Emory’s Department of Orthopaedics has been led and shaped by five former chairmen. Dr. Robert P. Kelly the Inaugural Chairman was recruited by Dr. Daniel C. Elkin, Chief of Surgery at Emory. Upon being appointed Chief of Orthopaedics, Dr. Kelly immediately began working to develop a residency program in Orthopaedics, which up to that time had been non-existent. As the residency program developed, Dr. Kelly also expanded the number of faculty members to include seven full time orthopedists. 

In 1991, The Emory Sports & Spine Center, became the Emory Clinic’s first off-campus location and began two decades of exponential growth and focus on improved customer service and access for patients and their families. In 1994, Dr. Scott D. Boden became the first Director of The Emory Spine Center which became its own division within Orthopaedics and its own section within The Emory Clinic. This multi-disciplinary center fostered the development of new care models with improved access and novel financial/business models.This led to the continued growth of the Emory Spine Center to 24 full time faculty consisting of orthopaedic spine surgeons, neurological spine surgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation spine physicians, and occupational medicine seamlessly functioning together.

In 2004, the Orthopaedics Department led the development and building of a 95,000 square foot free standing outpatient musculoskeletal center at Executive Park. This move allowed consolidation of MSK services into a primary “one-stop shop” for all patients needs including dedicated MRI/CT, digital x-ray, physical/occupational therapy, and an ambulatory surgery center leading to unprecedented growth of the program. In 2007, the department opened the free-standing Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH) in Tucker with less than 1400 inpatient surgeries per year (translocated from Emory University Hospital) which has grown to over 3900 inpatient surgeries per year (as of 2017) and boasts consistently the highest patient satisfaction ratings of any hospital in the United States. In 2017, Emory Healthcare Orthopaedics was able to secure bundled pricing contracts with several large national employers and be designated as a Joint Replacement and Spine Center of Excellence by several of the major payors.

The Sports Medicine Division grew from three sports medicine surgeons to nine surgeons and seven PM&R sports or family practice sports physicians. As of 2017, Emory Healthcare and Emory Sports Medicine are the official team healthcare providers for the Atlanta Falcons (2011), The Atlanta Hawks (2016), The Atlanta Braves (2017), The Atlanta Dream (2015), Georgia Institute of Technology (D1), Emory University (D3), Ogelthorpe (D3), and over 20 high school programs and multiple soccer and tennis club programs. In 2017, the Emory Sports Medicine Complex opened boasting a 100,000 square foot facility that houses a brand new Emory Sports Medicine Center, Emory Physical Therapy, Peak Performance Project P3 (a world leader in sports performance measurement and science), The Emory Healthcare Courts (Atlanta Hawks Practice Facility), and Atlanta Hawks Basketball Operations.