Brigham & Women's Hospital

Thomas S. Thornhill, MD

Thomas S. Thornhill, M.D.

John B. and Buckminster Brown Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Harvard medical school

2012-13 Chief's Report | BWH Chief's Report 2012-2013 PDF

Hand & Upper Extremity Service (Dr. Barry Simmons)


This has been another exciting and outstanding year for the Hand and Upper Extremity service at the Brigham&Women’s/Faulkner Hospital. The Service, directed by Barry P. Simmons, M.D. and including Philip E. Blazer, M.D., Brandon E. Earp, M.D. and George S.M. Dyer, M.D., welcomed an addition to the faculty, Arnold Alqueza, M.D.


Philip E. Blazar has been promoted to Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and continues to be Director of the Harvard Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship combining the BWH and Children’s Hospital. In this role, he has been the driving force in the educational efforts of the Service, both in didactic conferences and research. There were an extremely large number of applicants for Hand/Upper Extremity fellowships this year and we were fortunate to attract and match with 3 outstanding residents. His academic pursuits are broad concentrating on the treatment for Dupuytren’s disease, osteoarthritis of the thumb carpometacarpal joint, distal radius fractures and long-term outcomes of surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.


Brandon E. Earp now is the Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at BWH/FH, quite an accomplishment. This well-deserved appointment allows her to not only continue her very active clinical role in clinical care and the fellowship but also helps mold the future of Orthopaedic care in our sister institution. Her interest continue to be in traumatic injuries of the upper extremity, reconstructive surgery of the shoulder, elbow and wrist but also the long-term outcomes of surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome; she is the senior author for the JBJS article on long-term follow up on carpal tunnel release, “Outcomes of Carpal Tunnel Release at a Minmum of Ten Years”. She is pursuing a similar study on cubital tunnel release.


George S. Dyer, M.D. has been appointed Director of the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program (HCORP). This is a phenomenal accomplishment and shows his interest and commitment to resident (and fellow) education. It was a difficult decision, leaving his position as Chief of the Hand/Upper Extremity service at the Veterans Administration Hospital where he had made that institution the center for Upper Extremity care throughout New England. However, this appointment allows George to pursue his love of medical education. He has already made significant changes to the educational process. In addition, he continues to excel in another administrative and educational arena, Global Health. His paper on “Disaster Triage after the Haiti Earthquake” allows him to combine his skills from his time on disaster management for the US Air Force and his Orthopaedic skills. His practice continues to involve the whole upper extremity, trauma and reconstructive surgery, especially the elbow and shoulder.


George’s departure from the VAH allowed us to have Arnold Alqueza return as a member of the staff of both HCORP and the Harvard Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship. Arnold completed his Orthopaedic residency in the Harvard Combined program in 2010 where he won many of the awards as the outstanding resident. He followed this with a year Hand/Upper Extremity Fellowship at MGH and then 7 months as the shoulder fellow in the Harvard Shoulder fellowship.


Arnold attended the US Naval Academy in Annapolis as he wanted to become a pilot. However, along the way he became enchanted with medicine and decided to attend medical school. This required a change in his plans for the USN as flying required a 7 year commitment so Arnold switched to the submarine service, a 5 year requirement. He was the senior nuclear officer on his submarine. After leaving the USN and completing his pre-med requirements, he attended medical school at the University for Florida before starting his residency. After a year of dalliance with Orthopaedic practice in Florida, a position became open at the Veterans Administration Hospital where he became director of the Hand and Upper Extremity. He has also joined our staff at BWH/FH.


Barry P. Simmons continues a vigorous clinical and academic role, emphasizing his efforts in treatment of the arthritic hand and wrist as well as fellowship education. His interest in outcomes continues and prompted the long-term follow up on patients undergoing carpal tunnel release.


The Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Fellowship, which includes the Hand and Upper Extremity service at Children’s Hospital, continues to attract a large number of talented applicants. Now in its 31st year, we continue to train 3 fellows a year. The cross-rotation with the fellowship at the MGH, started in 2000, continues. Our current fellows are Kristen Fleager, a Stanford resident, who will be joining one of our former fellows in practice in Dallas, TX; Christopher Got, a Brown resident who will be returning to Providence to join the Hand/Upper Extremity Service there, and Kathryn Hanna, a Lieutenant Commander in the USN, who completed an 8 month deployment to Afghanistan, and will be returning to the US Naval Hospital in Coronado, CA, where she will be joining another of our former fellows, before she completes her military requirement.


All in all, it has been a fantastic year.

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