Steadman-Hawkins turns 20 | VailDaily.com
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Steadman-Hawkins turns 20

Special to the DailyDr. Richard Steadman celebrates with Phil Mahre at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Eight years later, Stedman would join with Dr. Richard Hawkins to form the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic.
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VAIL, Colorado ” In the world of orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Richard Steadman is prolific.

Steadman, one of the world’s top knee specialists, has performed more than 3,000 microfracture knee surgeries.

But thanks to the work of the Steadman-Hawkins Research Foundation, Dr. Steadman has had a hand in countless operations around the world.



Now a multi-million dollar nonprofit, the foundation started out as a before-work routine for Dr. Steadman.

“I went for three years, getting up early in the morning and doing research projects, and published several papers during that time,” Steadman said. “I recognized I could only go so far on the research side if I was the only one doing it. I also realized … it’s a team effort. You have to have a number of people doing a number of different things. In order to reach research goals, I had to be part of a team.”



As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the Steadman-Hawkins Research Foundation boasts a dream-team of researchers, one that rivals the works of most major universities, spans the entire body and addresses the prevention side of injuries.

“We gave 190 presentations around the world last year that were developed by our foundation,” said Mike Egan, the chief executive officer of the Steadman Hawkins Research Foundation.

Unlike many for-profit businesses, the research foundation doesn’t look to copyright its discoveries; the group hopes to share the information with as many people as possible.



“We are a good example of why there are public charities,” Steadman said. “We have a team of people dedicated to doing the best clinical works, but in addition, we are dedicated to get every bit of knowledge to the public.”

While the research wing and the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic are separate entities, they share the goal of treating and preventing injuries, and have a symbiotic relationship.

“One complements the other,” Steadman said. “From the clinical practice, I’m able to identify projects that aren’t just good for me, but they are good for everybody. The same thing from the foundation side; I’m able to solve problems that are good not only for me, but for everybody (in the clinic).”

A long way

Steadman decided he wanted to be a doctor when he was 13.

“My two major interests in my young life were sports and trying to get into medicine. It’s fortunate for me I wasn’t better at sports because I might have never gone into medicine,” he said.

After serving in the armed forces in Germany, Steadman eventually settled in Lake Tahoe, Calif., where he gravitated toward knee and sports injuries.

“In 1985, I made a conscious decision if I was to get to the best point in my career I should incorporate research into my overall plan,” Steadman said.

That year, Steadman hired a full-time clinical researcher, and three years later, “we decided if we were going to take it to another level, we would have to have a mechanism for funding and hiring people who could carry out the many jobs involved in research and having it all in house.”

A large donation from a patient in New York led Steadman to consider the nonprofit path. In 1990, when Steadman moved to Vail, he teamed up with Dr. Richard Hawkins, a shoulder specialist. The practice and research took off from there.

While there are certain advantages to being a charitable organization, as opposed to a University program or government agency, there are some challenging aspects, like the fundraising.

“I was amazed this foundation had had the ability the last several years to raise $3 million a year basically from grateful patients who had good results and believed what was going on here,” Egan said. “What I learned is donors love to support efforts that can make a world-wide difference. We’ve also depended on private-sector donors and other foundations that when they see world-class things going on, they get excited.”

Egan, a successful entrepreneur who recently joined the foundation, is hoping to expand the already-broad reach of the foundation while continuing to thrive in areas where they are well-established.

“We realized our evidenced-based medicine was important. We had the most evidence-based medicine published in the world and wanted to make that even stronger and even pull further away from everyone else. Last year we .”


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