Nortin M. Hadler, MD, MACP, MACR, FACOEM

  • AB, Yale University, 1964
  • MD, Harvard Medical School, 1968
Research Interests
  • Health policy regarding disability schemes for musculoskeletal disorders
  • Effectiveness of interventions for the regional musculoskeletal disorders
  • Analyses of medicalization and the social construction of illness
Research Summary

The molecular biology of hyaluran and the immunobiology of peptidoglycans were the focus of Dr. Hadler’s early investigative career. Because of the contributions of his laboratory, he was selected as an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association and elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation.  The focus on basic biology was superseded by what he initially termed “industrial rheumatology.” Over 200 papers and 12 books bear witness to his analyses of “the illness of work Incapacity” including the sociopolitical constraints imposed by various nations faced with the challenges of applying disability and compensation insurance schemes to predicaments such as back pain and arm pain in the workplace as well as for a more global illness narrative such as is labeled “fibromyalgia.” He is widely regarded for his critical assessment of the limitations of certainty regarding medical and surgical management of the regional musculoskeletal disorders. The third edition of his monograph, Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders, was published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins in 2005 and provides a ready resource as to his thinking on the regional musculoskeletal disorders. In recognition of this work he was elected to the National Academy of Social Insurance and is a Fellow of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Fifteen years ago he turned his critical razor to much that is considered contemporary medicine at its finest. Assaults on medicalization and overtreatment have appeared in many editorials and commentaries, and in 6 monographs: McGill-Queens University Press published The Last Well Person. How to stay well despite the health-care system in 2004 (paperback 2007). UNC Press published Worried Sick. A prescription for health in an overtreated America (2008, paperback 2012), Stabbed in the Back. Confronting back pain in an overtreated society (2009), Rethinking Aging. Growing old and living well in an overtreated society (2011), Citizen Patient. Reforming health care for the sake of the patient, not the system (2013) and By the Bedside of the Patient (in press). Les Presses de l'Université Laval published the French translations.

 Dr. Hadler has lectured widely, including many named lectureships and is a frequent commentator for the print and broadcast media. He has garnered multiple awards and served lengthy Visiting Professorships in England, France, Israel and Japan. In 2015 he assumed a leadership role in an initiative designed to provide rational health care in an evidence-based, cost effective, employer-sponsored, defined contribution, health insurance benefit.


Publications in PubMed