Woman Leading the Way

Valerae Lewis, M.D., was appointed chair of newly created department, Orthopaedic Oncology.

Dr. Lewis

Dr. Lewis, professor of Orthopaedic Oncology, attended Yale University and graduated with a degree in Psychobiology. She then matriculated at Harvard Medical School, graduating with honors. Dr. Lewis completed her Orthopaedic training at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program and her fellowship in Musculoskeletal Oncology at the University of Chicago.

In 2000, Dr. Lewis joined The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In 2008, she was appointed section chief of Orthopaedic Oncology. Dr. Lewis has been serving as director of the Musculoskeletal Oncology Fellowship Program at MD Anderson for the past 10 years. She developed this program into one of the most sought after ACGME accredited musculoskeletal oncology fellowships. In 2010, she was awarded the Dr. John Murray Professorship in Orthopaedic Oncology at MD Anderson.  In 2012, she was the first African America woman to be awarded the MD Anderson Faculty Achievement Award in Patient Care. In 2014, the section of Orthopaedic Oncology became the 7th department in the Division of Surgery, and after a National search, Dr. Lewis was named chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Oncology.  Dr. Lewis is one of the first woman chairs of an Orthopaedic department in the nation and the first woman chair of Orthopaedic Surgery in the UT system and at a free-standing cancer center.

Dr. Lewis is very active nationally and internationally in the following Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Oncology organizations: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, the International Society for Limb Salvage and the Western Orthopaedic Association. Dr. Lewis is a strong advocate of education and, as such, has served on the MSTS Education Committee, was chair of the AAOS Instructional Course Lecture Tumor Subcommittee and currently serves on the AAOS Council on Education.  She served on the board of the American Orthopaedic Association from 2007 to 2010 and the board of the Western Orthopaedic Association from 2005 to 2014. She recently completed her year as the president of the Western Orthopaedic Association, where she was the first African American woman president of an orthopaedic association.  

Dr. Lewis’ expertise is with treating both children and adults with bone and soft tissue sarcomas of the pelvis and extremities. In 2011, she started MD Anderson’s Multidisciplinary Pelvic Sarcoma Program that not only addresses the clinical needs of this unique group of patients, but also works to improve both the clinical and functional outcome of patients with pelvic sarcoma.   

Married for almost 21 years, Dr. Lewis is the mother of two wonderful 12-year-old twins.