Dr. Richard J. Smith
24th Annual Richard J. Smith Residents/Fellows Conference
May 17, 2013 - Massachusetts General Hospital
Smith Day is in honor of Dr. Richard J. Smith, MD, who served as the Chief of the Hand and Upper Extremity Service from 1972 until 1987. Smith Day is a time for hand surgeons to present their original research and discuss this research with their peers. Dr. Smith was devoted to education, the pursuit of excellence and the advancement of the specialty of hand surgery, and Smith Day commemorates his legacy.
About Richard J. Smith, MD
Richard J. Smith, M.D. was an extraordinary individual and one who will not be easily replaced. Henry Mankin, M.D., in writing Richard Smith’s obituary in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 1987, stated so eloquently, “his capacities, talents, and commitment made him, in the eyes of man, our finest flower and the thirty years he gave to hand surgery, one of its finest periods.”
Dr. Smith was born in the Bronx, New York, attending the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. He received his college education at Brown University, graduating in 1951. His medical education was obtained at New York Medical College, where he was elected to AOA and graduated in 1955. Following a surgical internship at Bellevue Hospital, Richard began his Orthopaedic surgical training at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City, completing the program in 1960. During his training at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, he became a disciple of Emmanuel Kaplan, M.D., a then leading authority in anatomy of the hand and became determined to pursue a career in the relatively new field of hand surgery.
Following a two-year obligation to the Public Health Service in Boston, Richard Smith spent a year of Hand Fellowship, divided between Mr. Guy Pulvertaft in Darby, England and Dr. Joseph Boyes in Los Angeles, California. In 1963, Dr. Smith returned to the Hospital for Joint Diseases to join Dr. Kaplan and later in 1968 to succeed him as the Director of the Hand Service. During this time, he began to quickly establish himself as an outstanding clinician, surgeon, and most of all, educator.
In 1972, Richard moved to Boston along with Henry Mankin, M.D. to become the Chief of the Orthopaedic Hand Service at the Massachusetts General Hospital and, in 1980, was named Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. During his tenure at the MGH, which ended tragically with his untimely death in 1987, he expanded his activities in hand surgery to an international level and in 1982 served as President of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Despite all his commitments, he somehow found the time to be a devoted husband to his wife Jane and a devoted father to his daughters Lisa and Tracey, and late son James.
For all who had the unique good fortune to have known Dr. Richard Smith, studied under him, or worked with him in any capacity, what will endure most of all was his remarkable skill and devotion to education, the pursuit of excellence, and the advancement of the specialty of hand surgery.
Dr. Amit Gupta
2013 Richard J. Smith Memorial Lecturer:
Amit Gupta, MD
Dr. Amit Gupta grew up in New Delhi, India before attending medical school at the Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi. He completed his Orthopaedic Residency from the University of Delhi.
He spent the next 6 years working and training in Orthopaedic Surgery in England. This culminated in a hand surgery fellowship at the prestigious Pulvertaft Hand Center in Derby, England. He acquired his FRCS from the Royal College of Surgeons in 1983 and his M.Ch in Orthopaedics from the University of Liverpool in 1987. He followed this with further training as an AO Fellow in Hand and Microsurgery in Bern, Switzerland.
He came to Louisville, KY in 1991 as a Hand Fellow, where he trained with one of the stalwarts of Hand Surgery, Harold Kleinert. His obvious talents led to him being appointed on staff at the Christine Kleinert Institute for Hand and Micro surgery in 1992 and he stayed there until 2004. Since then he has been practicing at the University of Louisville where he is a clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Dr. Gupta has made several contributions to our body of literature having authored or co-authored 45 peer reviewed papers and 5 chapters. He is the Editor of “The Growing Hand” a superb text on Pediatric Hand Surgery, which was awarded the “Book of the Year” prize by the British Medical Association in 2000. He has given several visiting Professorship Orations and has presented over 300 papers nationally and internationally. He is a senior faculty member of AO International. He has served on several leadership positions in both the American Society and American Association for surgery of the hand.
Dr. Gupta has an enduring passion for anatomy as evidenced by his numerous anatomical presentations and beautifully executed flaps in the operating room. When not engaged in clinical practice, teaching or anatomy, he indulges his other passion for the “tabla” (a pair of Indian Drums) and Indian classical music. He is married to Bhavna who is an Anesthesiologist and their daughter Niki is a 2nd year resident in ENT Surgery in New York City.