Greetings from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Children's
Hospital. We are continuing to thrive with exciting new additions to our staff,
growth in patient volume as well as our training programs, and some exciting new
Administratively, the department has changed a bit with the retirement
of Janet Hyler from my office, after 30 years of work at Children's Hospital. Janet
was the contact person for all residents and fellows for the past 25 years. Kathryn
MacDonald has moved over from Beth Israel Deaconess to join us. Any alumni of the
program needing information for credentialing or licensing based on your rotations
at Children's can contact Kathryn in my office.
Children's has entered into a growth phase again after returning to
a positive financial position. A new clinical building is scheduled for completion
in the summer of 2005, and the new research building opened this past December,
adding 180,000 square feet of wet lab and office space. We increased our orthopaedics
lab space a bit, and we've embarked on a search for a basic scientist involved in
bone biology. Hopefully, this will be completed over the coming year and mark a new
period of expansion for our lab.
The new clinical building will contain eight new operating rooms,
new intensive care units, and an additional 24 surgical beds. There will be a staff
orthopaedic surgeon on-call room, as we now stay in the hospital approximately four
out of seven nights, based on the demands of the emergency on-call schedule. It is
interesting to note the changing role of staff engaged in academic surgical practice,
with increased requirements for resident and fellow supervision, as well as clinical
expansion. Who would have ever thought that pediatric orthopaedic surgeons would be
taking in-house call in our 50's?
Increased supervision will lead to improved education as well as
improved patient care. In the past year, an investigation at Children's Hospital
uncovered a number of problems with care of children with multiple complex medical
problems requiring input from numerous services. The complexity of care of a very
sick child had led to errors that were totally unacceptable. We have embarked on a
program of improved patient safety. This requires increased communication but also
requires increased attending presence at all levels of care. Perhaps the addition
of our on-call room is a timely necessity in the practice of 21st century orthopaedic
Martha Murray has now been working with us for one year and continues
on a half-time research track. In addition to her previous awards from CIMIT and the
National Football League for ACL reconstruction, Martha obtained a K award from NIH
to support her work to become an outstanding clinician-scientist. We are excited about
Martha's research; she'll be moving her lab into Enders as we complete remodeling in
May. Min Kocher received the clinical research award from the American Orthopaedic
Society for Sports Medicine and continues to run our Clinical Effectiveness Unit. Four
research assistants in this unit coordinate a number of studies that the department
is carrying out. This focus of coordinated clinical research allows extramural funding
and has markedly improved our processes from IRB submission through project completion.
Dan Hedequist was selected for the Spinal Deformity Educators Group that
distinguishes young spine surgeons with great potential and aligns them with mentors on
the national scene. Dan's clinical research in spinal deformity is progressing nicely,
as is his clinical work. Young-Jo Kim continues his work in cartilage mechanics and MRI,
studying the effects of osteotomies on articular cartilage. He and Martha Murray will be
presenters at the Gordon Conference this summer, an honor for young bioengineering
scientists. Brian Snyder won the Kappa Delta Award this year for his work in studies of
bone strength related to lesion size and anatomy. Based on his basic science in this
area, he is embarking on a large multi-center study that should provide great assistance
in decision-making relative to prophylactic management of bone lesions in both metastatic
and benign disease.
The "more mature" staff in our department continue to be productive
academically, with an average of two to three papers per year. Surprisingly, we number
eighteen now, including full and part time faculty. Don Bae will be joining the staff
in August, complementing the upper extremity program under the direction of Peter Waters.
A graduate of our own residency program, Don has completed the Hand and Upper Extremity
Fellowship that includes experience at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's
Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Next winter, he will do a three month
fellowship, adding a new dimension to his career.
Dr. Hall now works Thursday mornings seeing patients. He has slowly
decreased his clinical work to this level and seems quite happy with his time off,
his cars, and his family. He attends conference on Thursday and Friday mornings and
remains a reader of the literature and a voice of great experience.
Several years ago, we had a chief resident, a senior resident, and 5
junior residents from the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Program, as well as a rotating
resident from Lenox Hill Hospital. At the present time, despite the increased volume
of surgical and ambulatory patients, we have had to adjust to a decreased number of
residents. The chief resident rotation has been eliminated in order to condense the
program into four years of orthopaedics. I believe this is viewed as a positive step
by all in terms of the combined orthopaedic residency, but we definitely miss the
chief resident at Children's. The senior resident continues through this June but
as of the start of the academic year, the senior resident will no longer be here at
Children's because of constraints in numbers of residents throughout the program. We
have adjusted to the 80-hour work week by moving one of our junior residents to a
night float system.
In response to the evolving resident allocations, we are increasing
the number of fellows in pediatric orthopaedics. We will have a full-time hand fellow
starting in August of this year and we are increasing the tumor fellow presence at
Children's as well. Sports Medicine fellows are increasing. I remain alert to the
delicate balance necessary between resident and fellow education. At this time, it
appears that the presence of the fellows continues to complement the resident experience;
we continue to watch and manage this relationship carefully.
Pediatric Orthopaedic fellows last year were Danielle Katz, Paul Moroz
and Ed Sun. Danielle Katz returned to Syracuse, joining the department in which she'd
done her residency training, providing pediatric orthopaedic care in an academic
environment. Paul Moroz went to Ottawa and joined the staff of Children's Hospital of
Eastern Ontario. Ed Sun continued his education with a spine fellowship in Minneapolis,
focusing on adult spine reconstruction, complementing his pediatric experience here at
We have three pediatric fellows this year. Michael Griffey came from
Arkansas, where he was encouraged to come to Children's by his relationship with Rick
McCarthy, a graduate of the program here in the 1980's. Torin Cunningham came from the
University of Southern California and Aaron Buerk came from Dayton, Ohio. As a resident,
Dr. Buerk knew one of our prior fellows. The reason I stress the relationship of our
fellow applicants to individuals who have completed the program at Children's or Harvard
residents who had a positive experience at Children's is simply to highlight the importance
of this networking in our continued program growth. Nationally, there are only twelve to
twenty pediatric orthopaedic fellows per year who are graduates of US training programs.
Unfortunately, this is significantly below the need for pediatric orthopaedic surgeons
nationwide and worldwide. It is tremendously important that the graduates of our program,
both residency and fellowship, help by identifying individuals with an interest in and
talent for pediatric orthopaedics. We appreciate the referrals of highly capable residents
to us for fellowship training. We have continued to have an outstanding fellowship program
with three fellows per year and numerous applicants.
In addition to increasing the number of fellows at Children's, we have
increased the number of nurse practitioners and nurses. We now have three nurse
practitioners and five nurses working in the orthopaedic clinic to assist with provision
of care. We have tried to improve our coordination of both inpatient and emergency care
by having nurse practitioners involved in this component of our work.
The Research Lab
We are entering a period of transition in the laboratory with the
initiation of a search combined with the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.
This search is just underway, and hopefully by the end of the year we will have a new
researcher in place in the Enders environment.
Over the past year, one of the most exciting things in the basic science
area has been the establishment of a conference under the direction of Ray Samuel. Ray
is an MD, PhD orthopaedic surgeon who trained at Mt Sinai in New York; he has worked for
several years in labs at Harvard, both with Bjorn Olsen in Cell Biology and with Mel
Glimcher in the Laboratory for Skeletal Disorders. Ray is committed to a career in basic
science related to orthopaedic surgery. He was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson fellowship
to provide salary support over the next five years. The basic science lecture occurs
every other Friday afternoon and has brought an array of outstanding musculoskeletal
researchers from across the country to Children's Hospital. The audience is comprised of
musculoskeletal researchers across the entire Harvard environment -- from the college in
Cambridge to the medical school and all constituent hospitals. This scientific cooperation,
as well as the camaraderie engendered by this conference, is a major step forward in
Harvard musculoskeletal research. The credit for this program is primarily due to Ray
Last year's visiting Grice Professor was James Wright, MD, MPH, who is
the Robert B. Salter Chair in Pediatric Surgical Research at the University of Toronto.
His focus was on clinical investigation and study design. We had a wonderful two days of
science and research with a break from clinical duties.
Our Grice Lecture this year, scheduled for Wednesday, November 10, 2004
is exciting, as we will combine a three-day visit with Reinhold Ganz from Bern,
Switzerland, with a reunion of former fellows and chief residents for the past 25
years. The reunion will conclude on Saturday morning, November 13, with a program
concentrating on pelvic reconstruction and periacetabular osteotomy. Prior fellows
and chief residents will be invited to present papers on Friday, November 12.
I hope that when I write again next year, we have at least one more
staff member, continued growth in volume, and continued success in the academic
Links of interest: