John Sealy School of Medicine Alumni Awards

2024 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumni (ASDA) Awardees and Legacy Awardees.

Dr. Bobby J. Wroten, 2024 ASDA Recipient

Bobby J. Wroten, MD

2024 Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumni (ASDA) Award Recipient

This is the highest alumni honor bestowed to a medical school graduate by the university's John Sealy School of Medicine Alumni Association. This award, recognizing outstanding service to the medical profession and to humanity, honors the memory of Dr. Ashbel Smith. A prominent figure in Texas medicine, politics and education, Dr. Smith was considered the driving force behind establishing the University of Texas at Austin in 1881, and a medical department that would later be known as the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1891.

About Dr. Wroten

Dr. Bobby J. Wroten graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. He continued his education at the University of Texas Medical Branch [UTMB] School of Medicine at Galveston where he earned his medical degree in 1970. During his time at UTMB, he demonstrated leadership as the elected President of the Junior Class and was recognized with induction in the Mu Delta Honorary Medical Service Society. His involvement in the Phi Chi Medical Fraternity also forged enduring relationships.

Following graduation, Dr. Wroten and his wife, Susan, a UTMB School of Nursing 1970 alum, moved to Ft. Worth where he embarked on a rotating internship at John Peter Smith [JPS] Hospital and later became one of the first three residents in the newly established Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program at JPS. He successfully completed the program in 1975, obtaining certification by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in 1976, and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. His commitment to service extended to the Texas Army National Guard, where he served as a reserve medical officer and attained the rank of Major.

Dr. Wroten’s pursuit of excellence led him to a hand rotation at the University of California, Davis Orthopedic Program and a prestigious Boyes, Stark, Ashworth, and Zemel Hand Fellowship in Los Angeles, California. Returning to Ft. Worth, he, alongside his friend, Dr. Robert Bunata, became the first two full-time board-certified orthopedists specializing in hand surgery in the area.

Throughout his career, Dr. Wroten garnered recognition for his expertise. He was inducted into the American Society for Surgery of the Hand in 1981 and received the Certificate of Added Qualification in Surgery of the Hand in 1989 and was elected to the Texas Surgical Society in 2002. His contributions were acknowledged through listings in Top Docs, Super Docs, and Best Doctors in America. He served as the hand consultant for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and for the PGA players at the Colonial Golf Tournament, treating athletes across various disciplines.

Despite his numerous accolades, Dr. Wroten’s true passion lay in connecting with his patients on a personal level and not just as a ‘hand to examine.’ When working with his residents during their hand rotations, he emphasized the importance of not only examining the hands but also engaging with their patients on a personal level while interacting with them.

One of his proudest moments was when his son, Dr. Eric Wroten, also a UTMB alum and a fellowship-trained orthopedic hand surgeon, joined his practice in 2006. They worked together until 2012 when Dr. Wroten transitioned to JPS Orthopedic Department as an Assistant Professor of Hand Surgery. His commitment to education, teaching, and patient care was further recognized in 2014 when he received the Gold Headed Cane Award from the Tarrant County Medical Society.

Dr. Wroten maintained a strong connection with UTMB throughout his career as a Lifetime Member of the Alumni Association. His contributions extended to leadership roles including President of the UTMB Alumni Association Board of Trustees in 2000. Even in retirement, he continues to support UTMB as a Development Board member.

In 2018, Dr. Wroten officially retired embracing a life of travel, playing the guitar, photography, but, most importantly — cherishing moments with his wife Susan, children Wendi and Eric, their spouses, and four grandsons. His legacy is not only in his medical achievements but also in his dedication to patient care, education, and the ongoing support of his alma mater.

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