Alexander R. Vaccaro, MD, PHD, MBA


It’s hard to not be in awe of Alexander R. Vaccaro, MD, PhD, and MBA. He’s authored over 730 peer-reviewed articles, published over 300 book chapters, and edited more than 58 textbooks. And that’s all mostly in his spare time. In recognition of his day job as a global expert in spine surgery, Dr. Vaccaro has been lauded with numerous appointments and awards, among the most notable of which includes the Leon Wiltse Award from the North American Spine Society, the largest international spine society in the world. Dr. Vaccaro is also a father of five, who range in age from 26 to one. And a Eucharistic minister. These characteristics still only skim the surface of who Dr. Vaccaro is. In 2014, he was named president of the Rothman Institute and chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. In the dual role, Dr. Vaccaro oversees the clinical, educational, and research enterprises for both Rothman and Jefferson, an enormous responsibility that prompted him to reevaluate his blind spots. Medicine and education, he knows as well as anyone; it was the operational side that unnerved him and prompted his pursuit of an MBA. Three years after graduating from the Fox School’s online MBA program, Dr. Vaccaro says his MBA is as valuable as any of the handful of other degrees he’s earned. He estimates that 70 percent of his workday is spent tending to business matters, and everything he learned—from reading a balance sheet to building a team to negotiating a contract — was immediately applicable to that work. At the rate at which medicine is evolving, it’s only becoming more relevant by the day. “It’s 100 percent different from what it was only five years ago. Then, it was volume-based. It’s a value-based paradigm now,” Dr. Vaccaro says. “We need to minimize variance and wasteful care and make do with less to care for more. Every year, insurance companies and the government decrease monies available to providers in the face of inflation and cost-of-living increases. The revenue isn’t allowing us to continue to grow the way we need to in order to care for the under- and uninsured.” In ways both directly and indirectly related to his work, Dr. Vaccaro has continued to nurture his Fox School ties. He created a joint lecture series on law and ethics, hired the MBA program for a couple of projects, and he plumbs the network constantly. He also helped develop what he describes as a “micro MBA” through the Fox School at Thomas Jefferson University. It’s a two-year curriculum made available to all residents, fellows, and employees. They can earn credit by going online once a week for an hour-long lecture. Ultimately, Dr. Vaccaro says, it’s about staying involved because, “I need Temple more than it needs me. I need to be continuously learning to remain competitive in the business of medicine. And I can only do that through Temple and its continuing education opportunities.”

Temple University Degree
Master of Business Administration ’15, Fox School of Business

Title & Company

  • President, Rothman Institute Orthopaedics
  • Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics
  • Professor and Attending Surgeon of Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • Richard H. Rothman Professor and Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Co-Director of the Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley
  • Co-Director of Spine Fellowship Program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • Board Certified, Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Assistant Team Physician, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Managing Partner, RBx Capital, LP, a private equity fund specializing in investments in the laboratory testing market
  • Chairman & CEO, Parkway Clinical Laboratories, a global diagnostic provider of addiction screening and opioid prescription medication monitoring services

Temple University Awards & Affiliatons

  • Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, 1997
  • Chairman’s Circle
  • Former Dean’s Council, Fox School of Business

What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old
A surgeon, ever since I was eight. Growing up, I loved our family doctor, Dr. Ferraro.

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave me
Go home. Spend time with your family. When a doctor has an opportunity to go home, he comes back a better doctor.