Chatham University

Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series

Dr. Vonda Wright, MD, MSVonda Wright, MD

Dr. Vonda Wright has gained national prominence as an expert in active aging and dramatically changes the lives of patients and athletes over 40 everyday. Her approach to living vital, active and thriving lives is praised by medical experts, fitness gurus and adult onset exercisers alike. Orthopedic surgeon, author, dynamic speaker, team sports doc, researcher and entrepreneur, Dr. Wright is the whole package!

One of only a few female Orthopedic surgeons in the country

Dr. Wright specializes in sports medicine and in the powerful and growing population of athletes over 40. She is a rising star in academia and popular media. She is the creator and director of the Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes (PRIMA); a one of a kind program for maximizing the performance and minimizing injury in recreational exercisers over 40 and elite masters athletes alike.

Dr. Wright’s first book

"Fitness After 40: How to stay strong at any age" was enthusiastically received and sold into its third printing before reaching bookstore shelves. As an entrepreneur, Vonda parlayed her vision for taking control of our aging process, THRIVE-ing, Prevention and Vitality by spurring merchandising deals with Fortune 500 sporting goods giant Dick’s Sporting Goods. The "Fitness After 40" exercise line hit Dick’s sporting Goods stores nationwide in November 2009 and sold 25% above projections in the first year. This spurred a rapid expansion of the line, re-branded "THRIVE with Dr. Vonda Wright," to 20 products available in stores January 2011. Her second book, "Dr. Vonda Wright’s Guide to THRIVE: 4 steps to Body, Brains and Bliss" was released in October, 2011 and features a 6 month program for total health.

A national authority on healthy aging

A national authority on healthy aging and Sports Medicine, Dr. Wright has given more than 200 media interviews in the last 2 years. She is a frequent contributor to the Dr. Oz show and the only Orthopedic Surgeon on the Dr. Oz show and Advisory boards. She also appeared on multiple occasions on The Doctors, CBS Evening news, ABC Health News, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN, Better TV, CBN, PBS and more than 50 local TV affiliate programs. Dr Wright is frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, as well as in magazines such as Maxim, Prevention, Fitness, MORE, Runner’s World, Best Life, Taste of Home and Arthritis Today. She writes a monthly health column for Colliers magazine and contributes to numerous online publications. Dr. Wright’s programs for adult onset exercisers were the subjects of two mini-documentaries produced by AARP.

Dr. Wright is a dynamic and engaging speaker

Whose style continues to captivate audience after audience from Expo to the university setting, to the community and the boardroom. Coupling her clinical and research pedigree with her well honed performance skills, her keynote addresses educate, inspire, motivate and entertain. Recent clients have included the Dick’s Pittsburgh Marathon Expo, National Academy of Women Athletic Directors, MORE/FITNESS Marathon Expo in NYC and Citicorp Smith-Barney’s Investor University, Dollar Bank, and many more.

Medical advisory boards

In addition to serving on the medical advisory boards of Dr. Oz and’s, Dr. Wright also services on the boards of the Arthritis Foundation, Fitness magazine, and Taste of Home (the number one in home food magazine).

Expert in musculoskeletal aging

Dr. Wright has tremendous academic acumen and is widely recognized in academic circles as a foremost Orthopedic expert in musculoskeletal aging. Vonda has more than 25 articles and book chapters published in peer reviewed journals and frequently presents her research at national and international Orthopedic Surgery meetings. She presents in yearly symposia on "Masterful care of the aging athlete" at the meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sport Medicine (AOSSM). Dr. Wright has received a number of honors and grants for her research including the prestigious Herodicus Award given by a society comprised of leaders in sports medicine, and her research captured the Wilson Award for Best Fellow Research at New York Hospital for Special Surgery in 2006.

Assistant professor of orthopedic surgery

In addition to caring for patients with a variety of musculoskeletal injuries, Dr. Wright is assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she did her orthopedic surgery residency. For 5 years she served as the head football surgeon for the NCAA Div I University of Pittsburgh Panther Football team and currently cares for the University of Pittsburgh women’s basketball, soccer, baseball and softball teams as well as the elite artist athletes of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Dr. Wright completed a fellowship in sports medicine and upper extremity at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, her residency in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and earned her medical degree from Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She earned a master’s degree in oncology nursing from Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, and her bachelor’s degree in biology from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. A Chicago native, she now makes her home in Pittsburgh.

An over 40 athlete herself, Vonda Wright was a competitive ballroom dancer and currently runs road races from the 5K distance up. Dr. Wright recently joined her 72 year old father in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, three Chicago marathons and recently crossed the 5k finish-line carrying her young daughter.