History of the RISSER Orthopaedic Group

Some of the pioneers behind our practice

The history of our practice, one of the oldest in the US, began back in the 1930s when Dr. Joseph C. Risser moved to Pasadena, California to begin an amazing tradition of extraordinary orthopaedic care. Always a pioneer, the young doctor not only helped treat pain and illness but also spread knowledge by starting the Risser Orthopaedic Research Foundation, which made it possible for 52 young orthopedists from 20 countries to visit Pasadena and learn from him over a 22 year period. He also taught at the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital where he ran the scoliosis clinic and participated in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery’s annual meetings.

Over the years, RISSER Orthopaedic Group has enjoyed the partnership of many excellent orthopaedic surgeons. Dr. Donald M. Norquist joined Dr. Risser in 1945 after serving in the U.S. Army during WWII. He followed the tradition of Dr. Risser by teaching at the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital where he specialized in scoliosis. While practicing in Pasadena, he was Chief of Staff at St. Luke Hospital and president of the local chapter of the Western Orthopaedic Association.

Dr. Robert K.Gustafson joined the practice in the early 70's. He was one of the early pioneers in scoliosis surgery, performing Harrington Rod fusions on young patients with severe spinal curvatures. He was also active in resident teaching at the Orthopaedic Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Gustafson was a compassionate and caring physician. He served on many committees including Chief of Staff at St. Luke Hospital.

Dr. Donald J. Norquist followed in his father's footsteps. He completed his undergraduate and medical school training at the University of Southern California. He specialized in orthopaedics at the Orthopaedic Hospital in Los Angeles. He has also served as the president of the executive committee and member of the board of trustees at St. Luke Hospital. Dr. Norquist was a clinical instructor in Orthopaedics at USC School of Medicine and was the president of the Medical Alumni Association in 1980. For the last 38 years, he has been a dedicated member of the medical community in Pasadena.

Dr. Prickett grew up in the Pasadena area, graduated from Occidental College in 1971, earned a M.S. in Physiology from USC and graduated from USC Medical School in 1978. He later served as president of the USC Medical Alumni Association in 1986 and completed a fellowship in spinal surgery at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, in Oswestry, England.

Dr. Prickett was a partner in the RISSER Orthopaedic Group, where he specialized in spinal surgery. In addition, he served as the Chief of Surgery at Huntington Memorial Hospital. He was on the staff at the Methodist Hospital of Southern California and Verdugo Hills Hospital, and was Chief of Staff at St. Luke Hospital from 1994-1995. Dr. Prickett was a clinical professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the USC School of Medicine. He volunteered for 20 years at the Orthopaedic Hospital, serving children weekly at the hospital and traveling quarterly to the hospital's free clinic for under-privileged children in Calexico on the U.S. / Mexico border. He also ran a clinic for treating children's spinal deformities at UCLA Hospital. Chuck touched many lives in many places, and was well loved. He serves as a model physician and citizen that all the current members of Risser orthopaedics strive to emulate.

In this new era of medicine, our goal is to keep the tradition of compassionate care that Drs. Risser and Norquist Sr. began over 50 years ago. Our current members are held to the high standards set forth by our preceding associates for providing quality healthcare and community service.