University mourns sudden death of Dr. James Roth

By Communications Staff
February 01, 2013

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The Western community is mourning the death of Dr. James Roth, chair/chief, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, who died last night. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

Roth, MD’75, completed medical school and residency training in orthopaedic surgery at Western. During his orthopaedic surgery residency, he spent one year as Dr. J.C. Kennedy’s research resident. He completed his post-residency fellowship in Hand and Microsurgery at Duke University Medical School prior to starting practice at Victoria Hospital in London, Ont., on Jan. 1, 1982. He quickly rose to the rank of professor in 1989.

He co-founded the Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC) with Dr. Robert McFarlane at St. Joseph’s Health Care London in 1992 and served as its medical director since its inception. This centre has grown to be the largest of its kind in Canada and has an international reputation for its research and teaching excellence.  

Under Roth’s leadership, HULC scientists developed several new techniques for computer-assisted surgery and surgical innovation; leading to advances in surgical mechatronics, joint design, wound-healing and limb re-implantation in its world-class bioengineering lab.  Numerous residents and fellows from across the globe were fortunate to learn from Roth’s clinical and academic expertise that inspired a generation of surgeons, scientists and leaders. 

While maintaining a full surgical practice, Roth was also an outstanding researcher who authored more than 150 scientific publications or book chapters during his career.

In 2011, Roth spearheaded a group of 25 orthopaedic surgeons to commit $1.5 million to create the Dr. J.C. Kennedy Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery, dedicated in honour of Kennedy, Western’s first professor and chair of orthopaedic surgery.

As a former member of the Western rugby and football teams, Roth was passionate about Western. His commitment to university made an impact in many areas and programs thanks to his tireless fundraising efforts. 

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; their four children; and grandchildren. 


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