Dr. Vail is the Michael and Antoinette Pappas Endowed Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. He graduated from the Duke University School of Engineering cum laude with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and earned his medical degree at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University, Chicago. He completed his residency training at Duke University and joined the faculty at the Duke University School of Medicine in 1992, advancing to Professor and Director of Adult Reconstructive Surgery before being recruited to the Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco in 2007. He became the James L. Young endowed Professor in 2014, and received the Michael and Antoinette Pappas Endowed Chair in 2021. Under Dr Vail’s leadership, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF has become an international leader in patient care, research, education, and global health.
Dr Vail is internationally recognized as a specialist in total and partial joint replacement and surgical treatment of hip and knee conditions. He has published several hundred scientific articles, abstracts, book chapters and educational materials on many facets of hip and knee surgery, surgical training and innovation, health economics, and patient care. He is the past President of the Knee Society, the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, the Eastern Orthopaedic Association, past vice-President of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and currently on the Board of Trustees for the JBJS. He has held multiple leadership positions in UCSF Health including creating and serving as the medical director of the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute, the co-Chair of the UCSF Health Finance committee, Chair of the Funds Flow committee which created the integration of professional and hospital services at UCSF, and member of the Executive Council. He has multiple patents for orthopaedic devices, has served as an industry consultant, participated on multiple scientific advisory boards, and has helped to start companies in the musculoskeletal device space.