MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award

For an exemplary model of service to our institution and excellence in teaching, research and patient care, look no further than Wilhelm Zuelzer, M.D. Zuelzer completed his residency here at MCV and then went to Ohio State University to complete a fellowship in sports medicine and serve as a faculty member.

Zuelzer returned to MCV in 1990 and is currently professor and vice chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is also chief of perisurgical services operations for the VCU Medical Center, which includes surgical and surgical support services such as ambulatory surgery, medical services, operating rooms, Preoperative Assessment Communication and Education Clinic, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, the perisurgical unit and the Preoperative Assessment Clinic.

Zuelzer served on the MCV Physicians board from 2004 – 2010, serving as chair of the Finance Committee for two and a half years during that time. He has a long record of committee service to the university and medical school, currently serving on the Access to Patient Care committee, MCV Physicians Compliance Committee, Pain Management Committee and Resident Life Committee. He also serves his profession on the nominating committee for the Virginia Orthopaedic Society and the Medical Society of Virginia as well as through membership in many scientific, honorary, and professional societies.

Students and trainees look to him as a role model. “When taking care of patients, his motto is truly ‘Do no harm,'” says Victoria Kuester, M.D., former trainee and now assistant professor of orthopedic surgery. “He will only operate when he deems it necessary and best for the patient, and he will tirelessly make sure that the patients are doing well preoperatively and postoperatively.”

A dedicated teacher, Zuelzer has been the program director for the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program since 2002, and in 2011, received the Leadership in Graduate Medical Education Program Director Award in recognition of his contributions.

In addition to clinical teaching, Zuelzer has a strong commitment to research training and has mentored residents and Ph.D. students who have been highly productive, thanks to his guidance and encouragement.

Despite his many clinical, teaching, and administrative responsibilities, Zuelzer is known for quickly returning a phone call from a patient, coming to the bedside (even from home) to assist a trainee and promptly responding to a colleague’s question.

Patients appreciate Zuelzer’s approach to treating them as a whole person, not a surgical case. He was voted a 2012 Richmond Magazine Top Doc and received the highest number of votes of any physician in the category of orthopedic surgery.

“I am very thankful for Dr. Zuelzer and all that he has taught me about being a good clinician and doctor,” Kuester says. We are all thankful for Zuelzer’s remarkable contributions and level of dedication to clinical effectiveness and efficiency, and his availability, responsiveness and compassion for patients.