Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship at the University of Washington - insuring the future of our specialty

Shoulder and elbow surgery is 75% knowledge, 75% skill and 75% art. It cannot be learned from books or labs alone; rather, like a new language, acquiring mastery requires immersion in a comprehensive experience focused on the evaluation and management of patients and a philosophy of practice. To provide this opportunity to selected candidates, we will soon be interviewing candidates for the University of Washington Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship. This is a one year advanced clinical and academic experience that enables two highly qualified orthopaedists to hone their skills as shoulder and elbow surgeons, as investigators and as educators.

Our fellowship started in 1988, making it one of the longest standing advanced clinical experiences in our field - this will be our 32nd anniversary! Our graduates now practice shoulder and elbow surgery across the country - from Seattle to Miami, from SanDiego to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The two candidates paired with us by the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons fellowship matching program will become the 55th and 56th University of Washington Shoulder and Elbow Fellows.

Our goal is to enable our fellows to master advanced skills in diagnosis and surgical management of both common and rare conditions that prevent patients from enjoying their lives.  In addition, we will provide opportunities for them to help answer some of the major questions faced by our specialty, such as
(1) when is rotator cuff repair not in the best interest of a patient with a cuff tear?
(2) what can be offered to a patient with arthritis who wishes to pursue activities beyond what is recommended for a conventional total shoulder?
(3) how can surgeons monitor the quality of their practice outcomes to identify what is working and what is not?
(4) how can we avoid unnecessary expenses of imaging - a cost that consumes much of the resource spent on shoulder and elbow care?
(5) how can we evaluate the many new orthopaedic implants and products brought to market each year to determine if their increased cost results in increased benefit to our patients?
(6) how can we make shoulder and elbow surgery safer from the risk of infection?

We are excited to be tackling these and other 'big questions'. We are excited to have the partnership of our fellows, who help us and who end out teaching us as well. For sure, the future is brighter because of them.

Half of our graduates have earned admission to the prestigious American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons society. One of our alumni, Tony Romeo, is its immediate past president. Here are a few of our older fellows, perhaps you recognize some of them.


From left to right, Steve Lippitt, John Sidles, Mark Lazarus, Kevin Smith, David Duckworth, the late Doug Harryman, Michael Pearl, Rick Matsen, Dean Ziegler, Craig Arntz, and Tony Romeo.

To learn more about our fellowship and our alumni, see this link and this link.

For information on life in Seattle, check out this link and this one and this on beautiful Seattle.