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AAOS Now

Published 1/1/2012
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Erin Lynn Ransford

Advancing Orthopaedic Surgery Through Science

CSDP first step in career path for clinician scientists

Julie Samora, MD, an orthopaedic surgery resident from Ohio State University, aspires to become a pediatric hand specialist. Eager to pursue a career in research to help guide her clinical practice, Dr. Samora attended the 2011 AAOS/Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF)/Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Clinician Scholar Development Program (CSDP) to enrich her professional development.

“I hoped to gain a broad introduction to and strong foundation for a career as a clinician scientist,” said Dr. Samora. “I anticipated that the CSDP would provide opportunities not only to network with but also to receive guidance and feedback from fellow participants and faculty members who have been successful in their research pursuits.”

Begun in 2003, the CSDP is an annual program for applicants in their PGY 2 through PGY 5 residency years, in fellowships, and in their first 3 years of faculty service who have the potential and the desire to become orthopaedic clinician scientists. Up to 15 AAOS-sponsored participants are selected to participate in the 1.5 day CSDP training workshop. In addition, 10 orthopaedic specialty societies sponsor participants.

“The workshop provided a solid framework of skills, knowledge, and tools to help each and every participant reach his or her goals of contributing to the orthopaedic literature. The faculty members provided great advice on how to best integrate research into a career to create a successful blend of research and clinical practice,” Dr. Samora said.

“The participants received advice on setting up a pathway to success in their chosen disciplines while keeping a balance of home life, clinical work, and research endeavors,” added Karl Koenig, MD, MS, assistant professor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, whose participation was sponsored by the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.

Dr. Koenig, whose practice and research focuses primarily on adult reconstruction, benefited from meeting role models and mentors who have been successful career clinician scholars. “Just knowing that others have struggled with the same issues I am facing and hearing how they made it work was very helpful and encouraging,” he said.

Chaired by Francis Y. Lee, MD, PhD, chief of musculoskeletal oncology, associate professor and vice chair for research in the department of orthopaedic surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, the 2011 CSDP featured an impressive faculty of established clinician scholars, researchers, and numerous department chairmen. Topics included the clinician scholar timeline, interacting with department chairs, funding opportunities, mentorships, research planning, sustaining scholarly activities, and work/life balance.

A flagship program
The CSDP is the flagship program of the Academy’s Research Development Committee (RDC), which is charged with developing pathways that facilitate careers for orthopaedic clinician scientists. The committee, along with OREF and ORS, provides a continuum of training and a variety of opportunities for current and future clinician scientists.

As the RDC progresses in its efforts, it aims to partner with others to develop a cadre of orthopaedic clinician scientists who will lead the research efforts to find new methodologies to treat and cure orthopaedic-related illnesses and injuries. The AAOS/OREF/ORS CSDP is a first step in the career path for clinician scientists. This program offers the orthopaedic profession a new source of clinician scientists engaged in research that advances orthopaedic surgery and musculoskeletal medicine.

“Young faculty members who are on the orthopaedic surgeon/scientist path should take advantage of this program,” said Dr. Koenig. “You won’t find the breadth of experience that the CSDP brings together in any other venue. It is a gold mine of experienced and interested faculty as well as an opportunity to make connections with peers from other institutions throughout the country who are helping to carry our field forward.”

Applications for the 2012 AAOS/OREF/ORS CSDP are available online through March 31 at www.aaos.org/csdp

Erin Lynne Ransford is the manager of research development, AAOS office of government relations. She can be reached at ransford@aaos.org

Societies that sponsored participants in the 2011 CSDP:

  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • Cervical Spine Research Society
  • Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society
  • Musculoskeletal Tumor Society
  • North American Spine Society
  • Orthopaedic Trauma Association
  • Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America
  • Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Scoliosis Research Society