UPMC’s Harner Ends Term as Head of American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

By: Chuck Finder

Giving an impassioned, education-themed speech before some 1,300 sports medicine surgeons, physicians, physical therapists and more, Christopher Harner, M.D.,  of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, bade farewell to his one-year term as the president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) at its Chicago convention Friday. But he isn’t leaving them behind completely.

Dr. Harner noted at the start Friday that he’d been preparing for this speech for 26 years, since he first became active – and first was honored – as a researcher and educator in AOSSM. He said he isn’t about to stop his association, either. After a presidential term where the group launched a new publication for physicians, grew its membership and launched new initiatives amid a changing medical landscape, Dr. Harner will remain on the group’s board as president emeritus and expects to serve it for years.
“Lifelong learning is the key to our professional success and happiness,” Dr. Harner concluded in his half-hour speech. “Do not underestimate the power of education, collegiality and camaraderie in the constantly evolving world of sports medicine. We are blessed and privileged to be a part of this great profession. I am humbled and honored to have served as your president.” 
He was greeted by a standing ovation and, the same as his entrance amid a group of colleagues, the tune “We Are Family.”
And it’s not as if Dr. Harner’s year wasn’t relatively busy elsewhere. He spent the past year launching a new medical partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, for whom he serves as head team physicianand traveled with the team this season along with assistant team physicians Tanya Hagen, M.D., and Darmesh Vyas, M.D.  He also sat on the board of the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, oversaw fellows through the University of Pittsburgh Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, worked as medical director of the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine and, of course, saw patients.
His speech was the morning highlight of the second day at an AOSSM convention filled with Pitt and UPMC honors and presentations.