Remembering Dr. H. Robert Brashear, Jr.

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Dr. H. Robert Brashear, Jr. Dr. Brashear joined UNC Orthopaedics in 1953 and his legacy of excellence in teaching of orthopaedic residents and medical students remains with our training program today.

From the Department of Orthopaedics

H. Robert Brashear, Jr., M.D.
Professor Emeritus of Orthopaedics, Pathology, and Anatomy
November 11, 1921 - March 28, 2010

No faculty member in the history of UNC Orthopaedics has equalled Dr. Brashear in devotion to or excellence in teaching. He taught each of the more than 6,000 medical students who have passed through the halls of this institution for 55 years.  In the Musculoskeletal (MSK) course alone, he logged more than 1,400 teaching hours.

Dr. Brashear made innumerable contributions to musculoskeletal education at UNC. He developed a comprehensive musculoskeletal pathology library for our residency program, won the MSK Course Best Teacher Award so many times the Department excluded him from the competition, produced and narrated all the streaming videos for the current MSK course, and was instrumental in the organization and conductance of the anatomy course for the first-year medical students.

His talent and effort have led to three additional awards by the Sophomore class as the best Basic Science teacher, one by the Whitehead Society for overall excellence in teaching, and election by the students to honorary membership in Alpha Omega Alpha.  Until recently, he has been the keystone in the basic science education of the 150 or so residents who have finished the program here in Orthopaedics.

"Dr. B" was born in St. Louis and attended college and medical school at the Universities of California at Berkeley and San Francisco, respectively.  He interned at Georgetown, then spent two years as a medical officer in the Army.  His interest in basic science was undoubtedly stimulated by an orthopaedic residency and research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania –and certainly by his own research at UNC – which ranged from fundamental work on broken epiphyses to that on broken necks.  In addition to co-authoring with Dr. Raney the last five editions of the Handbook of Orthopaedics – for many years the students’ bible in our field – he has written about 20 chapters in other texts dealing with an aspect of basic science.

On the national scene, he chaired the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' Committee on Basic Science and its Board of Editors. He was Vice-President of the American Orthopaedic Association, served as a Director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and was an Associate Editor and member of the Board of Trustees for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

He will be missed.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, April 18, at 2 p.m., in the Assembly Room at Carol Woods.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Carol Woods Charitable Fund, Carol Woods Retirement Community, 750 Weaver Dairy Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, or to the Orthopaedic Research Fund, Nicole Pratapas, UNC Orthopaedics, 3158-B Bioinformatics Bldg, UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC  27599-7055.

Or, you may make a contribution to the charity of your choice.