UMC Links

U Physician Christopher Peters, M.D., Named to New George S. Eccles Endowed Chair in Orthopaedics

Christopher Peters, M.D.

May 3, 2010 — At first glance, clinician-researcher Christopher Peters, M.D., and fundraising professional Arthur Swindle don’t appear to have much in common. But looks can be deceiving. Admiration and appreciation for the talents and dedication of both have fostered a $1 million grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation to the University of Utah’s Department of Orthopaedics. The gift, announced today, creates a prestigious endowed chair to provide perpetual support for innovation among the U’s top Orthopaedics faculty.

The George S. Eccles Endowed Chair in Orthopaedics is designed to enhance the work of an exceptional faculty member in the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedics, beginning with inaugural chair holder Christopher Peters. Peters, recognized worldwide as a leading clinician and researcher in joint preservation and regeneration, joined the U Department of Orthopaedics in 1994 and was recommended for the chair by Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., the U’s senior vice president for health sciences.

Charles L. Saltzman, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedics, said that by funding top-level researchers and clinicians such as Peters, the new endowed chair will help advance orthopaedic medicine and, ultimately, benefit many patients throughout the future. “This field becomes more vital each year as our population ages and faces the burdens of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal diseases,” he said. “The George S. Eccles Endowed Chair in Orthopaedics will play a key role in recruiting and retaining top faculty, providing enrichment to meet vital needs throughout the future. We are tremendously appreciative of the foresight and generosity of the Eccles Foundation in creating this prestigious chair.”

The Eccles Foundation has established the endowed chair in honor of Arthur J. Swindle, J.D., executive director of development and patient relations at the U’s Orthopaedics Center, “recognizing his more than three decades of compassionate service to patients and their families, and his dedication to excellence at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center.” According to Foundation Chairman & CEO Spencer F. Eccles, “For more than 30 years, our board members and families have been the beneficiaries of Art’s ongoing care, concern, compassion and friendship – and that includes our founders, Aunt Lolie (Dolores Doré Eccles) and Uncle George Eccles themselves. We hope that in attaching his name to this chair, Art’s example will be emulated by many others in the future.”

Eccles Foundation President Lisa Eccles added, “Our admiration for Dr. Peters and appreciation for Art’s effectiveness as an outstanding advocate for University Healthcare greatly impacted our decision to create this chair. We’re thrilled that it will not only help researchers in Orthopaedics work toward new treatments, but also continue to serve as a tribute to Art’s decades of caring and dedicated service.”

“This gift builds on the Foundation’s legacy of involvement with the department that spans more than 25 years,” said Robert M. Graham, secretary, general counsel and treasurer of the Eccles Foundation and a member of its board of directors. “It began with former chairman Dr. Harold K. Dunn, who provided medical care for George Eccles in the early 1980s. Today, as one who benefits from the care provided by Dr. Peters and the friendship and support of Art Swindle, I look at this endowed chair as both an expression of appreciation and a continuing vote of confidence in the U’s Department of Orthopaedics.”

Peters, who is widely respected for his role in the development of bio-regenerative, hip-preserving operations, focuses his research on developing treatment options for patients suffering from severe joint pain. In addition, techniques he developed for correcting abnormal joint anatomy have been of enormous benefit to people who develop osteoarthritis before age 55. He is currently studying three-dimensional modeling of the hip as a diagnostic technique, which potentially can shorten hospitalizations and elevate the quality of patient care.

During his years at the helm of the U’s Health Sciences fund-raising programs, Swindle and his colleagues have raised funds for scholarships, facilities, research, patient-care programs and numerous endowed chairs in areas such as Orthopaedics, Nursing, Cancer Research, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Cardiology, Family & Preventive Medicine, and more. According to Saltzman, “The University benefits from Art’s genuine interest in the well-being of others – not only patients and donors, but also our own health care faculty, staff and students. Far more reflective of Art’s success than the millions of dollars he has raised are the hundreds of friendships he enjoys with people from every walk of life whom he has helped personally by ‘connecting’ them with quality caregivers at the U … like Dr. Chris Peters.”

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation has contributed significantly for many years to colleges and departments throughout the U and its Health Sciences Center, including a major grant in 2003 to help build the state-of-the-art University of Utah Orthopaedics Center.