March 25, 2004


WORCESTER, Mass. ¾ Patrick Connolly, MD, has joined UMass Memorial Medical Center as director of the new Spine Center and chief of the Division of Spine Surgery. The multidisciplinary Spine Center, located at the Memorial Campus of UMass Memorial Medical Center, will provide the full spectrum of care in a single location for patients with neck and back pain resulting from disorders of the neck, middle back and lower back. Dr. Connolly has also been appointed professor of orthopedics & rehabilitation at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS).

"His extensive clinical and academic experience make Dr. Connolly an asset to the growing orthopedic services at UMass Memorial, as well as the orthopedic residency program at the medical school," said David C. Ayers, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopedics & Physical Rehabilitation at UMMS and UMass Memorial.

Connolly comes to UMass Memorial from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, where he was associate professor of orthopedics since 1993. A graduate of Northwestern University Medical School, Connolly completed residencies at Brown University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He was named the John P. Kosuik Fellow in Adult Spine Reconstruction at The Toronto Hospital, and served as chief of the Spine Service at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Syracuse.

In addition to his extensive clinical experience in spine surgery and general orthopedic surgery, Connolly is committed to training the next generation of physicians, serving as a member of the North American Spine Society’s committee on resident and fellow education, and conducting numerous post-graduate courses and symposia. He has given dozens of academic and research presentations, authored fourteen book chapters, and edited the soon-to-be published textbook, Advanced Spinal Surgical Technologies.

As director of the Spine Center, Connolly will lead a multidisciplinary team including orthopedic spine surgeons, rheumatologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons and radiologists, as well as physical therapists, nutritionists and social workers, to deal with the complete range of medical and emotional issues affecting patients with spine disorders. Such disorders include chronic neck and back pain, and degenerative conditions like arthritis. Spine Center caregivers will also be involved with patients being treated for traumatic spine fractures and spinal cord injuries at the UMass Memorial - University Campus Trauma Center.

Orthopedic surgeons at the Spine Center, all with advanced training in lumbar and spinal surgery, have performed hundreds of procedures using state-of-the-art techniques such as minimally-invasive endoscopy and spinal fusion. Each physician is engaged in ongoing clinical research to advance surgical and non-surgical methods for diagnosing and treating patients. In addition to performing conventional surgeries, they will be involved in developing new procedures, such as artificial disk replacement, and kyphoplasty, an innovative procedure that relieves pain and deformity caused by osteoporosis-induced compression fractures.

To assist patients and their families during diagnosis, treatment and long-term care, the center will offer educational resources, individual counseling and support groups. Newly-renovated facilities house onsite diagnostic and imaging technologies including MRI and CT scanners.

UMass Memorial Health Care is Central Massachusetts’ largest not-for-profit health care delivery system, covering the complete health care continuum with teaching hospitals, affiliated community hospitals, freestanding primary care practices, ambulatory outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, hospice programs, a rehabilitation group and mental health services. UMass Memorial is the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing medical schools in the country, attracting more than $153 million in research funding annually. A perennial top finisher in the annual US News & World Report ranking of primary care medical schools, UMMS comprises a medical school, graduate school of nursing, graduate school of biomedical sciences and an active research enterprise, and is a leader in health sciences education, research and public service.

Contact:  Sandra Gray, Public Affairs, 508-856-2000