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Nearly Three Years Later, Ralph Wilson’s Legacy Continues On Through Foundation


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In September 2011, Ralph & Mary Wilson donated $1 million to UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine through the Ralph C.…
May 21, 2014

In September 2011, Ralph & Mary Wilson donated $1 million to UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine through the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation. Nearly 3 years later, and in the wake of Mr. Wilson’s recent passing in March 2014, the fruits of this generous gift are still blossoming new support.

At the time the Wilsons gave the gift to UBMD Orthopaedics, Wilson stated, “You’re the most important player on our team,” a nod of appreciation to UBMD Orthopaedic’s role as team doctors for the Buffalo Bills.

The $1 million gift to UBMD’s Department of Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine has made the following projects and initiatives possible:

• The Arthroscopy Research and Educational Facility
• Clinical Research Coordinator (coordinating the efforts of numerous studies and clinical trials)
• Creation of a web-based knee diagnostic tool
• The Healthy Aging Mind Project
• The Relationship of Obesity to Orthopaedic Outcomes (study)
• Implementation of departmental clinical outcomes collection and data analysis system

Research and education is a primary goal for the donation, and as such UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine utilizes the donation to train 25 orthopaedic residents over a five-year term and two orthopaedic sports medicine fellows each year.

Another key result of the donation was the ability to create and sustain the ongoing Ralph & Mary Wilson Visiting Guest Lecture Series. To date, the Lecture Series has brought 10 visiting physician experts to Western New York to address the local orthopaedic community about new orthopaedic concepts and techniques that educate and foster discussion among attendees. Thanks to the donation, the lectures remain free and open to the public. The lectures are scheduled to continue into the future.

The latest Ralph & Mary Wilson Guest Lecture was recently held May 1 with Scott Rodeo, MD at Erie County Medical Center with an audience of approximately 60 physicians, residents, fellows, physician assistants and staff from numerous local orthopaedic and medical professional groups.

Dr. Rodeo is a clinician-scientist at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. In addition, Dr. Rodeo is Co-Chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He has also served as the Team Physician for the USA Olympic Swimming Team in 2004, 2008 and 2012, and has been the Associate Team Physician for the NFL New York Giants since 2000. In regards to the NFL, the Giants and Ralph Wilson, Jr., Dr. Rodeo said, “The Giants and the Mara family held tremendous respect for Mr. Wilson.”

Dr. Rodeo specializes in sports medicine injuries of the knee, shoulder, ankle and elbow, in addition to performing arthritis surgery of the knee and shoulder. His presentation, as part of the recent Ralph & Mary Wilson Visiting Guest Lecture, focused on meniscus transplantation, scientific improvements in cell biology and alternative options for meniscal replacements, including some European methods under evaluation by the FDA (synthetic materials, collagen meniscus implants, hydrogels and tissue engineering).

The 10 guest lecturers that have shared their knowledge with the Western New York medical community include :

  1. Brian Cole, MD (Rush University Medical Center; Team Physician for the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox and DePaul University)
  2. Brian Kelly, MD (New York Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell Medical College, Team Physician for the NY Giants, NJ Nets and NY Red Bulls MLS)
  3. Freddie Fu, MD (University of Pittsburgh)
  4. Bruce Reider, MD (Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Sports Medicine; University of Chicago Hospitals)
  5. Thomas Gill, MD (Harvard Medical School, Medical Director of the New England Patriots, Team Physician for the Boston Bruins)
  6. William Meyer, MD (pioneering diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation & prevention of core muscle injuries; author/co-author of over 300 peer reviewed medical publications)
  7. Robert Anderson, MD (OrthoCarolina Foot & Ankle Society, Head Team Physician for the Carolina Panthers)
  8. Christian Gerber, MD (University of Zurich)
  9. Steven Arnoczky, DVM (Michigan State University; published over 300 scientific papers)
  10. Scott Rodeo, MD (Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, Associate Team Physician for the NY Giants, Team Physician for U.S. Olympic Swimming (2004-2012)

“This generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Wilson means the difference between a good program and an exceptional one for our sports medicine residents and fellows here at UB,” said Dr. John Marzo from UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. “This gift, and the tremendous amount of learning we are able to share because of it, is a remarkable way to honor the memory of Mr. Wilson.”

The Ralph C. Wilson Foundation was established in 1952 by Ralph C. Wilson and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. to provide support to charitable and educational endeavors that make a tangible, positive impact on people’s lives. Ralph Wilson, Jr. is most widely known as the founding owner of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, a position he held for over 55 years.

Wilson has long been recognized for his diverse charitable endeavors in the Buffalo area over the years. Wilson was named the Seymour Knox III Humanitarian Award winner in the spring of 2003 and in 2007 he was named the Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year by the WNY Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Also in 2007, he and his wife, Mary, were named the Philanthropists of the Year by the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

The $1 million donation was made by the Wilsons to honor the Buffalo Bills team physicians; UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine physicians John Marzo, MD, who has served as the Medical Director and Head Team Physician for the Bills since 1991, and Leslie Bisson, MD, who has served as Assistant Team Physician and Orthopaedic Surgeon since 1995.