UPMC orthopaedic surgeon Vonda Wright, M.D., specializes in sports medicine and works to optimize her patients’ mobility. She is especially interested in aging athletes and how physical aptitude affects mobility, and other aspects of general health, as people age. Located at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes (PRIMA) is a service to help both aging athletes and sedentary adults over age 40 to remain fit and perform their best.
A valuable source of information for healthy aging, sports medicine and orthopaedic issues, Dr. Wright has been cited in numerous national news publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, CNN.com and MSNBC; as well as in the national magazines AARP, Best Life, Maxim, Prevention, SELF and Runners World. Dr. Wright regularly speaks to various groups on how to take an active role in aging, and she also has made several TV appearances, including a segment on CBS affiliate KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh TODAY Live.
In 2005, Dr. Wright was the research coordinator for the Summer National Senior Games – The Senior Olympics, held in Pittsburgh. Since then, she has analyzed and published health research data on Senior Olympians, demonstrating that older adults who are highly physically active throughout their life spans may be the best model of healthy aging, free from the variable of disuse.
Dr. Wright’s additional research interests include osteoporosis in men and how high-impact sports actually improve bone strength. Dr. Wright is currently researching stem cell therapy for the enhancement of bone and muscle healing, specifically the healing effects of cells’ sex and age differences. Her research has been rewarded in the form of grants, numerous awards, peer-reviewed publications and international and national presentations.
Dr. Wright sees patients in the clinic at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and performs surgery at UPMC Shadyside and UPMC South Side. One of few women in her field, she is assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and assistant team physician for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers football team.
She first came to Pitt in 1999 as an orthopaedic surgery resident. She had completed a research fellowship in Pitt’s Musculoskeletal Growth & Development Lab under the direction of Johnny Huard, PhD, and was one of only 10 residents to participate in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Clinician Scientist Development Program. Following the 2005 Summer Games, Dr. Wright completed a one-year Sports Medicine and Upper Extremity Fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Ill.; her master’s degree in oncology nursing from Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, and her medical degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.