James Kang

James Kang

James D. Kang, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, effective Sept. 1.

A nationally recognized orthopedic spine surgeon, Kang joins BWHC from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), where he is the executive vice chair for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, the endowed chair in Orthopedic Spinal Surgery and the director of the Ferguson Laboratory Musculoskeletal Research Center for Spine Research.

Kang is an internationally renowned leader in the basic science and clinical treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration—osteoarthritis of the spine—with a research team that focuses on the biochemistry of disc degeneration and the biomechanics of the spine. Kang has been leading the development of novel therapies for disc degeneration based on the latest gene transfer and stem cell technologies. He has also been an invaluable teacher to residents and fellows, as well as graduate students and post-doctoral research fellows at the University of Pittsburgh.

“A collaborative leader, Dr. Kang brings a depth of experience in patient care, research and teaching that will surely enrich our orthopedic services and benefit our patients for years to come,” said BWHC President Betsy Nabel, MD. “Additionally, his boundless energy and enormous contributions to excellent clinical care and cutting-edge scientific work have been recognized by several leading spine societies, including the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine, where he was just installed as president, the Cervical Spine Research Society and the North American Spine Society.”

Kang received his MD from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a spine surgery fellowship at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Kang will succeed Thomas S. Thornhill, MD, who announced his intention to step down last year after 20 years of extraordinary leadership in the department.

“We are so grateful to Dr. Thornhill for his unwavering commitment to the department and his dedication to innovation, his passion for training and education and his commitment to providing exceptional care to our patients and their families, setting a standard that other institutions seek to emulate,” said Nabel.

Thornhill will remain part of the Brigham family as a clinician, surgeon, investigator and mentor, in addition to continuing to lead Operation Walk Boston, which he founded in 2007.

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