Feinberg professor donates $5,000 award

Stephanie Wang

When Feinberg School of Medicine Prof. Michael Schafer received a national award in orthopedic surgery, he turned around and donated his $5,000 winnings to start a fund for medical students in his field.

“I hope that I am serving as a positive role model for those who are coming behind me,” said Schafer, chairman of Feinberg’s department of orthopedic surgery.

Last month, Schafer’s peers recognized him with the annual Tipton Leadership Award from the Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation for his dedication to mentoring orthopedic surgeons and building a diverse community at Feinberg, said Sharon Johnson, Medill ’73, the foundation’s vice president of communications.

Schafer has participated in the budding Leadership Fellows Program with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons since its inception five years ago.

The program pairs young surgeons with more experienced ones for professional guidance.

“Both in (this) program and through other venues, he has devoted a large percentage of his free time to helping cultivate young talent, encourage young people and help them sharpen their skills,” she said.

Schafer, a former team physician for the Chicago Bears and current consulting orthopedic surgeon for the Chicago Cubs, completed his residency at NU in 1972. He joined the Feinberg faculty four years later and has served as the chairman of his department since 1980.

The William W. Tipton Jr., M.D. Orthopedic Surgery Student Fund, founded with Schafer’s award money, will grant a $1,000 stipend every year for five years to a Feinberg student pursuing a career in orthopedics. Rising second-years will compete for the stipend to support research projects while they are mentored by another surgeon in a clinical setting, Schafer said.

“Universally, (Schafer) has an unparalleled passion for orthopedics,” said Alan Yasko, vice chairman of the orthopedic surgery department. “His enthusiasm is reflected in his commitment to education.”

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