News » GW Appoints Raj Rao, M.D., to Serve as Chair of the Department of Orthopedic...

GW Appoints Raj Rao, M.D., to Serve as Chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery

Raj Rao, M.D.WASHINGTON (May 21, 2015) — The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), GW Hospital, and The GW Medical Faculty Associates are pleased to announce Raj Rao, M.D., as the new chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. In this role, Rao will position the Department for clinical and research growth. 

"Dr. Rao is an academically accomplished, nationally respected orthopedic surgeon, making him the right person to chair the Department of Orthopedic Surgery," said Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D., vice president for health affairs at GW, Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine, and dean of the GW SMHS. “With a proven track record of excellence in teaching, research, public health advocacy, and patient care, we are very pleased to welcome him to GW SMHS."

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery is known for its commitment to high standards in patient care, a strong residency program, and growth in its research programs and collaborative activities. With a reputation as one of the best Departments of its kind in the Washington, D.C. area, Rao will build upon this momentum by expanding the Department’s regional presence and taking advantage of new clinical facilities located at The GW Medical Faculty Associates, 2300 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

“With years of strong leadership and excellence in patient care, Dr. Rao is perfectly suited for this position,” said Stephen Badger, CEO of The GW Medical Faculty Associates. “The GW Medical Faculty Associates looks forward to Dr. Rao’s leadership, which will bring continued growth and success to our organization.”

Rao, vice-chairman in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is nationally recognized for his research in spinal and orthopedic disorders. He has had numerous papers published in prestigious scientific journals on spinal biomechanics, injuries to the spine from motor vehicle collisions, the biology and mechanics of spinal fusion, and gait analysis in persons with spinal disorders. He currently serves as associate editor of The Spine Journal and is on the editorial boards of other national and international scientific journals.

In 2014, Rao was appointed as chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel on Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Devices. In this position, he leads the panel in reviewing safety and efficacy of orthopedic and spine related devices for marketing in the U.S. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and of the Executive Board of Directors of the Lumbar Spine Research Society. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Spine Society from 2008 to 2014 and was the recipient of the David Selby Award of the North American Spine Society in 2014.

Rao was voted as one of the Best Doctors in America in 2013 and 2014. He was also named on the top 100 Best Spine Surgeons and Specialists in America by Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Review in 2011.

“GW Hospital is pleased to have Dr. Rao join our comprehensive team as the new chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery,” said Barry Wolfman, CEO of GW Hospital. “Dr. Rao’s vital orthopedic research, commitment to his patients and staff, and his dedication to engaging with the communities he serves, will help us continue GW’s legacy of progressive leadership. The advanced care that our established orthopedic team already provides will only benefit from his leadership and engagement.”

Rao completed his internship and residency at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He completed specialized fellowship training in spine surgery at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. Prior to his appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Rao was in private practice in Northern California for three years. He also spent time doing orthopedic research at the Orthopädische Klinik Seepark in Bremerhaven, Germany; the University of Western Ontario in Canada; and the Orthopaedic Hospital in Los Angeles.

Rao will assume the role of chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery on Sept. 1, 2015.


About the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Founded in 1824, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation’s capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation’s capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.

About the GW Hospital
The George Washington University Hospital is a 385-bed tertiary care, academic medical center located in downtown Washington, DC.  Featuring a Level I Trauma Center and a Level IIII NICU, GW Hospital offers clinical expertise in a variety of areas including cardiac, cancer, neurosciences, women’s health, and advanced surgery including robotic and minimally invasive surgery.  The mission of the George Washington University Hospital is to provide high-quality health care, advanced medical technology and world-class service to its patients in an academic medical center dedicated to education and research. GW Hospital is jointly owned and operated by George Washington University and a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS).

About The GW Medical Faculty Associates
The GW Medical Faculty Associates is committed to comprehensive, quality and accessible patient care in the communities we serve. We are the largest, independent physician group in the Metropolitan Washington area offering primary care and 51 specialties with more than 750 providers committed to coordinated, patient-centered care built on a rich history of academic medicine.  Our physician practices are located in Washington, DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia.  Find a provider and location convenient to you by visiting