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Lifetime Service Award – 2011

William G. Hamilton, MD

Presented at the IADMS 21st Annual Meeting, October 13, 2011, Washington, DC, USA


William G. Hamilton, MD, one of the founders of the field of dance medicine in the United States, is the orthopaedic surgeon considered by many to be the world’s authority on injuries to dancers. In 1972 George Balanchine invited Dr. Hamilton to become the orthopaedist for the New York City Ballet and its affiliated School of American Ballet, and in 1980 he was asked by Mikhail Baryshnikov, then the director of American Ballet Theatre, to be their orthopaedist as well. 

Dr. Hamilton graduated from Princeton University with an engineering degree, served in the US Army, attended medical school at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the New York Orthopaedic Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, New York. With his well-established background in engineering, his transition into medicine, and especially surgery, was fortuitous.

Presently, he is the orthopaedic surgeon for New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The School of American Ballet, and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet at ABT. He consults for The Ailey School, the New York Knicks basketball team, and the New York Yankees baseball team. He has written numerous articles and chapters in textbooks regarding injuries to dancers and has lectured on this subject around the world. He holds the following appointments, all in New York City: Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, Senior Attending Orthopedic Surgeon at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, and Assistant Attending Surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He also teaches in the postgraduate fellowship program in foot and ankle surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Hamilton has served on the Board of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. He is the Past President of the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society and the New York Medical and Surgical Society.

Dr. Hamilton has trained many orthopaedists across the USA who specialize in foot and ankle surgery. In addition, he readily shares his surgical expertise with other orthopaedic surgeons around the world. We are all grateful for his indefatigable interest in and generosity towards the dance medicine community. You can often find him at the theater on Friday mornings, watching New York City Ballet company class, and giving wise words of advice such as, "You can’t fool mother nature!”

The International Association for Dance Medicine & Science is pleased to honor Dr. William Hamilton for his lifetime of service to dancers and to the dance medicine and science communities.

 William Hamilton, MD, his wife Linda (left), and Marika Molnar, PT, LAc (right)

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