Research Review

Partners Othopaedic Trauma Service Year in Review, 2012-2013

By: Mark S.Vrahas, M.D.


The year 2012-13 marked our fourteenth as a combined Partners service. The year, itself, was marked by some notable achievements, additions, and productivity in our established programs.



Our combined fellowship program continues to attract top talent from recognized residencies both in the United States and Canada. As we go to press, we are pleased to report that our application for accreditation under the new Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) rules has just been approved. This accreditation process will only help us become more solid and structured in our efforts to provide the best education we can to aspiring traumatologists.


Our 2012-13 fellows, Marilyn Heng, MD, and Michael Sridhar, MD, came to us from the University of Toronto and Emory University respectively. Dr. Heng will be heading back to the University of Toronto to complete a second fellowship in Oncology. Dr. Sridhar has accepted a position with a group in Greensboro, SC. We will particularly miss Dr. Heng and her baking acumen, as she kept us all very well-fed with tasty concoctions throughout the year.


Our fellowship’s curriculum was bolstered again this year by quarterly journal clubs that featured lectures and cadaveric labs run by experts in the subject area. We wish to use this space to thank our guest sages, Drs. John Kwon, Brandon Earp, and Ken Rodriguez for their time and expertise. We would also like to thank the educational division of Stryker Orthopaedics for their sponsorship assistance.


We are always delighted when HCORP residents decide to pursue careers in our subspecialty. In this year’s terrific graduating class, Natalie Casemyr, MD, will be heading to Denver Health in August for her trauma fellowship, while two members of next year’s graduating class, Ellen Fitzpatrick, MD, and Arthur Hess, MD, have recently learned the results of the most recent match. Ellen matched at my old stomping ground, Alleghany University, and Art matched at Shock Trauma, the current home of HCORP alumni, Christina Boulton, MD, Bob O’Toole, MD, Conor Kleweno, MD, and Kanu Okike, MD. Congratulations to all!


Last fall, we hosted the first ever “Boot Camp” for new PGY-2 residents, where the residents learned basic surgical skills from our faculty in the BWH’s STRATUS simulation laboratory. Per all reports from residents and staff alike, the day was a huge success (see photo). Dustin Hambright, MD, earned the highest score in his class for his proficiency in completing the practical skill assignments. I want to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Weaver for his leadership in this initiative, and to Dr. Dyer both for his participation as faculty in Boot Camp and his willingness to allow the residents to learn in this environment. We are already looking forward to this year’s Boot Camp, which will be expanded to include both operative simulation and cadaver experiences.


Clinical Services

This past spring, our MGH team welcomed Todd Johnson, ACNP, as our second Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Todd recently graduated from the Nurse Practitioners Program at San Francisco State University, where he specialized in both Internal Medicine and Trauma and General Surgery. Todd is fortunate to be mentored by his fellow Nurse Practitioner, Kathy Burns, ACNP, whom we could not do without. Todd, like Kathy, will serve in a leadership role on the inpatient units as a point person for patients, staff, and faculty. We welcome you both to Boston and to our Team, Todd!


We are also very pleased, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Rubash, to move our Morning Report rounds from our long-time location on White 6 to our new space in the Lunder 2 Operating Rooms. This new location allows our colleagues from Anesthesia and OR Nursing to attend Morning Report regularly and gives us better access to our pre and post-operative patients.


Under the leadership of Drs. Harris and Weaver, our BWH Service had another terrific year. Caitlin Eagen, PA-C, who joined us last spring as our first Physician Assistant, was a key part of making us work as a more integrated team. Caitlin has taken on the responsibilities of addressing some of the system problems that have long plagued our service, and through her efforts have made them better. Houman Javedan, MD, our Geriatrician, continued to provide outstanding care to our older patients while educating our residents (and our attendings) about many important features of ortho-geriatric medicine. Word of Dr. Javedan’s important work has spread through the Brigham such that our colleagues from other services are actively discussing how they can emulate our program.


Without any doubt, the most memorable event of this academic year was the Boston Marathon bombings. Our teams at BWH, BIDMC, and MGH, led by Michael Weaver, MD, Paul Appleton, MD, and Malcolm Smith, MD, respectively, were called into action on the afternoon of April 15 to take care of those Marathon attendees who had been injured by the blasts. The response was immediate, coordinated and effective in providing the care these patients needed during this time of duress. I would like to specifically recognize the Junior Residents who were working in these three Emergency Departments that day, Charles Schumacher, MD, Lauren Ehrlichman, MD, and Youssra Marjoua, MD, for their tremendous grace under pressure working on the front lines. You did us proud.



Our Harvard Orthopaedic Trauma research program – otherwise known as “HOT Trauma,” – is now in its fourth year. In early June, we hosted our second annual Harvard Orthopaedic Trauma Research Day, featuring presentations by trauma faculty, fellows, colleagues from the orthopaedic labs, and residents. The event was again a great success and as we go to press we are preparing for this June’s Research Day. The focus of much of my work this year, has involved collaborating with colleagues at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine to develop patient-reported outcome measures using Item Response Theory and Computer Adaptive Technology for the orthopaedic patient population. This exciting technology allows patients to report their progress by answering a series of 5-8 questions on iPad technology, versus the traditional measures which are both several factors larger in length and paper and pencil-based. Other than its implications on efficiency, our early work shows that this technology has a higher level of accuracy in predicting outcomes when compared to traditional outcome measures.


In closing, I want to thank all of my colleagues across the Partners and Harvard system for their dedication, hard work, and important contributions this year. Thank you for making us such a great team.

2013 Harvard Orthopaedic Journal
Designed and created by Nicole Wolf, Biomedical Visualization Specialist •