William Harris, MD, director emeritus of the Department of Orthopaedics, has received the 2018 Distinguished Contributions to Orthopaedics Award from the American Orthopaedic Association. This award is presented annually to recognize outstanding leaders in orthopaedic surgery whose work results in sustained and substantial contribution and leadership through clinical, educational, research or other meritorious means.
Harris founded the Harris Orthopaedics Laboratory at Mass General, where he initiated and directed the creation of electron beam-irradiated, highly cross-linked polyethylene for use in total joints. This contribution was a culmination of a four decade-long quest to identify, unravel and overcome periprosthetic osteolysis. It is now being used by more than 7 million people around the world, and periprosthetic osteolysis has been virtually eliminated.