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For Release: September 17, 2010
David Corriveau, Media-Relations Officer, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dartmouth Medical School, at or 603-653-1978.

Mirza to lead orthopaedics

Sohail Mirza, M.D., M.P.H.

Lebanon, N.H.—Sohail K. Mirza, M.D., M.P.H., a veteran spine surgeon and medical educator, has been named chair of the Department of Orthopaedics at Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). His appointment follows the leadership of James N. Weinstein, D.O., M.S. who founded the department in 2003.

A professor of orthopaedics at DMS, Mirza takes the reins of the department after two years as the vice chair and an attending surgeon. He is leading the Dartmouth Spine Center's training of general internal-medicine doctors to care for patients suffering lower-back pain, with the aims of lowering the cost of diagnosing the severity of injuries and preventing unnecessary surgery. And as a faculty member of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), Mirza is leading a study of geographical variation in the safety of back pain-related surgery under a Director's Challenge Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Dartmouth has the right values and great people, and it enjoys a distinguished and respected position in academic medicine," Mirza says. "National programs and reform efforts look to Dartmouth for guidance. It is a privilege to be a part of this organization, and I am excited about the opportunities. Dr. Weinstein and the outstanding faculty here have already created one of the nation's best orthopaedic patient care and resident training programs. Our goal now is to lead the nation in developing efficient ways to integrate end results measurement and shared decision-making into the best care for every patient, every time."

Mirza came to Dartmouth from the University of Washington, where he held the Endowed Chair for Spine End Results Research in the department of orthopaedics, and directed spine education and spine-trauma research. He also was an attending surgeon at several Seattle-area hospitals, and for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. With NIH support, Mirza served as principal investigator for a research-career development program focused on the safety of lumbar-fusion surgery for chronic back pain, and as a co-investigator for a multidisciplinary clinical-research center.

He has written more than 60 scientific articles and book chapters, and lectured at the invitation of many national and international gatherings of scientists. His professional honors include a North American Traveling Fellowship from the American Orthopaedic Association, an ABC Exchange Traveling Fellowship, a clinical-service excellence award from Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, an award from the Cervical Spine Research Society.

Mirza received his medical degree from the University of Colorado's School of Medicine, and completed his residency at the University of Washington, where he had earned his master's degree in public health in 2005. He also did the Daniel E. Hogan Fellowship in spinal surgery at Harvard Medical School.

The announcement of Mirza's appointment was made by William R. Green, Ph.D., the dean of Dartmouth Medical School; Nancy A. Formella, M.S.N., the president of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital; and James N. Weinstein, D.O., M.S., the president of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic.


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