Together, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) and the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) have a long and successful tradition of supporting promising resident investigators through the regional resident research symposia. One case of a promise fulfilled is Simon Görtz, MD, chief orthopaedic surgery resident at the University of California, San Diego, (UCSD).
As a junior resident in 2011, Dr. Görtz was awarded second place in the clinical science category at the OREF/ORS Southwest Region Resident Research Symposium for his work on osteochondral allografts in the knee. (See “Resident Investigators Put Themselves to the Test,” AAOS Now, September 2011.) Motivated by the experience, he continued his research and, this year, Dr. Görtz was honored with the 2015 Kappa Delta Elizabeth Winston Lanier Award for a paper he coauthored with William Bugbee, MD, and colleagues, “Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation in Cartilage Repair: Graft Storage Paradigm, Translational Models, and Clinical Applications.”
Dr. Görtz is quick to credit OREF for its support during his academic journey from visiting foreign medical student to accomplished researcher. “The OREF is instrumental in empowering residents to develop and refine research skills that will serve us and our patients well into the future,” he said. “The OREF regional resident research competitions in particular are wonderful opportunities for residents to present research, to learn, to teach, and to be inspired by our peers.
“Being awarded an OREF Resident Educational Grant early in residency allowed me the financial freedom to investigate a clinical scenario that was a particular passion of mine,” continued Dr. Görtz. “I will be forever indebted to the OREF for fostering my career as a clinician scientist.”
Dr. Görtz first learned about osteochondral allografting as a visiting medical student from Germany and decided to pursue additional cartilage research and an orthopaedic residency. “I could have searched the world over and not found a better mentor than Dr. Bugbee or a better situation than in San Diego. We have a great orthopaedic community, and UCSD in particular has a wonderful family of residents, attending physicians, and researchers,” he said.
“It’s important to align yourself with good people, and I count the folks at OREF and ORS among them. At UCSD, we are fortunate to have a dedicated research year that allows us to cultivate the cognitive aspects of our specialty and to develop basic science skills in a mentorship model. Engaging in collaborative, translational research yields many reciprocal insights that ultimately foster both scientific advancements and improvements in patient care,” said Dr. Görtz.
Dr. Görtz hopes to return to San Diego after completing a sports medicine fellowship at Washington University in Saint Louis. He also hopes to stay involved in the care of veterans, citing his work at the Navy and at the Veterans Administration Medical Centers among his favorite memories of residency.
“As a child of the cold war in Europe, I am extremely grateful to be able to care for those who served and afforded me the freedom to pursue my American dream. I left my friends and family for an opportunity to realize my orthopaedic destiny. I will always be indebted to the OREF and ORS,” said Dr. Görtz.
Dana C. Covey, MD, FACS, is clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of California, San Diego. He can be reached at email@example.com