Augustus Aaron White III is a surgeon and biomedical engineer and expert on back pain. Dr. White's mechanical studies of the human spine have helped to develop technologies and surgical systems that speed patients' recovery from spinal injuries.
Born in 1936, Dr. White has worked to raise awareness of chronic back pain and how to prevent it throughout his career at both Yale and Harvard Medical Schools as a professor, and at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, where he worked as a surgeon.
Attending Brown University and initially intending to go into psychiatry, Dr. White's career goal was altered when he became interested in sports injuries while he played football for the university. After graduating cum laude from Brown in 1957, he went on to Stanford University where he earned his M.D. in 1961 and started his career as an orthopedic surgeon.
Dr. White served his internship at University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, worked in both San Francisco and New Haven, Connecticut and went on to serve in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968. He achieved the rank of captain in the medical corps and was awarded the Bronze Star.
In 1969 White was awarded a doctorate from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden for his research in the biomechanics of the spine. Dr. White's work has helped to draw attention to back pain, which afflicts nearly 80 percent of Americans between ages 35 and 50. The results of his research on the mechanics of the human spine have had practical applications.
Dr. White has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Martin Luther King, Jr., Medical Achievement Award, the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award in 1980, and the William Rogers Award from the Associated Alumni of Brown University.