A Look Back at 2 Big Influencers of Orthopedics


Claudia L. Thomas is not only America’s first Black female orthopedist, she was also the first woman to graduate from Yale University‘s Orthopedic Program and aided in recruiting the most of the minorities that have ever studied orthopedics at Johns Hopkins. Thomas credits her success to her mentors who helped guide her. 

At a very young age Thomas was inspired to join the field of medicine by following in the footsteps of her mentor and her pediatrician Pearl Foster. Pearl was an African American female MD and Thomas said.

“It told me this was something I could do, someone I could be…this indicates that people doing positive and productive things present a very powerful image for the young mind.”

This positive influence during her childhood is what inspired Thomas to do some mentoring of her own. Claudia L. Thomas’s life has been an inspiration in more ways than just one. In her autobiography God Spare Life Thomas chronicles the key phases of her life: higher education, surviving Hurricane Hugo and conquering the “Big C” cancer. Thomas is a a true inspiration and she received the Diversity Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2008.

Claudia L. Thomas, M.D.    The Artistry of Orthopaedics

Claudia L. Thomas, M.D.

The Artistry of Orthopaedics


Dr. Crawford, Professor Emeritus, joins UC Health with more than 35 years of clinical experience in diagnosis and treatment in orthopaedics. He is the recently retired founding director of the Crawford Spine Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and a renowned expert in spinal deformities and neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder often associated with scoliosis.

He is considered an authority on pediatric orthopaedic conditions and spinal deformities. He has published more than 200 publications, 63 book chapters, authored/co-authored six books and lectured in 38 countries.

He is the past president of the Scoliosis Research Society and been recognized in “America’s Best Doctors” since1996. He received the Daniel Drake Medal, the highest academic honor the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine bestows. 

Dr. Crawford is seeing patients, performing consultations, second opinions and surgeries. His research will include studying the immediate and long-term complications of pediatric orthopaedic diseases. 

Alvin H. Crawford, MD, FACS
Professor Emeritus of Orthopaedic Surgery

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