News Releases

AOA names Ross Zafonte, DO, new Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

Dr. Zafonte, who will begin his term on April 6, is Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

By AOA Media Team


CHICAGO—March 27, 2020—The American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the national professional membership organization for more than 151,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and medical students, announces that Ross Zafonte, DO, has been named the next Editor-in-Chief of its peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA). The JAOA was established in September 1901 and is the premier scholarly publication of the osteopathic medical profession. Dr. Zafonte will succeed Robert Orenstein, DO, a distinguished Chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Orenstein, who held the position since 2014, provided outstanding service and leadership during his tenure as the JAOA’s Editor-in-Chief.

“Dr. Zafonte is the ideal person to lead another wave of the charge to increase the commitment to research in our profession,” said Dr. Orenstein. “He has been a transformative and successful leader in the practice of rehabilitative medicine at several premiere medical institutions. He is a team-based leader who knows how to do big things, and I look forward to watching how his efforts will advance the mission of the JAOA.”

Dr. Ross D. Zafonte, who will begin his term on April 6, is Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. He also serves as chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Mass General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs Research and Education at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Dr. Zafonte’s textbook, Brain Injury Medicine, Principles and Practice, is considered one of the standards in the field of brain injury. His work is presently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense (DOD) and National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), and he is currently directing several large clinical treatment trials. His laboratory work has focused on understanding mechanisms of recovery after brain and spinal cord injury.

He has published and presented extensively on traumatic brain injury, spasticity, and other neurological disorders. He is the author of more than 300 peer reviewed journal articles, abstracts and book chapters.  

In 2006, Dr. Zafonte was selected to receive the Walter Zeiter award and lectureship by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and, in 2008, he was the recipient of the Association of Academic Physiatrists Distinguished Academician Award. In 2012, Dr. Zafonte received the William Caveness award for outstanding clinical care and research from the Brain Injury Association of America, and, in 2013, he received the Joel DeLisa Prize from the Kessler Foundation. In 2014, Dr Zafonte received the Moody prize for Brain Injury research and care.

“We are very fortunate to have found such a qualified and passionate physician to continue the work of Dr. Orenstein while stimulating further growth and development of the mission of the JAOA,” said Teresa Hubka, DO, chair of the Editor-in-Chief search committee.

Along with the addition of Dr. Zafonte, the JAOA looks forward to a restructuring and reformatting of the publication in the coming months.  Such efforts are intended to expand the influence and research efforts impacting the practice of osteopathic medicine and healthcare in general.

The JAOA’s mission is to serve as an international forum for the dissemination of scientific literature that incorporates an integrative, comprehensive, patient-centered approach to clinical care and improving health. To that end, the JAOA is designed to support and amplify the scholarly voice of osteopathic medicine, publishing research that is meaningful to osteopathic physicians in whatever field they practice. The Journal is indexed by the National Library of Medicine, the Web of Science, and ReadCube. In the Web of Science, the JAOA is part of the Core Collection in the Emerging Sources Citation Index, which allows JAOA content to reach a much wider audience than previously possible. For more information, visit