Pediatric fracture experts Jack M. Flynn, MD, (in sport coat) and Peter Waters, MD (in baseball cap), debrief three candidates on the nuances of team building and execution of femoral fracture fixation.
Courtesy of Ken J. Noonan, MD


Published 3/1/2017
Ken J. Noonan, MD; Michelle S. Caird, MD

Female IPOS Scholars Sweep the Podium

It’s a first for Top Gun Surgical Simulation Competition
The results are in! Female orthopaedic residents claimed the top three overall scores in the 5th annual Top Gun Surgical Simulation Competition, held during the 13th annual International Pediatric Orthopaedic Symposium (IPOS) in Orlando, Florida, from Dec. 6–10, 2016.

IPOS is dedicated to delivering high-level pediatric orthopaedic educational offerings for practicing pediatric orthopaedists, general orthopaedists, primary care pediatricians, advanced practice providers, and orthopaedic residents and fellows. The comprehensive programing provides something for everyone, and attendance continues to grow. In 2016, IPOS had more than 430 registrants, including 80 international attendees from Europe, Asia, and South America. 

Thanks to the generosity of Shriners Hospital for Children and industry partners, 90 scholarships were given to interested orthopaedic residents and pediatric orthopaedic fellows to attend the 2016 meeting. Scholarship winners enjoyed full access to the entire IPOS curriculum and hands-on workshops. Perhaps more importantly, each scholarship winner was paired with a faculty mentor for one-on-one discussions about careers in pediatric orthopaedics.

Scholarship winners were also invited to submit E-posters and instructive pediatric orthopaedic cases that could be presented to a panel of pediatric experts. The top 6 contestants each presented a case and fielded questions from panelists and other faculty. 

For residents and fellows, the jewel of the course is the Top Gun surgical simulation competition that allows scholarship winners the opportunity to test their surgical skills against each other. Established by Donald S. Bae, MD, (current IPOS co-director) in 2012, the Top Gun program aims to provide a fun, motor-skills competition in fundamental procedures in pediatric orthopaedics. In doing so, the program highlights the importance of simulation in surgical training and fosters partnerships among educators, learners, and industry partners. Top Gun has enjoyed tremendous success, with similar programs being initiated in Europe and New Zealand.

In 2016, 36 scholarship winners accepted the Top Gun challenge. Participants were timed and scored in the following five different individual tasks:

  • distal radius fracture reduction and casting
  • pinning for a slipped capital femoral epiphysis
  • arthroscopic meniscal repair
  • spinal instrumentation for deformity correction
  • Ponseti casting for clubfoot
Pediatric fracture experts Jack M. Flynn, MD, (in sport coat) and Peter Waters, MD (in baseball cap), debrief three candidates on the nuances of team building and execution of femoral fracture fixation.
Courtesy of Ken J. Noonan, MD
Faculty experts Laurel C. Blakemore, MD, and Michael Glotzbecker, MD, blend TOP GUN style with pediatric orthopaedic expertise.
Courtesy of Ken J. Noonan, MD
From left to right: Donald S. Bae, MD; Ken J. Noonan, MD; TOP GUN winners Kristin Cola, MD, 3rd place; Kelsey E. Davidson, MD, 2nd place, and Jeana Lyn Shelley, MD, TOP GUN; and Michael G. Vitale, MD, MPH.
Courtesy of Ken J. Noonan, MD

In the additional team challenge event, groups of three contestants were shown a radiograph of a pediatric femur fracture and given three fixation options. Teams were scored according to fracture reduction and stabilization as well as how well they worked together as a team. Overall competition was intense, with great synergy among participants, faculty, and industry partners, including Arthrex, Medtronic, and OrthoPediatrics.

The competition started with background music from the 1986 hit movie “Top Gun” and ended with a presentation by Dr. Bae. In his presentation, Dr. Bae summarized the importance of surgical simulation and team building as well as how the successful surgeon prepares for, trains, and executes surgical procedures. 

When it was all over, three female scholars took the top spots. Kristin Cola, MD, was third, with 88 percent of available points; Kelsey Davidson, MD, was second, scoring a 90 percent, and Jeana Lyn Shelley, DO, was this year’s Top Gun, with 92 percent of available points.

Increasingly, women medical students are finding orthopaedics to be an appealing career choice. Today, 2,400 AAOS members are women, compared to 600 women members just two decades ago. Of all the orthopaedic specialties, pediatric orthopaedics attracts the most interest among female orthopaedic trainees. In a 2011 survey of orthopaedic residents choosing fellowships, 24 percent of women applicants chose pediatrics, while just 6 percent of male fellowship applicants opted for the field.

Today, membership in the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) is 23 percent female and has significantly increased over the past two decades. This number will continue to rise as the percentage of female POSNA candidate members increases. These women can obviously perform as evidenced by the surgical simulation competition during the 2016 IPOS Top Gun challenge.

Ken J. Noonan, MD, is chair of the AAOS Pediatrics Program Committee. Michelle S. Caird, MD, is a member of AAOS Research Development Committee and the AAOS Leadership Fellows Program