Dr. Clifford Colwell writes prescription for a good life: it's family, friends, health and hard work

Clifford Colwell
Clifford Colwell

Clifford W. Colwell Jr., M.D., is medical director of the Shiley Center for Orthopaedic Research and Education at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, and holds the Donald and Darlene Shiley Chair in Orthopaedic Research. He is clinical professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, and adjunct clinical professor in the Department of Basic Science and Clinical Research at The Scripps Research Institute.

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Clifford Colwell

He was chief of the Orthopaedic Division at Scripps Clinic and director of the Lower Extremity Reconstruction Fellowship Program for 25 years. Dr. Colwell received his medical degree from the University of Michigan and completed a two-year general surgery residency at U of M. He did his orthopaedic residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and completed a trauma fellowship at Los Angeles County Hospital.

He served in the military at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas (1968-70). He and his wife, Carolyn, have three children and six grandchildren and have lived in La Jolla since 1970.

Dr. Colwell has received numerous awards for his work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty (ISTA) in 2009. He has authored 220 papers, written 18 book chapters, and has been a speaker at multiple symposia worldwide.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My wife Carolyn and I had a series of desires in choosing a place in which to settle and establish our roots. We wanted proximity to an excellent medical and nursing environment in order to pursue our professional goals; an area with availability of outdoor activities, such as boating, skiing, biking, etc.; and proximity to an additional culture, such as Mexico, so that we might participate in an exchange for our children to learn a second language. La Jolla was the clear winner.

What are your favorite places in La Jolla?

Those would be the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, Torrey Pines State Park, biking and walking trails in North County (outside La Jolla), and the great restaurants throughout La Jolla.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add to improve La Jolla?

Traffic continues to worsen and this will not improve over time nor are there easy solutions. I would make public transportation to La Jolla more accessible, put in additional public parking, such as found in Santa Barbara with shuttles and electronic surveillance for employees, and add parking meters for single participant automobile use. (I would then leave town, before the critics could catch me.)

Who inspires you?

Individuals who are able to add giving of their time, effort and finances to a common good in addition to their own self-interests. There have been wonderful examples of such individuals from my professional and

personal life. In the causes that I find important, there are always people who inspire me by doing much more than I do.

What you are reading?

“Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, “Cat’s Table” by Michael O’Daatje, and “The Long Journey to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela.

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