare System. It is a privilege for me to co-champion Dr. Arthur Pappas as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopedic Profession.”

– David C. Ayers, MD, FAOA
Dr. Pappas’ Champion


“I am privileged to champion the AOA Pillar of the Orthapaedic Profession effort honoring Dr. Arthur M. Pappas (posthumously). We first met at Boston Children’s Hospital in 1965, and I observed his leadership as his resident, colleague, and friend for over 50 years. Physically he was a powerful man with a kind face and gentle heart. In 1972, he returned to the community where he was born and loved becoming the first Chair of Orthopedics at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine. During his 40 plus years at UMass, he developed an outstanding department, residency, and fellowship program that is nationally recognized. He led, instructed, and mentored nearly 125 residents and fellows.  He taught by example with a high level of expectation, and his leadership gave all of us the foundation to enjoy and share the pleasures of success.

His quiet, bottom line management style and loyalty were legendary. If you were wrong or in trouble but were straight and honest with him, he had your back. He portrayed firmness with kindness, exuded strength with quiet humility, and allowed freedom with boundaries. His love and compassion for children was a role model for all to emulate. His development of state-wide programs for children and philanthropy to his community continue to be a gold standard for the nation. Dr. Pappas’s favorite quotation was “A hundred years from now … it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, nor the kind of car I drove … but that the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

– Norman E. Beisaw, MD
Dr. Pappas’ 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.