The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery was founded in 1962 by J. William Hillman, MD, the department's first chairman. Prior to that time, it was a section of the General Surgery Department of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Following Dr. Hillman's death in 1970, Paul P. Griffin, MD chaired the Department for four years. Arthur Brooks, MD carried forth the spirit of Dr. Hillman and began a tradition of teaching and impassioned patient care until he was followed by Dan M. Spengler, MD in 1983. Dr. Spengler chaired the department until 2009.
Dr. Herbert S. Schwartz became Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation in 2009. There are currently 50 full-time orthopaedic, attending faculty positions and six auxiliary faculty positions in the department, 25 resident positions and eight orthopaedic fellowship positions. Ten orthopaedic surgeons from the Nashville area serve on the clinical faculty. Forty-five therapist providers complement the clinical enterprise in which approximately 110,000 outpatient visits are recorded and 12,000 surgical cases are performed annually.