Seattle, Washington (September 6, 2023) – During the 58th SRS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washinton USA, the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) announced W. Fred Hess, MD as the Walter P. Blount Humanitarian award winner.
The Walter P. Blount Award is given to an individual who has provided outstanding service for those with spinal deformities, through their generous actions out of a sense of service to larger social and professional goals.
Dr. W. Fred Hess is emeritus Chief of Spine at the Janet Weis Childrens Hospital/ Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA. He joined the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in August 1990, following the completion of the Rae R. Jacobs Memorial Spine Fellowship at the Kansas University Medical Center.
Dr. Hess was born in York, PA and raised with a strong faith instilled by his parents. His interest in science was sparked by one of his college professors who opened a world of neuroanatomy to him.
Marriage and a move to University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine in Tampa, FL led him to a career in orthopaedics. He was appointed Surgical General Medical Officer with the US Public Health Service from 1982-85, where he served the Native Americans of the Navajo Area IHS. When he returned to USF, he completed his Orthopaedic Residency and his Fellowship at KUMC.
Dr. Hess was highly involved in the community, serving as team doctor for the High School, teaching Sunday school, and covering several Pennsylvania Crippled Childrens Clinics. When one of the local orthopaedic surgeons asked him to assist with a scoliosis fusion, this prompted his first mission trip to Cuenca, Ecuador where he performed a complex spine reconstruction on a young woman with Marfan’s Syndrome. This led to Dr. Hess accepting 1-2 children per year from Ecuador and other Latin American countries for Spine Deformity Care at GMC.
In Ghana in April 2002, Dr. Hess connected with his friend Dr. Boachie-Adjei, FOCOS, and the indomitable Bettye Wright, solidifying his commitment to providing care to those with severe spinal deformities. This resulted in him taking 1-4 trips per year to Ghana (2002-2017), Barbados, and most recently Jamaica through the Ken Paonessa and Duncan Tree Foundation. Heather has also made several trips independently over the years, offering nursing care and staff education. The pleasure of these trips comes not only from caring for the patients, but also from teaching the local staff and other surgeons who are willing to help.
He has been an active member of several prestigious organizations and in 2002, he was honored with the Albright College Distinguished Alumni Award for his exemplary community service and medical mission work.
Read more about Dr. Hess in the 58th Annual meeting program.
About the Scoliosis Research Society
The Scoliosis Research Society is a non-profit, professional organization, made up of physicians and allied health personnel. Our primary focus is on providing continuing medical education for health care professionals and on funding/supporting research in spinal deformities. Founded in 1966, SRS has gained recognition as the world's premier spine deformity society. Please visit www.srs.org for further information. Also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.