Scott D. Boden, MD, FAOA
Honored as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession

Scott D. Boden, MD, FAOA is being recognized as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession for his leadership, mentoring, and lifelong contributions to the field of Orthopaedic Surgery during his distinguished career. The champion for this effort on his behalf is Andrew C. Hecht, MD, FAOA.


Dr. Boden graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1986. He completed his orthopaedic residency training at George Washington University Medical Center (1991) and a spine fellowship with Henry H. Bohlman at Case Western Reserve University Hospital (1992).  He joined the Orthopaedic faculty at Emory University School of Medicine and rose to the rank of tenured Professor.   

Dr. Boden held numerous Orthopaedic and healthcare system leadership roles at Emory including the inaugural Director of The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center, the first CMO/CQO of the Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital, Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics, Vice President for Business Innovation, and the inaugural Chief Strategy Officer for Emory Healthcare and Woodruff Health Sciences Center.  His 30+ year contributions at Emory include creating the model for a fully integrated multi-disciplinary musculoskeletal service line, multiple new state of the art facilities, and forging long term partnerships with most all of Atlanta’s professional sports teams and other major business entities. 

Dr. Boden started and maintained a VA and NIH funded basic/translational laboratory research program focused on bone tissue regeneration, bone grafting for spinal fusion, and understanding of BMP signaling pathways.  His development and work with pre-clinical models was instrumental in gaining FDA approval of recombinant BMPs and other bone graft substitutes that have impacted countless patient lives.  His laboratory discovered the LMP-1 gene which enhances BMP signaling and has led to the development of osteinductive small molecules that may provide a more cost-effective alternative to recombinant BMPs.  He has over 200 peer reviewed publications, 25 textbook chapters, 50 patents, and has been awarded numerous research awards internationally including the Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award, The Volvo Award/ISSLS Prize, NASS Outstanding Research Award, and the Marshall Urist Young Investigator Award. 

Dr. Boden has been a dedicated member of the AOA and served in numerous capacities including Member at Large, Fellowship Committee, Critical Issues Committee, Program Chair, Resident and Emerging Leaders Committee Chair, Secretary, and President.  Dr. Boden’s vision was pivotal in developing the AOA Emerging Leaders Program to engage talented Orthopaedic leaders earlier in their career than traditional AOA membership would allow. He has held numerous leadership positions in other Orthopaedic organizations including Secretary of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Program Chair of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, President of Eastern Orthopaedic Association, and President of the International Society for Study of the Lumbar Spine. 

He and his wife Mary are the proud parents of triplet daughters (Lauren, Stephanie, Allison) and a fourth daughter (Susanne) all of whom are Orthopaedic Surgeons that will continue his passion for patient care, teaching, and research. Their son (Michael) has pursued a career in business, bucking the family tradition to forge his own path.

The AOA gratefully acknowledges Dr. Boden’s extensive and comprehensive impact on the orthopaedic community and recognizes him as an AOA Pillar of the Orthopaedic Profession. 


“Dr Boden is the ultimate ‘Pillar’ of orthopaedic surgery. He is one of the few true surgeon scientists within Orthopaedic Surgery. Since arriving at Emory over 30 years ago he has made his impact felt. He established the premier bone biology lab studying the biology of spinal fusion. His research on the biology of spinal fusion represents our fundamental understanding of this critical process. His primary research in osteoblast differentiation, bmp biology and small dug like molecules therapeutics all center around bone growth for fusion and other orthopaedic problems. He has one of the longest continuously funded NIH research programs. His research has also spanned all key areas of spine surgery. His papers are some of the most often cited in orthopaedics. He was a pioneer in establishing the “spine center” model bringing together orthopaedic spine surgeons, spinal neurosurgeons and interventionalists under one roof to enhance patient care. He served as the director of the world-famous Emory Spine Center for over 2 decades and now Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery. He most recently founded the free-standing Emory Orthopaedic and Spine Hospital. Under his direction the Emory Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has become one of the best departments in the US. His healthcare system recognized this visionary by making him System Vice President for Business Innovation and Strategic Partnership Development and most recently appointed him its first Chief Strategy Officer. Dr. Boden has trained hundreds of residents and nearly a hundred spine surgery fellows. However, I think his most incredible accomplishment is world class father and husband. He has found the elusive secret formula to having “balance” and presence in one’s life.”

Andrew C. Hecht, MD, FAOA
Dr. Boden’s Champion

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.