National Accolade for UConn Health’s Dr. Lauren Geaney

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society recognizes UConn Orthopaedic Residency Program director for her leadership in breaking down gender barriers.

Dr. Lauren Geaney portrait in surgery suite

Dr. Lauren Geaney, UConn Orthopaedic Residency Program director, is the 2022 recipient of the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation's Career Development Award. (Photo by Lanny Nagler)

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society is presenting UConn Health’s Dr. Lauren Geaney with one of its highest honors for women in leadership.

Geaney, who directs the UConn Orthopaedic Residency Program, will receive the 2022 Career Development Award from the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the AOFAS.

By encouraging women and recognizing women for their work, I think it places a spotlight on how successful women can be in the field. — Dr. Lauren Geaney

“I continue to be impressed when Lauren takes the stage,” says Dr. Holly Johnson, foot and ankle surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, who nominated Geaney. “She has a commanding yet approachable presence at the podium, capturing the audience’s attention while making a strong point clearly.”

Geaney will accept the award at the AOFAS annual meeting in September.

“This was very unexpected, which I think is why it’s so meaningful to me,” Geaney says. “Amongst so many unbelievable and accomplished women, this is such an honor. Truly I was speechless when I opened the email since it was such a shock.”

Dr. Isaac Moss, chair of UConn Health’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, says, “Dr. Geaney long ago established herself as a leader at UConn Health and in our department. It is wonderful that she is receiving this well-deserved recognition of her talents at the national level. We are immensely proud, and fortunate, to have her as a member of our department!”

Geaney serves as vice chair of the AOFAS’s education committee, and will become committee chair later this year. Her involvement with the society goes back more than a decade and helped shape her career path.

“My interest in foot and ankle surgery and decision to pursue a foot and ankle fellowship actually began after I was the recipient of the AOFAS Resident Scholarship when I was a third-year resident, which allowed me a stipend to travel to the annual meeting,” Geaney says. “There I met many orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons and was able to network and realized what a great society and network it is.  Since that time I have become more involved since I think the resources available are important for my growth as well as to improve patient care and encourage research in the field.”

The award, part of the AOFAS Women’s Leadership Initiative, recognizes Geaney for her advocacy in breaking down gender barriers in orthopedic surgery.

“One of the biggest barriers to the lack of women in orthopedics is the lack of female mentorship,” she says. “By encouraging women and recognizing women for their work, I think it places a spotlight on how successful women can be in the field. I’m hopeful that young women can see that I have been able to be a surgeon, a leader, an educator and at the same time a mom and a wife. If you see it, you can be it!”

And she says this is one of the highlights of her career to date.

“I feel like I’ve always looked up to so many women as inspiration to me and mentors and sponsors but never thought of myself as being the same for other surgeons early in their careers,” Geaney says. “Now it’s time for me to do the same for the women behind me.”