Orthopaedic Surgery

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The Grand Rapids Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program came into existence in 1984 as a result of the merger of two separate programs in the city. Dr. John Hodgen established the original orthopaedic residency in 1933. Dr. George T. Aitken initiated a second program twenty years later. Dr. Aitken then served as president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons from 1970-1972.

Dr. Alfred Swanson, former program director, headed the American Society for Surgery of the Hand from 1979-1980 and the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand from 1983 to 1989. Many others who have been involved with our program have held office in a multitude of orthopaedic organizations and have been recognized as leaders in their area of expertise.

The program boasts an orthopaedic faculty of over 50 attending staff. The faculty comes from a variety of training programs and fellowships from across the country. This assures the residents of an exceptionally high teacher-to-student ratio, as well as exposure to a broad array of ideas and approaches to orthopaedic problems.

The program covers four private hospitals in Grand Rapids:  Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital, a level II trauma center with approximately 80 orthopaedic beds; Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital, a level II trauma center with approximately 100 orthopaedic beds; Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, a major level I trauma center with approximately 130,000 emergency department hits per year and approximately 100 orthopaedic beds, and Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

Our residents receive training in hospital, clinic, outpatient and office settings. Our teaching staff includes fellowship-trained surgeons in trauma, hand, foot and ankle, total joint arthroplasty, spine, sports pediatric orthopaedic surgery and orthopaedic oncology. A full didactic schedule includes monthly anatomy dissections, journal club, and surgical skills laboratory. Weekly Grand Rounds provide didactic lectures as well as a resident hour dedicated to the review of selected readings and preparation for the orthopaedic in-training examination. Attending led conferences also occur at each hospital on a weekly basis. A quarterly basic science seminar rounds out the curriculum as does our guest lecture series featuring physicians from around the nation.

The goal of our program is to produce well-rounded orthopaedic surgeons. We strive to give our resdients the opportunities and tools to become knowledgeable, technically skilled and very professional. The residency fosters a spirit of inquiry to provide the residents the skills and habits required to critically evaluate the orthopaedic literature and be able to complete a research project. The development of strong clinical and surgical skills is coupled with an emphasis on providing compassionate patient care.

The residency has consistently scored in the top percentiles of the National Orthopaedic In-Training Examination for the past five years. Graduates of the program are expected to be competent in the care for primary orthopaedic problems, and serve as consultants in orthopaedics. Historically, this residency has consistently produced competitive candidates that have gone on to receive fellowship training in a variety of subspecialties.