Chairman, Orthopaedic Surgery

Raj Rao, MD, is Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at The George Washington University. He is also a professor of orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Rao is board-certified in orthopaedic surgery.

Dr. Rao's clinical interests include spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery, neck and back disorders with nerve-related issues, spinal trauma, spine tumors and spinal deformity.

Dr. Rao earned his medical degree from the University of Bombay, India. He completed his internship and his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Southern California. Dr. Rao is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons—the premier association of Orthopaedic Surgeons internationally. Dr. Rao previously served as Vice Chairman in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Rao is nationally recognized for his research in spinal and orthopaedic disorders. He has had numerous papers published in prestigious scientific journals on spinal biomechanics, injuries to the spine from motor vehicle collisions, the biology and mechanics of spinal fusion and gait analysis in persons with spinal disorders. He currently serves as associate editor of The Spine Journal and is on the editorial boards of other national and international scientific journals. 

In 2014, Dr. Rao was appointed chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel on Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Devices. In this position, he leads the panel in reviewing safety and efficacy of orthopaedic and spine-related devices for marketing in the U.S. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the executive board of directors of the Lumbar Spine Research Society. He was a member of the board of directors of the North American Spine Society from 2008 to 2014 and was the recipient of the David Selby Award of the North American Spine Society in 2014.

Dr. Rao was voted as one of the Best Doctors in America in 2013 and 2014. He was also named one of the top 100 Best Spine Surgeons and Specialists in America by Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Review in 2011.

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