Skip to main content

Robert V. O’Toole, MD Named the Inaugural Hansjörg Wyss Medical Foundation Endowed Professor in Orthopaedic Trauma

March 12, 2015

Robert V. O’Toole, MD

His Research Focuses On Reducing Complications of Trauma

Robert V. O’Toole, MD, was named the inaugural Hansjörg Wyss Medical Foundation Endowed Professor in Orthopaedic Trauma on March 9, 2015. The ceremony, which took place in Westminster Hall, also honored Hansjörg Wyss for his generous support of medical research.

“I am deeply honored to receive this professorship,” said Dr. O’Toole. “I am confident that the discoveries we make about how to treat trauma and other medical problems will make a real difference to patients.” He thanked Mr. Wyss for his support, as well as his colleagues, coworkers, teachers, mentors and family.

Endowed professorships provide faculty with critical resources needed to sustain and expand promising research, launch innovative clinical initiatives, and educate and train future physicians. The University of Maryland School of Medicine has more than 70 endowed chairs and professorships. Faculty members such as Dr. O’Toole are crucial to helping the School of Medicine maintain high standards in research and patient care.

“Endowed professorships allow us to expand our innovative, important work even further,” said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. “These professors inspire students and make new discoveries. Dr. O’Toole has been a leader clinically, in the lab and in the classroom, and he richly deserves this honor. I congratulate him, and express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Wyss.”

Dr. O’Toole, a Professor of Orthopaedics at UM SOM, is head of the school’s Division of Orthpaedic Traumatology and Chief of Orthopaedics for the University of Maryland Medical Center’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

He is widely recognized as a leading researcher in orthopaedic trauma. He has won a number of awards for his research, and is an author on more than 70 peer-reviewed publications. He has also received multiple awards for his teaching, including the Howard Rosen Table Instructor of the Year Award from the AO Foundation. He is a three-time recipient of the Shock Trauma Hero Award from the Shock Trauma Center. “Dr. O’Toole’s research focus on the prevention and management of infection and other complications after fractures, combined with his passion for teaching, makes him the ideal recipient of the Professorship,” said Andrew N. Pollak, MD, the James Lawrence Kernan Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics. “I can think of no one better suited to work towards fulfilling the vision Hanjorg Wyss had in creating this Professorship.”

Dr. O’Toole received lavish praise from three of his mentors from medical school and residency at Harvard, and several colleagues at UM SOM, including, Dr. Pollak and Thomas M. Scalea, MD, Honorable Francis X. Kelly Distinguished Professor in Trauma Surgery and director of the Program in Trauma. “He’s a superb clinician. He’s a wonderful scientist,” said Dr. Scalea. “But what makes Bob so effective is that he’s an incredibly decent human being.”

O’Toole has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and an M.D. from Harvard University. After completing a fellowship in Orthopaedic Traumatology at Shock Trauma, Dr. O’Toole was appointed Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at UM SOM.

Hansjörg Wyss is now Chairman Emeritus of Synthes, Inc., which transformed the medical device market and changed the surgical approach to healing traumatic injuries. He is an active philanthropist whose giving fosters new ideas and new collaborations in a wide range of areas, including medical research, education, the arts, economic opportunity, conflict resolution and land conservation.

Wyss strongly supports medical research, education and training. He is a founder of the AO Foundation, a medically guided nonprofit led by an international group of surgeons who specialize in the treatment of trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

As part of the ceremony, an engraved medal was presented to Dr. O’Toole to wear at formal school ceremonies. In appreciation for his generosity, Mr. Wyss will receive an identical framed medal.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

The University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 and is the first public medical school in the United States and continues today as an innovative leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland and is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 43 academic departments, centers and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists plus more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S. with top-tier faculty and programs in cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, vaccine development and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the nation, but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world.


Office of Public Affairs
655 West Baltimore Street
Bressler Research Building 14-002
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1559

Contact Media Relations
(410) 706-5260

Robert V. O’Toole