Mary I. O’Connor, MD, is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacements and hip fracture care. She is the medical director for the Yale New Haven Hospital Fragility Hip Fracture Program, a model program that achieved national level recognition in reducing mortality for vulnerable elderly patients by streamlining and improving multidisciplinary care.
Dr. O’Connor is an Olympian and champion bronze medalist in women’s rowing. Although she did not get to compete in the 1980 Summer Olympics due to the boycott in Moscow, the experience helped drive her approach to caring for patients. “Athletics shaped me. I always try to focus on what goals my patients have and how I can work with them to achieve those goals,” she says.
Teamwork is important to her as well. “Both in rowing and in medicine, the team is what creates great outcomes,” she says. Dr. O’Connor often works closely with other specialists in orthopaedics, rheumatology, spine care, sports medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and physical therapy to provide each patient with the most comprehensive care.
To help decide what is best for individual patients, Dr. O'Connor listens carefully. “We want patients to tell us their story,” Dr. O’Connor says. “There is rich information about each patient in their history and how the musculoskeletal condition is affecting their life.”
Dr. O’Connor is a national leader for health equity and for promoting diversity and inclusion in the orthopaedic profession. She chairs Movement is Life, a multi-stakeholder coalition committed to eliminating musculoskeletal health disparities. Her passion for this work arose out of her frustration with women and individuals of color not receiving equitable health care.
Dr. O’Connor is a professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at Yale School of Medicine. She is past president of many orthopaedic professional societies, often as the first woman member and/or president.