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Our history

The orthopedic department’s tradition of excellence is as rich as the legacy of Lenox Hill Hospital itself, founded in 1857. One of the first X-ray machines was installed at Lenox Hill in 1897, and the first department of physical therapy was established at the hospital 10 years later. The leadership reflects a commitment to pioneering achievement in orthopedic surgery.

James A. Nicholas, MD, a true pioneer in sports medicine, served as chairman of Lenox Hill Orthopedics for more than 20 years and as team physician for several professional sports teams in New York, most notably the New York Jets. He served as a founding member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the American Journal of Sports Medicine, and the Orthopaedic Research Society, and was later inducted into the AOSSM Hall of Fame. Dr. Nicholas' legacy at Lenox Hill Hospital continues in the work of Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, the first hospital-based institute for the study of sports medicine in the U.S.

The subsequent chair, Chitranjan Ranawat, MD, is widely recognized as a pioneer in hip and knee arthroplasty. He was the founding president of the American Knee Society, and serves as the current president of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.

Present day

The current department chairman, Elliott Hershman, MD, has continued the standard of excellence in orthopedic surgery established by his predecessors. He has served as a team physician for the New York Jets football team for more than 25 years, and has served as team orthopedist for the New York Islanders and is a respected authority in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and meniscal surgery of the knee. Dr. Hershman was awarded the Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award by the NFL Physician Society for his work as team orthopedist for the New York Jets. The award is given to the NFL team physician who has made the greatest contributions to the NFL and the profession of athletic training. 

Many of our physicians have received multiple honors and awards and have been recognized as “America’s Top Doctors” by Castle Connolly for the last decade.

Our rich history has culminated in the establishment of a practice that has the subspecialty expertise, comprehensive services and technology rivaling any of its peer institutions in New York City. Through it all, the department and its physicians maintain their commitment to providing personalized care in the warm environment of a setting that has defined the unique Lenox Hill experience.