1922 - 2022 | 100 Years of Leadership in Orthopaaedic Surgery Residency

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Innovations in Orthopaedics | Winter 2022

In 1922, Louis Starin, MD, a general surgeon, completed a one-year orthopaedic residency at Lakeside Hospital, which in 1925 merged with two other institutions to form University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Robert J. Gillespie, MDRobert J. Gillespie, MD
Michael Karns, MDMichael Karns, MD

Now celebrating its centennial anniversary, the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has long served as a premier training site for tomorrow’s leaders in orthopaedic medicine.

“As we enter the 100th year of our residency program, we are reflecting on our rich and steeped history and looking toward the next hundred years,” says Robert J. Gillespie, MD, Program Director for Orthopaedic Surgery Residency. “Our faculty’s continued dedication to putting residents first remains paramount as we transition to the next generation of graduate medical education.”

A 2010 graduate of the program, Dr. Gillespie is also Chief of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Along with Associate Program Director Michael Karns, MD, and Academic Program Administrator Kerwin Samson, he screens over 1,000 applicants for six residency positions each year.

Recognizing the challenges of the pandemic, the team transitioned to a virtual recruitment process in 2021. “We had a very successful match utilizing the Thalamus virtual platform,” says Dr. Karns, who is also the Associate Director of the Orthopaedic Surgery Sports Medicine Fellowship. “Our residents are among the best in the nation, and they graciously volunteered their time and input to refine our virtual experience and make it as true to an in-person interview as possible.”

Dr. Karns and Dr. Gillespie are also reshaping recruitment guidelines on a national level, serving on multiple committees within the American Orthaepaedic Association, including the Council of Orthopaedic Residency Directors. “There has been a national push for a universal offer day,” says Dr. Gillespie. “Moving forward, we’re looking at how virtual tools can optimize the application process as we work to identify the qualifications and attributes that translate into making a successful orthopaedic surgical resident.”

Novel travel elective

“The legacy of orthopaedics at University Hospitals has long been enriched by an impactful donor community that believes in bringing the best and brightest surgical residents to Northeast Ohio,” says James Voos, MD, Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

The orthopaedic surgery travel elective is a prime example. Philanthropic support makes it possible for each fifth-year resident to travel for a fully funded month of training with a specialist at a destination of their choosing. The innovative distance learning opportunity “not only is a differentiator that enhances our program, but also spreads the word about University Hospitals,” says Dr. Voos. Through the years, endowments have attracted esteemed faculty and enabled clinical and scientific discovery.

The forefront of academic medicine

“Orthopaedic medicine is constantly evolving, and we realize that the current generation of residents seeks learning and feedback opportunities differently,” says Dr. Karns. “Dr. Gillespie has been keen on staying at the forefront to ensure our residents are proficient in essential procedures within each subspecialty.”

In addition to crucial hands-on experience, virtual reality (VR) capabilities are incorporated into surgical training, a program also supported through philanthropy. Through a partnership with PrecisionOS, residents participate in competency-based VR simulations. A recently launched feedback platform also supports the learning process, enabling residents to instantaneously seek feedback from faculty via a tiered rating system and freeform comments.

Compelling research opportunities

In addition to 45 full-time clinical faculty, 11 basic science faculty contribute to the nationally recognized residency program. During their five years, residents are fully integrated into clinical and basic science research initiatives. Through the Allen Fellowship, one resident physician has the opportunity to complete a protected sixth year to concentrate on research without clinical responsibilities.

Last year, two residents studied variables from medical schools predictive of excellent candidates for the University Hospitals and School of Medicine residency program. “We are using the findings of this study to shape how we are reviewing and interviewing applicants for our program, especially in light of the transition away from numeric scores for the USMLE [United States Medical Licensing Examination],” says Dr. Gillespie.

A year of celebration

As faculty, alumni and residents celebrate the past 100 years, the future is just as promising. “We continue to position ourselves as one of the most competitive residency programs in the country, producing men and women who will go on to be orthopaedic leaders in both community-based and academic settings,” says Dr. Gillespie.

For more information, call 216-844-3233 or email Kerwin.Sampson@UHhospitals.org.

Contributing Experts:
Robert J. Gillespie, MD
Chief of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Michael and Grace Drusinsky Chair in Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine
Program Director, Orthopaedic Surgery Residency
University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
Associate Professor
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Michael Karns, MD
Associate Program Director
Orthopaedic Surgery Residency and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship 
University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
Assistant Professor
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

James Voos, MD
Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Jack and Mary Herrick Distinguished Chair, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
Charles H. Herndon Professorship and Chair
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Head Team Physician, Cleveland Browns
Medical Director, Cleveland Ballet

 

 

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