Doctor’s prescription for a good life: Family, friends, health, hard work

Dr. Clifford W. Colwell Jr.

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 (TSRI).

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.

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.

Who or what 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.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

I have often thought of a similar-type question. Would I have someone who has been an inspiration to many, but whose philosophy is already well known or someone who you would wonder of their answers to certain questions?

For a dinner party, I would choose the later, as for a starter they would need to appreciate good food and good wine. Winston Churchill, Jacqueline Kennedy, William Shakespeare (if he, in fact, was one person), Georgia O’Keeffe, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nadine Gordimer, George Washington and Carolyn, my wife. (If allowed nine, I would include Catherine the Great.)

Tell us about 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. For some reason, I am unable to read one book at a time. (The rule that one book must leave before another comes in doesn’t work in our home.)

What would be your dream vacation?

This might seem a little weak, but both Carolyn and I are really happy either here or at our family cottage in upper Michigan on a clear water lake where we can canoe (and I can build canoes), hike, bike, read and enjoy the change in weather (this does not apply to winter).

The fact that our children and their children also love it is another plus. In addition to the above, visiting a place that has an interesting history has great value; Israel would be an example. Our trip on the Orient Express is a wonderful memory.

What are your favorite movies of all time?

“Dr. Zhivago,” “The Dirty Dozen,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” (This list tells you something about my age.)

What is your most prized possession?

I have had good health and without this, many things are truly impossible. A great marriage is a close second, but one could add books and handmade cedar-strip canoes.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

The following answer is only predicated on the advantages of living in this country. In this setting, hard work and persistence will have a great chance of success with a foundation in family, close personal friends and laughter.

Related posts:

  1. Jerry Gold honored for work in mental health
  2. Carmel Valley author has the prescription for spirituality in the health-care industry
  3. Family, friends remember Ellen Revelle
  4. Carmel Valley Orthopaedic surgeon who found his niche in researchwins prestigious award for his work with the ‘e-knee’
  5. John Schroeder big on family, hard work

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Aug 30, 2012. Filed under 10 Questions, Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6



  • La Jolla Library welcomes new chief Shaun Briley
    For La Jolla Riford Library’s new head librarian, Shaun Briley, books have been a part of his life and career, in some form or another, every step of the way. […]
  • Tangerine trees, marmalade skies for Beatles-inspired Patrons of the Prado gala in Balboa Park, San Diego
    “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was the theme of the Patrons of the Prado gala on July 12, 2014 in Balboa Park, San Diego. Beatles-inspired music came from Wayne Foster Entertainment. Sandy Redman and Jeanne Jones served as event chairs. 2014’s beneficiaries are the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Museum of Art and The Old Globe Theatre. […]
  • La Jolla’s Best Bets for events July 31- Aug. 7
    Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) offers a crash course in starting a photography collection 6 p.m. Thursday Aug. 7. at the Ligne Roset Showroom, 7726 Girard Ave. MOPA assistant curator Chantel Paul and director of jdc Fine Art Jennifer DeCarlo will share professional insights. […]




  • Rancho Santa Fe resident’s Gen 7 wines earn top honors
    Rancho Santa Fe resident Tim Bacino’s Gen 7 Wines is on a hot streak, his varietals winning several awards this summer in California wine competitions. […]
  • Torrey Pines High School baseball alum Taylor Murphy excelling in pro ball
    It was during a breakout senior year at Torrey Pines High that Taylor Murphy first popped up on the radar of professional scouts. Shortly after graduation, Murphy was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 40th round of the June 2011 amateur draft. He declined, honoring a commitment to the University of the Pacific. Three years later, Murphy got another sho […]
  • Why Hire a Licensed Landscape Professional?
    By Steve Jacobs, Nature Designs The old saying – “if something seems to good to be true, it probable is” – is quite fitting when it comes to hiring a contractor for your home or yard construction project. While it is smart to shop around, get quotes, etc., don’t fall into the trap of trusting […]