Henry H. Bohlman, MD, FAOA
Honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession

Henry H. Bohlman, MD, FAOA

Henry H. Bohlman, MD, FAOA is being honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession for his significant contributions to revolutionizing spine surgery and mentoring leaders in his specialty. He was an innovator and pioneer, designing several techniques for the management of several spinal pathologies while advocating the anterior approach to the spine. The champion for this effort on his behalf is Sanford E. Emery, MD, MBA, FAOA.


Dr. Henry Bohlman graduated from the University of Maryland Medical School in 1964 following an internship in Medicine and Pediatrics at University Hospital in Baltimore and a year of General Surgery. He then carried out his orthopaedic training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and in the middle of his residency carried out an NIH-sponsored fellowship for the Pathology of Fatal Craniospinal Injuries. Following a two-year tour in the Air Force, he came to University Hospitals in Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine as an instructor in orthopaedic surgery. He spent 27 years as Chief of the Acute Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Veterans Administration Medical Center and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of the University Hospitals Spine Institute.

Among his awards and honors, Dr. Bohlman was President of the Cervical Spine Research Society from 1988-1989, President of the Federation of Spine Associations in 1994 and was the Civilian National Consultant to the United States Air Force Surgeon General’s Office for spine surgery. In 2006, he was inducted in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars for Distinguished Contributions in the Field of Scholarship and received the Leon Wiltse Award from the North American Spine Society (NASS) for contributing greatly to the art and science of spinal disorder management through service to NASS. In 2008, he received the Nicolas Andry Award for Lifetime of Achievements in Spine Surgery.

Dr. Bohlman was consulting editor for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and the Journal Spine and he wrote or co-wrote hundreds of orthopaedic articles and presented hundreds of lectures around the United States and various countries around the world. He directed the Spine Fellowship Program at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center and helped train 81 domestic fellows, who proceeded to predominately full-time academic positions in this country. Also, there were 35 foreign fellows from other universities around the world who were trainees under Dr. Bohlman. In 2010, Dr. Bohlman was awarded the Distinguished Physician Award which is the University Hospital’s highest achievement for lifetime service.

The distinguished career of Henry H. Bohlman, MD, FAOA spanned over four decades at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. His legacy is preserved in his fellows who have become leaders in spine surgery throughout the world.

As a member of the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA) since 1993, Dr. Bohlman was a dedicated supporter of AOA programs and initiatives.

The AOA gratefully acknowledges Dr. Bohlman’s influential and significant contributions to the orthopaedic field and proudly recognizes him as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession.


“Henry Bohlman was a highly skilled surgeon and perceptive physician. He really pioneered the anterior approach in spine surgery, something we take for granted in the present. Henry’s greatest legacy, however, is as an educator. He hand-picked and trained a lineage of academic spine leaders – North American and international – who have continued to mold and influence the field of spine surgery. Virtually all have internalized his commitment to excellence, research, and mentorship. I know I am honored to have worked with him during and after my fellowship at Case Western in Cleveland, where Henry spent his entire career. I believe Henry’s residents and particularly his fellows would agree he fully deserves this honor as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession.“

– Sanford E. Emery, MD, MBA, FAOA
Dr. Bohlman’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.