Todd J. Albert, M.D., Hospital for Special Surgery

Todd J. Albert

Safety and Quality

Editors’ Note

Dr. Todd Albert is also the Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and Surgeon-in-Chief and Medical Director at Hospital for Special Surgery. Previously, Dr. Albert was Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics and President of The Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed his residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he was named outstanding chief resident, and performed a fellowship in spinal surgery at the Minnesota Spine Center.

How do you define your roles and focus your efforts at HSS?

As the Medical Director, I oversee the safety and quality of all the patients we care for. We have an amazing team of people that have historically looked after that and obtained outstanding results. This role is all about protecting the patients and overseeing anything that comes up to make sure they get the best care.

As Surgeon-in-Chief, while it includes being the Medical Director, that role involves being the point leader for all of the surgeons and physicians at HSS. I’m a surgeon so I live their lives in a sense, but I also have to listen to them and be their spokesman. I need to be in their heads to be their advocate and respond to their needs and, at times, help guide to an orderly outcome if there is disparity in thought or direction.


It’s a huge advantage to be
a single specialty-focused hospital.


When bringing in talent, how much does culture fit matter?

The culture of HSS is what makes us what we are. Our culture is our strategy because if I was asked to re-create it, I don’t think I could. It’s a culture that began with our creation in 1863 when the hospital was opened. The culture comes from being a relatively small, single-specialty hospital that grew to the biggest musculoskeletal specialty hospital in the world. Along the way, there has always been a culture of delivering the highest quality care and taking pride in that. There is an insistence that care be delivered at that level.

It’s a huge advantage to be a single specialty-focused hospital. Our advantage is not being distracted by having the heart surgeon, the transplant surgeon, and the GI surgeon at the table when we’re talking about the delivery of care to every patient that walks through the doors here.

Everyone here cares that patients have a perfect experience.