Hand Fellowship Review Thread

1 year 3 months ago - 1 year 3 months ago #38392 by Diggidy
Vandy: This was mainly an upper extremity trauma/fracture fellowship from what I gathered. When ortho hand is on call they take clavicle distal, and it seems like there is a lot of trauma to go around. All of the staff seemed incredibly chill and like they would be easy to get a long with. Didn't seem super academic, despite the name. Zero peds experience. Questionable micro, although Desai was doing some plexus. One fellow per year, although maybe expanding to two in the future. Interviewed 46 people for 1 spot - yikes.

Rochester: A bit of a hidden gem, if you can handle Rochester. Warren Hammert is the real deal, and incredibly well respected within academic hand circles. A lot of the other faculty are locals, and although I'm sure are great to work with, aren't super well connected. Mostly wrist distal with some elbow, didn't seem like shoulder or humerus was an option. Only 1 fellow. Wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

Allegheny: Is trying to rebuild after Baratz left earlier in the decade and left a massive hole in the program. All of the staff seemed great - Tang is a little quirky, but I think he means well and is well rounded in his experiences (plexus/shoulder to finger tip). The fellows were not super inspiring this year to be honest, and I think soured some peoples' opinions. You'd get good training here for sure.

Ohio State: I think this program really flys under the radar. With stern stepping down at Cinci, I think this is the best training in Ohio now. Very strong, well rounded experience. Shoulder to finger, including fractures and arthroplasty. Integrated plastics experience, and that's going to be even stronger with Amy Moore joining as chair - when I interviewed she had just come over from WashU and was starting to work with the fellows. The other hand faculty seemed incredibly down to earth. OSU is investing 3billion dollars in their health care system, and it really shows. You'd get phenomenal training here, and I think the name is building.

Colorado: Another building program. Denver Health/UC is no joke when it comes to their trauma experience, although historically I think they have been lacking academically. That all changes with Leversedge joining as their hand/fellowship director. He anchors a very strong faculty group. Denver Health will train you on the craziest trauma you'll find - replants, recon/flaps, mangled extremities, and alllll finds of fractures. Denver is obviously an insanely awesome place to live for a year as well.

UChicago: Another very well rounded programs. Dr. Wolf has been a very nice addition and adds a large academic practice. She is likely next in line for chair of ASSH, and would be a great mentor to have going into an academic practice. You spend 6 months at UC, and the other 6 months with the NorthShore group. UC is now a level 1 trauma center, and it sounds like almost overnight their trauma/replant volume went through the roof. Great hot and cold trauma experience, dedicated plastics faculty, and then a great private practice experience as well.

Cinci: The waters are still settling after Peter Stern stepped down two years ago, and I think people seem unsure where this program stands now. Stern seems very involved in the program still, but it is unclear how long that will last. Stern said multiple times he will have to retire at some point. With Stern involved, this program is still an absolute gem - that man is more loved by people throughout orthopedics than anyone else I've met, and for damn good reason. Most other fellowships now try and model their didcatics after Cinci. Little is the new PD, and thus peds is a much bigger experience. Minimal shoulder. Some flap/micro experience. Average research experience.

Pittsburgh: Baratz is the man - how many times can this be repeated. Fairly shoulder heavy. They recently opened a shoulder fellowship and Schmidt (SP?) & Sotereanos are the co-directors, which calls in to question if they are going to be active within the hand fellowship anymore. Probably below average trauma/micro experience, especially since it's split between 6+(there are 1-2 non-accredited fellows a year) as well as a plastics fellow. Good research opportunities. Sounds like a decent amount of driving. I thought Pittsburgh was a nice city, but not everyone agrees.

Rothman: A name that goes the distance in the world of orthopedics - I'm just not sure the hand program lives up yet. Philly Hand takes all the hand call at Jeff, and thus the Rothman fellows essentially see no/minimal trauma. Neither had done a replant this year by the time I interviewed. The do a lot of volume, but the case logs seems like a LOT of CTR/TFR/CMC arthroplasty type cases. Shoulder rotation through the legendary S&E staff, although this was less emphasized. No call. No weekends. The fellows joked they almost didn't know how to use the EMR because they never have to take care of anything. About as cush as fellowship could get, I just worry you're not going to be a well rounded hand surgeon coming out of this place.

Philly Hand: If Rothman is cush, Philly Hand is the trial-by-fire ass whooping counter-point. Very old and well regarded program within the hand world. 7 fellows. Osterman is a huge personality, and has built a very impressive group. Takes all the fellows out to dinner frequently, and to the nicest restaurants in Philly. Near weekly anatomy/implant lab where you can get any rep to bring in stuff for the fellows to mess around with. Everyone knows the huge detraction of this place before you even interview - primary call. Some of the fellows seemed to not like it, others seemed like they just accept it for what it is, and make the best out of it. Between 7 fellows (Sometimes an extra military fellow), and 1-2 Jeff residents, and it doesn't seem all that bad. Very busy, very high volume - the highest case numbers I saw of any program. Previously was more traditional forearm distal, although they now have plastics and S&E trained faculty which round out the experience. Spend a month at Shriner w/ Z & Kozin. Research opportunities. You can get good academic jobs coming out of here, but if you want to go into private practice, man will they teach you how to fly here.

MCW: Really two programs. 2 spots for plastics, 1 spot for ortho. The ortho program is not a hand fellowship - the ACGME needs to check them on that. They spend 80% of their time doing shoulder. The current fellow hadn't even looked through the OR doors at a replant, let alone performed one, and even things like scaphoid ORIFs and wrist trauma seemed minimal. The ortho director said they stay as a hand program so the fellow can get their CAQ. That's nice and all, except for the fact they didn't get any hand training in fellowship. The plastics program is actually really solid. Not a big name, but great well rounded shoulder-distal hand training. Brachial plexus, crazy trauma as MCW is the only level 1 trauma around. The plastics fellows still spend 6 months w/ the ortho attendings, so you get good upper extremity fracture experience as well as shoulder scopes/arthroplasty.

Minnesota: Did not get a good vibe of this program. Spread out. You take frequent primary call, and often have to round on the weekends with plastics attendings. The fellows talked about getting snarky emails from plastics attendings - who they take call with but don't work with othewise - about how they didn't handle consults the way they'd like. Really not interested in being treated like a junior resident as a fellow.
Last edit: 1 year 3 months ago by Diggidy.

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1 year 2 months ago #38439 by BballDreamer
I like the idea that the above post had with regard to splitting them up. I honestly did not know what I wanted when I went through but the programs are very diverse and this is how I thought of them when I finally made my list.

Grouped into general categories. These categories are not reflective of quality but just to give people an idea of how each program is characterized so that if they know what they want they can target these places. I would be curious what others thought.

Somewhat balanced
OrthoCarolina (shoulder distal)
Duke (elbow distal)
WashU Ortho
Ohio State
Baylor Houston

Trauma heavy
Curtis (shoulder distal)
University of Washington (elbow distal)
MGH (Shoulder distal)

True upper extremity
Pitt (shoulder distal)
Indiana (shoulder distal)
Cleveland Clinic

Micro Heavy

Truly academic
WashU Plastics
UMichigan (Research heavy)

Maximum Flexibility (generally these were programs with 1 fellow such that they couldn't depend on you and you could do whatever cases you wanted and make your own call schedule)

Pediatrics Heavy
Beth Isreal Boston

Bread and Butter
Beth Isreal New York

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9 months 2 weeks ago #38615 by Birchum
Any new information or posts for this thread? Just bumping back up.

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9 months 6 days ago #38658 by OrthoMate
Decide what type of practice you want. Here are the top places based on what you want to do in practice

Academics - WashU, Duke, Mayo
Private practice - Pitt, Indiana, OrthoCarolina on the rise
Significant trauma - Curtis, UW Seattle

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