2009 Distinguished Alumni Award: Mark Weidenbaum

Dr. Mark Weidenbaum came to the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut from Waterford, Connecticut. Under the guidance of Drs. John Tanaka (chemistry), Hans Laufer (biology), and Frederick Steigert (physics), he graduated summa cum laude in chemistry as a University Scholar in 1977. He went on to receive his M.D. at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1981 and trained for two years in General Surgery at Roosevelt Hospital (New York).

He completed his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at Columbia’s Presbyterian Medical Center (New York) as well as a Fellowship in Scoliosis and Spine Surgery at Rush-Presbyterian–St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. Subsequently, he joined the staff at Helen Hayes Hospital and at New York Presbyterian Hospital as an Orthopaedic Surgeon specializing in Spinal Surgery.

Dr. Weidenbaum is currently Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and Director of Orthopaedic Spine Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Milstein Pavilion. His surgical practice focuses on reconstructive spinal surgery in adults as well as children. His academic teaching responsibilities primarily involve Orthopaedic Surgery house-staff and medical students. He is also active in clinical and basic science research on spinal deformity and he has received numerous grants from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the Carroll Foundation.

Recognized internationally, Dr. Weidenbaum actively participates in many professional societies including the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), and the North American Spine Society. He is Chairman of the Adult Deformity Committee of the SRS, has served as a Member of the SRS Board of Directors, and was selected as Local Host for its annual meeting.

He has published extensively in peer-reviewed literature (Spine, Journal of Orthopedic Research, and Journal of Biomechanics) in addition to authoring many abstracts and textbook chapters. He has been invited to lecture, participate in meetings, instruct at courses, and perform surgery in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Asia. He has consulted for the New York Yankees and has appeared several times on NBC’s “The Today Show” to discuss spine issues.

His wife, Lisa Berke-Weidenbaum, is a nurse practitioner. Together, they share three  wonderful daughters: Rachel (23), Emily (20), and Martina (17). Dr. Weidenbaum is extremely grateful to the UConn Honors Program for nurturing, challenging, and preparing him for life’s many great opportunities. He is most honored to receive this exceptional award.