It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Dr. Harlan Amstutz. Dr. Amstutz was a passionate orthopaedic surgeon who was world renowned for his innovation in joint replacements. He served as chair of the UCLA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery from 1970-1989.
Born in Santa Monica, Harlan Amstutz stayed local for college and attended UCLA as an undergraduate student athlete on the varsity basketball team. He continued his education here in Westwood as a medical student, graduating in 1956.
He completed orthopaedic residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and went on to an N.I.H.-funded fellowship at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London. Dr. Amstutz then proudly served in the United States Air Force from 1961 to 1963. Dr. Amstutz served on the faculty of HSS from 1965-1970, before returning to UCLA to lead the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1970.
Over the next 40 years, Dr. Amstutz had a career that is nearly unparalleled in influence and accomplishment. He is widely credited as the father of surface replacement hip arthroplasty, he started the UCLA Clinical Evaluation Unit (CEU) to look at outcomes of surgical procedures, and he founded the bioengineering laboratories and the PhD program in biomedical engineering at UCLA.
He authored or co-authored 335 refereed journal articles, over 500 abstracts and 75 chapters. He has over 1,000 national and international presentations, and 76 invited lectureships, as well as holding 13 patents.
Dr. Amstutz was elected to the Royal College of Surgeons in England (one of only seven American orthopaedic surgeons), was named the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus of HSS in 2010, was the president of the ORS (1973), the ABOS (1984), the AOA (1992), the Hip Society (2000) and was an ABC Traveling Fellow in 1970.
He won the John Charnley Award six times (1977, ’84, ’90, ’94, ’00, ’06). His pioneering work in our field left an indelible mark on our department and countless patients, here and abroad.
After an illustrious career as an academic orthopaedic surgeon spanning over five decades, Dr. Amstutz retired to Hawaii. He was active working on orthopaedic science with members of our faculty until just last month.
He leaves his legacy with his wife Patti and their children, Julie, Mark and Catherine. Please join us in wishing his family our deepest condolences.
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