OrACORe History and Overview
Jeffrey N. Katz, MD, MSc

OrACORe History and Current Focus Areas

Historical Roots:
The Orthopaedic and Arthritis Center for Clinical Research (OrACORe) is a relatively new research center with direct lineage to one of the oldest orthopedic and musculoskeletal institutions in the US.  Our progenitor is the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital for Incurables, established in 1914 just a half mile from the current site of Brigham and Women’s Hospital as one of the nation’s first teaching hospitals dedicated to arthritis and related diseases. In 1956, the name was shortened mercifully to the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital.  Brigham and Women’s Hospital was formed in 1980 as a merger of three previously autonomous Harvard Medical institutions: the Peter Bent Brigham (Medical and Surgical) Hospital, the Women’s Lying-In Hospital, and the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital.

The Robert Breck Brigham, and subsequently the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, performed leading edge clinical research relating to musculoskeletal disorders throughout the latter part of the 20th Century and early years of the 21st. Many key advances in orthopedic and arthritis care were developed, refined or critically evaluated at these institutions including total joint replacement implants and surgical techniques, disease modifying treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, patient-oriented outcomes of care for rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders and the genetic epidemiology of rheumatic diseases, among other advances.

In 2006, the Chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Thomas Thornhill, MD, identified the opportunity at BWH for a research center focused on musculoskeletal clinical and policy research.  Dr. Thornhill invited Drs. Jeffrey Katz and Elena Losina to launch The Orthopaedic and Arthritis Center for Clinical Research (OrACORe). Dr. Katz, Center Director, is a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiologist; Dr. Losina, Center Co-director, is a biostatistician and epidemiologist.

The Center is among the only research units in the world dedicated to musculoskeletal clinical and health policy research. The OrACORe research agenda focuses on diverse musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis, regional pain (e.g. knee, shoulder, hand, foot, ankle…), spine problems, osteoporosis and trauma. These disorders account for an enormous burden of pain, functional loss and productivity loss.

Other research and educational programs are described in greater detail elsewhere in this website. Enjoy browsing!