Written by OREF:
Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation donors share a vision of a healthier, happier future for their patients, families, and friends. Meet Dr. Adams, who has built a legacy of giving back in order to create a future of better outcomes for patients and a solid foundation of support for musculoskeletal research.
KNOWN TO GIVE
As he nears retirement, Jeffrey T. Adams, MD, wonders how he will occupy his time. He’s never been very good, he says, at slowing down.
“My wife is very nervous about me retiring. She asks, ‘what are you going to do all day long?’ I’m used to going pretty much nonstop from sunup to sundown. It’s going to be a real adjustment.”
While Dr. Adams has a few years to contemplate whether he will travel more, play more golf, or teach a class at the community college, one thing he decided to do now was develop a means to better track and facilitate his philanthropic endeavors. He and his wife, Tina, who he calls “the most charitable person on this planet” and his adult children founded a family foundation.
“We give $100,00 to $150,000 away every year,” Dr. Adams explained. “Once you are known to be somebody who gives money, you get asked to give continuously. We thought [a foundation] might be an easier way to keep track of everything.”
The family meets once a year to decide where their money will do the most good. Among local as well as art and music organizations, OREF is a beneficiary, a tradition Dr. Adams says began when Edward N. Hanley Jr., MD, FAOA, his program chair as Carolinas Medical Center/Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina where he completed his residency, instilled in his residents the importance of giving back. “If we weren’t going to be doing the research, we needed to be funding the people who were doing the research.”
Dr. Adams supports this belief. Playing sports in his youth led him to the field of orthopaedics after a plethora of orthopaedic injuries, from separating his shoulder, tearing his ACL, and experiencing spondylosis in his back. Going into orthopaedics made sense to him, especially since it meant performing surgery and making patients better rather than office work. “That’s what makes orthopaedics so special,” he said. During Dr. Adams’ residency, Dr. Don Dalessandro was completing a shoulder fellowship at Carolinas and his mentorship led Dr. Adams to focus on the same subspecialty.
GIVING BACK FOR HEALTHIER PATIENTS
His love for the profession is what makes Dr. Adams choose to give back to it. Although his busy private practice means he does not do the research himself, he is sure to support it. He has been an Order of Merit donor for 29 years and a Sustaining Order of Merit donor, directing $1,000 to the OREF Annual Fund, for 17 years. He sees how research can be valuable to his practice, and he stays on top of the latest research findings by reading journal articles, not just on shoulder and elbow, but all orthopaedics. He feels this is so important that he acts as the unofficial librarian for his practice to ensure the latest journals are available to his colleagues.
“You have to constantly be striving to get better at everything,” he said. “We all need to give back to keep advancing our chosen profession. We make a very good living and so the least I can do is give back and help not only fellow orthopaedic surgeons but also help my patients. If there’s something that is generated [from research] that may turn one particular disease around, I think it’s worthwhile. The more that we can learn, the better our society will probably be in the future. The healthier we can make patients, the better off we’ll be.”
Improving the lives of patients with musculoskeletal conditions is also part of OREF’s mission, and donors like Dr. Adams mean more support for research that has the potential to make improvements in patient outcomes as well as patient care, a reality.
For the full report, visit bit.ly/oref-2021-annual-report
The Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization committed to improving lives by supporting excellence in orthopaedic research. OREF is dedicated to being the leader in supporting research that improves function, eliminates pain and restores mobility, and is the premier orthopaedic organization funding research across all specialties.
To learn more about Dr. Adams, visit mtbj.net/physicians/jeffrey-t-adams-md