Dr. Harold "Hackie" Reitman
Harold “Hackie” Reitman is an orthopedic surgeon, former professional heavyweight boxer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, filmmaker, neurodiversity advocate. A graduate of BUSM ’74, he is author of the book “Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Neurodiversity.” Dr. Reitman is also the writer, executive producer, and co-director of the neurodiversity movie “The Square Root of 2” starring Darby Stanchfield of ABC’s hit TV show “Scandal”, as well as the documentary, “Asperger’s, Autism, and the Square Root of 2: A Neurodiversity Documentary.” He also hosts the video series, “Exploring Different Brains“, a twice weekly show focusing on neurodiversity topics including Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ASD, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, and Depression.
Dr. Reitman was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, where his parents had a gas station, and attended Henry Snyder High School where his abilities as an athlete were developed in both boxing and basketball. Upon graduating from high school, Hackie was accepted to the accelerated six-year medical program at Boston University.
During his first year of medical school at Boston University, he surprised instructors and students alike by entering and winning the Lowell New England Golden Gloves Championship as a heavyweight. Reitman, who won all four of his fights by knockout, turned down a lucrative pro boxing contract to continue his pursuit in medicine. He did not return to fight professionally until age 38 after his daughter had undergone brain surgery at the Mayo Clinic. All of his purses in his 26 professional heavyweight fights were donated to children’s charities.
Dr. Reitman did his internship at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey. He then entered the Boston University Orthopedic Residency Program, chaired by Dr. Robert E. Leach, which included rotations at the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Shriners Hospital for Children and, of course, Boston Medical Center. While at Boston City Hospital, Dr. Reitman served as Chief Resident. Thereafter, he relocated to South Florida where he founded Orthopaedic Associates USA, where he specialized in arthroscopic knee surgery and sports medicine, until he retired from surgery in 2004. From 1975 through 2011, a span of 36 years, Dr. Reitman commuted from Florida to deliver his annual lectures to first year medical students as Clinical Assistant Professor of Anatomy at Boston University School of Medicine.
In 1987, his only daughter, Rebecca, required emergency brain surgery. This life-changing event inspired Reitman to return to the boxing ring as a means for raising funds and awareness for a variety of well-known children’s charities. Hackie compiled a record of 13 wins (11 by KO), 7 losses, and 6 draws. In 2002, he was inducted into the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame and, in 2011, he was inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame. He continues his work for children with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, and other children’s causes, as well as serving as a goodwill ambassador for boxing.
Author, Director, Producer, Autism Advocate
Hackie went on to become the CEO and founder of PCE Media, a media company that creates, produces, and develops positive, family friendly, socially conscious scripted and non-scripted programming, and multi-platform content. He wrote, produced and directed the movie, The Square Root of 2, a full-length, independent film about a young woman with learning disorders pursuing a mathematics degree and her challenges in college as she struggles to succeed in a standardized “one size fits all” system. The nuanced performance by Darby Stanchfield, of ABC’s hit TV show “Scandal”, as the main character, brings the challenges of neurodiversity into a new focus.
Later, Dr. Reitman realized that his own daughter, in addition to other conditions, also had Asperger’s Syndrome. Wanting to help others living with Autism and Asperger’s, he penned the book: “Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Neurodiversity.”
This practical guide includes tools that help families, educators, employers and “Aspies” themselves observe signs of an “Aspie” (a word Reitman uses to describe someone whose brain is simply “different,”) how to handle situations unique to them and tips to help them foster their inner strengths. By accepting our increasing neurodiversity, recognizing that one size does NOT fit all, ALL of society will benefit greatly by harnessing the positive attributes of those of us whose brains are a bit different.
Subsequently, Dr. Reitman has travelled around the country, speaking and raising awareness for the neurodiverse. His recent speaking engagements include giving the a keynote address along with with Tim Shriver for the AADMD at the Special Olympics in L.A., and presenting at the USAAA World Conference, alongside other neurodiversity advocates including Temple Grandin.
Dr. Reitman is also the founder of the neurodiversity community and website www.DifferentBrains.com.
Honors and Awards
Dr. Reitman has received the Emerald Society 2000 Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Healthy Mothers-Healthy Babies 2002 Honorary ‘Mr. Mom’ Award and the Florida Medical Association’s 2002 Harold S. Strasser, M.D. Good Samaritan Award. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, and the International College of Surgeons. In 2016 Dr. Reitman was given the award for Significant Contributions in Development from AASCEND (Autism Asperger Spectrum Coalition for Education Networking and Development). He is also serves as past Chairman and President and Board Member of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, which serves 12,000 at risk youth in Florida. The BGCBC Dr. Harold “Hackie” Reitman Club is located in zip code 33311, one of the most at risk zip codes for youth in all the US.
Hackie resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is the proud father of Rebecca, the inspiration for “Aspertools.”
You can learn more about his achievements and history at Dr. Harold Reitman’s LinkedIn profile.