Steven R. Garfin, MD

Steven Garfin

Title: Orthopedic Surgeon, Chair
Company: University of California
Location: La Jolla, California, United States

Steven R. Garfin, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, Chair at the University of California, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Doctors for dedication, achievements, and leadership in spinal surgery.

Dr. Garfin is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, San Diego, and interim dean of the university’s School of Medicine, a position he has held since 2018. An alum of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Garfin holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and was awarded his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1972. His interest in medicine was born out of a summer job in a medical lab that he held as an undergraduate, and deep respect for the cardiothoracic surgeon running it. After earning his Doctor of Medicine, Dr. Garfin spent the rest of the 1970s completing an internship in surgery and a residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of California San Diego.

He began his career with the University of California San Diego in 1980 as an assistant professor in the division of orthopedics and rehabilitation and was awarded a one-year fellowship in disorders of the spine at the Pennsylvania Hospital the same year. Dr. Garfin continued to rise at the University of California, becoming an associate professor in 1986 and briefly serving as co-acting head of the school’s division of orthopedics from 1986 until 1987. He was made a full professor in 1989 and named department chair in 1996, both roles he continued to hold until he was designated as a Distinguished Professor in 2011.

Dr. Garfin’s work over the last three decades has helped set the national standard for spinal surgeries and care. He is the founder of the North American Spine Society and the National Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, in addition to creating and spearheading clinical trials and FDA approval for the majority of the specialized instruments currently used in spine surgery. A sought-after speaker and presenter, Dr. Garfin has been invited to address an annual meeting of the Georgia Orthopaedic Society and selected as Washington University’s Sutter Visiting Professor in the late 1980s. He has been extensively published in numerous professional journals, and has sat on the editorial boards of more than ten publications, most recently “Contemporary Spine Surgery,” “The Chinese Journal of Traumatology,” and “Spine.”

In recognition of his contributions to the field, Dr. Garfin has been presented with numerous awards and accolades including research grants from the North American Spine Society, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Western Orthopaedic Foundation. He is a past president and secretary of the North American Spine Society, a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and sits on the board of the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery.

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