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 Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program has Continued Accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
Goals & Philosophies
Our goal is to provide excellent education to develop medical students with great potential into outstanding orthopaedic surgeons who will become an asset to their patients, communities and profession. Education is not a passive process, and we strive to have residents work with the most accomplished faculty from a teaching and mentoring standpoint so that over the course of 5 years every resident develops the knowledge base and technical skills necessary to achieve board certification in orthopaedic surgery and be competitive for any fellowship or job opportunity pursued.
Our program focuses on the purposeful development of surgical skills and residents have access to a high volume of cases across all specialties where they first assist from internship year and progress with autonomy in the OR based on the experience of the resident so that proficiency and independence are achieved on core procedures by the chief year. The residency fosters a spirit of inquiry to provide the skills and habits required to critically evaluate the orthopaedic literature and participate in research. The development of strong clinical and surgical skills is coupled with an emphasis on providing compassionate patient care and mentorship.
Our philosophy is that every resident adheres to the four R’s: a responsibility to oneself, one’s family, one’s community and one’s profession. We emphasize the importance of family values, integrity, teamwork and professionalism.
The residency has consistently scored amongst all programs in the top tenth percentile of the National Orthopaedic In-Training Examination for the past 5 years and our pass rate for the boards during that time has been 100%. Graduates of the program are expected to be competent in the care of primary orthopaedic problems, and to be technically proficient at surgery.
Grand Rapids is a great family based city with outstanding institutional resources in the medical community. There is a strong community based graduate medical education program affiliated with Michigan State University and two outstanding medical centers (Spectrum Health, and Mercy Health’s Saint Mary’s Medical Center). The quality of care, medical specialties represented, facilities and research opportunities rival many top academic centers. Most importantly, there is a dedication to teaching and mentoring in the medical community that sets our residency program apart.
Historically, this residency has consistently produced competitive candidates that have gone on to receive fellowship training in a variety of subspecialties. In addition, we have a new state of the art haptic guided arthroscopy simulator allowing residents to develop surgical skills even before they enter the operating room.