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Survey shows success of trauma fellowship

Trauma fellows (from right) Samantha Nino and Peyton Keeling stand with program director Roman Natoli, MD, PhD

Trauma fellows (from right) Samantha Nino and Peyton Keeling stand with program director Roman Natoli, MD, PhD

Graduates of the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s Trauma fellowship overwhelmingly agree that the education they received prepared them to handle the demands of working in a Level 1 trauma center and made them more effective researchers.

These comments came in the results of a survey recently conducted by IU School of Medicine faculty as the fellowship approaches its 10th anniversary.

Fourteen of the fellowship’s 16 graduates participated in the survey (an 87.5% response rate) and rated their fellowship experience as positive (2) or very positive (12). Ten respondents feel their overall clinical performance is above the level of their current peer group.

IU’s Orthopaedic Trauma Fellowship is a one-year program, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA). It offers trainees a dynamic experience, encompassing all aspects of orthopaedic trauma.

Clinical training takes place predominantly at Indiana’s most experienced Level I Trauma Center, IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Under the leadership of Anthony Sorkin, MD, from 2013 to 2018, the program rapidly ascended to become nationally recognized with an exceptional surgical experience and accompanying research opportunities. Roman Natoli, MD, PhD, now serves as the director and works alongside seven fellowship-trained orthopaedic traumatologists – all of whom have trained at the busiest trauma centers in the United States – and continues to raise the program’s notoriety.

Many of the survey respondents mentioned working with the orthopaedic surgery department’s faculty as the most meaningful aspect of the program.

At IU School of Medicine, fellows receive an unmatched level of engagement from faculty orthopaedic surgeons to enhance surgical technique and skill through individually tailored and focused training. Faculty members emphasis contemporary, evidence-based techniques in their training.

Thirteen of the 14 respondents strongly agreed that the training they received prepared them to handle complex clinical situations and contributed positively to their moral and ethical behavior. The same number said they would participate in the training program again, if given the choice.

The fellows’ day-to-day clinical activities include participating in morning x-ray report and inpatient rounding to review trauma admissions from the previous afternoon, evening, and overnight. Fellows also discuss diagnoses, surgical indications, surgical approach and anticipated outcomes.

Survey respondents also put high value on the program’s daily preoperative/postoperative fracture conferences. At these daily morning meetings preoperative plans are explored in depth, including approach, reduction strategies, fixation sequence, alternative treatment options and postoperative protocols. It forms the foundation of the fellowship educational mission.

The trauma division and its fellowship put heavy emphasis on clinical research. During their year of training, each fellow is required to complete one research project from idea inception to manuscript submission. A structured research curriculum, with associated timeline and dedicated meetings built into the academic calendar, optimizes success. The trauma division employs full-time research coordinators and research assistants to further improve the efficiency of the projects and provide administrative support.

Eleven of the surveyed graduates report they are still involved in clinical research; and each respondent felt the fellowship helped them to become a more effective researcher and changed in a positive way how they read or interpret clinical research.

Following fellowship, the doctors trained in the program went on to practice in an array of clinical settings. Notable, seven are currently working in academic medicine, and 10 practice in urban settings.

Five of those polled graduated within the last three years; six graduated between four to six years ago; and three graduated in the last seven to 10 years.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Caitlin VanOverberghe

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a communications coordinator for the Indiana University School of Medicine, where she supports the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Ophthalmology. Having earned degrees in journalism and telecommunications ...