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From the Rush Archives: Commemorating Scoliosis Awareness Month

by Nathalie Wheaton on 2020-06-23T08:00:00-05:00 in History, Orthopedics | 0 Comments

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month! Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine develops a side-to-side curve in an S- or C-shape. To learn more current treatment and diagnosis of scoliosis at Rush, visit:

-Post contributed by Rush Archives Work Study Student Kirsten Petrarca, Doctoral Student in Audiology, Rush University.

In April 1977, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center* opened its Spine Surgery Center. This center was unique as it was one of the few surgery centers in the country specifically designated for spine surgeries. Read about the opening of the Center in the May-June 1977 issue of the Rush newsletter, NewsRounds**

Rush Spine Surgery Center, Open House, 1977Image: Jorge Galante, MD, DMSc, chairman, Orthopedic Surgery (right), with DeWald, MD, director, Spine Surgery Center (center) and Michael Shirk, associate administrator, Surgical Sciences and Services (left) at the open house of the new Center, 1977. From NewsRounds, May-June 1977, page 24.

Ronald L. DeWald, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery, Rush Medical College, was appointed the director of the new Spine Surgery Center. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1977, DeWald described scoliosis as a curve in the spine that disproportionately affects girls. According to DeWald, 15% of those affected by scoliosis develop severe spinal curves requiring surgical intervention. DeWald, an expert in treating scoliosis patients, saw approximately 1,200 patients with spinal deformities in 1976.

You can find an excerpt of DeWald’s Chicago Tribune interview in the 1977 Rush Report of Stewardship***:

This Scoliosis Awareness Month, we remember Jorge Galante, MD, DMSc, former professor of orthopedics at Rush Medical College and chairman of Rush’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1972-1994. Galante, who earned his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1958, was highly recognized for his research on scoliosis, spine mechanics, and surgical implants. In 2019, the Orthopedic Building at Rush University Medical Center was renamed the Sofija and Jorge O. Galante Orthopedic Building in honor of Dr. Galante and his wife.

To learn more about Galante’s work at Rush and his many contributions to the field of orthopedics, please visit the following Rush InPerson blog post from 2017, celebrating his life:

Want to learn more about the history of Rush or the Rush Archives collections? Explore the Rush Archives website, or contact the archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS.

*Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center was renamed Rush University Medical Center in 2003, to better reflect its status as a leading academic research center. 

**From the Rush newsletter, NewsRounds, May-June 1977, page 24, NewsRounds Collection, #4719, Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill.

***From A Report of Stewardship (Rush Annual Report), 1977, page 28, Rush Annual Report Collection, #4712, Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill.

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