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Blair C. Filler, M.D. Receives 2009 Tipton Award for Outstanding Orthopaedic Leadership

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Forty-plus years teaching and mentoring young orthopaedic surgeons, championing access to care and medical education in underserved communities and helping colleagues maintain more viable practices are among the long list of achievements that led to Blair C. Filler, M.D. being honored with the fourth annual William W. Tipton Jr., M.D. Leadership Award. The award, which includes a $5,000 honorarium, was presented to Dr. Filler at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009.

Established by friends, colleagues and organizations through AAOS and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), the William W. Tipton Jr., M.D. Leadership Award ( honors the qualities exemplified by the late Dr. Tipton, including commitment to mentorship, diversity, bridge-building and collaboration. A similarly named award was simultaneously established by the California Orthopaedic Association and in its first year, 2006, was awarded to Dr. Filler.

Dr. Filler has taught and mentored young orthopaedists while treating patients, mainly in underserved areas in Los Angeles County, at teaching hospitals and through private practice continuously since 1961. Between 1990 and 2008, he served as director of medical education at Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital, and he's currently on the faculty at UCLA as a clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery, a position he has held for 18 years.

These and prior postings, including academic appointments at the University of Southern California Medical Center, Centinela Hospital, Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital Medical Center and the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew-Medical Center reflect Dr. Filler's career-long commitment to making health care more accessible and orthopaedics more diverse. Speaking of Dr. Filler's service at the King/Drew Center between 1975 and 1990, the last five years as professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of the orthopaedic residency program, William C. McMaster. M.D. of Costa Mesa, Calif., said, "Blair's commitment persisted through political controversy and chronic underfunding. He not only provided service to the underserved minority community of Los Angeles, but encouraged and trained minority physicians in orthopaedics."

Frequently called upon to lecture and consult in upper extremity -- particularly hand surgery, for which he trained with Herbert H. Stark MD of Los Angeles -- Dr. Filler concentrated on muscle transplants that help children with cerebral palsy to have some use of their hands. An experienced marathoner, he is also a leading authority on conditions common to distance runners.

Dr. Filler has served numerous community organizations throughout his career, including the Los Angeles County Medical Association Disaster Committee; Los Angeles Olympic Village Health Service; and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department emergency services team, with which he served 25 years rescuing endangered mountain climbers, skiers, scuba divers and crash victims.

Dr. Filler has been honored by the California Orthopaedic Association and the American Medical Association (AMA) for his work to cultivate fluency among orthopaedists and their staff members in current procedural terminology (CPT) coding. In addition to informal and formal teaching on CPT coding, Dr. Filler served as editor of the AAOS Complete Global Service Data for Orthopaedic Surgery, now in its tenth edition, and collaborated with James V. Luck Jr., M.D. on the fifth edition of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

Dr. Filler's still-developing legacy as an AAOS Fellow includes playing a central role in the move to professionalize the Academy's representation among legislative and policy decision makers, and developing a protocol for use by the AAOS Admissions Committee in evaluating applicants for membership to help ensure professional integrity standards. Closer to home, Dr. Filler is credited with restructuring and revitalizing both his state and regional orthopaedic societies, the California Orthopaedic Association and Western Orthopaedic Association.

Dr. Filler served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946. He earned bachelor's and medical degrees from the University of Michigan, in 1950 and 1955, respectively. Dr. Filler interned at Los Angeles County General Hospital (1955-1956) and went on to complete residencies at the Joslin-Lahey Clinic (1956-1957) and at Veterans Administration hospitals in Boston (1957-1961), where he served as chief resident, orthopaedic surgery in his final year. He and his wife Dodie have resided in and around Los Angeles since 1961.

Prior recipients of the William W. Tipton Jr., M.D. Leadership Award are Michael F. Schafer, M.D. (2008), Stuart A. Hirsch, M.D. (2007) and Richard J. Haynes, M.D. (2006).

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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