Photography by Dennis Trantham

Roy Meals grew up in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. He attended Rice University, majored in biology, and gained a deep appreciation for the diversity and adaptations of animal life. At Vanderbilt University Medical School, he further explored the workings and failings of human tissues, especially those of the musculoskeletal system.

Dr. Meals completed an orthopedic surgery residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital followed by a hand surgery fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He then joined the faculty at UCLA where he is currently a Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery.

He has served as President of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and has also been on the editorial board of the Journal of Hand Surgery for most of his career. This has included a five-year term as Editor-in-Chief.

Along the way, Dr. Meals lived in Turkey for two years and took the opportunity to travel extensively in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. These trips expanded his interest in the historical and cultural aspects of human anatomy. He continues to be an ardent traveler and has discovered interesting information about the musculoskeletal system during his visits to 48 states and 49 countries.

Books authored by Dr. Meals include:

  • One Hundred Orthopedic Conditions Every Doctor Should Understand. Appreciated by lay readers as well, one reviewer described the style as Dr. Seuss meets O Henry.
  • The Hand Owner’s Manual. A Hand Surgeon’s Thirty-Year Collection of Important Information and Fascinating Facts. A reviewer states, “This book is written as a leisure read with a great sense of humor and affection.”
  • Bones, Inside and Out The Wall Street Journal review includes, “His new book is a lively, lucid and entertaining tour of bone in health and disease, and its strange afterlife in human culture.”
  • Muscle, The Gripping Story of Strength and Movement From the Kirkus review, “An easy-to-digest science lesson tailored for general readers.”

When not seeing patients, teaching, traveling, or writing, Dr. Meals is likely exercising his musculoskeletal system by gardening, cycling, or jogging.