How We Learn

Female student in class

The ultimate goal of our residency program is to develop outstanding orthopaedic surgeons who provide excellent, compassionate patient care, understand the role of operative and non-operative care, and are well-versed in the literature.

Clinical rotations expose residents to all orthopaedic subspecialties through extensive, first-hand experience in the evaluation and management of patients. Our didactic program is one of the most comprehensive in the nation, marked by a weekly core curriculum lecture series delivered by attending faculty and visiting professors. Bi-monthly bioskills labs, research, and rotations are also part of the experience.

Conferences

Each of our four main teaching hospitals offers a wide range of weekly subspecialty conferences. Additionally, the following conferences are attended by all the residents in the program:

  • Core Curriculum – This conference serves as the cornerstone of the resident education program and takes place every Friday from 8:00-10:00 a.m. The curriculum is a rotating two year schedule of lectures and conferences that comprehensively review the clinical and basic science aspects of orthopaedic surgery.
  • Bioskills Lab – Twice each month, residents spend two hours in the Bioskills Laboratory after Core Curriculum. Attendings demonstrate and practice surgical techniques with residents on cadaveric specimens ranging from arthroscopic procedures to spine surgery. Other surgical procedures are also simulated and practiced in this space.
  • Anatomy Lab – Anatomic dissections are an essential element of our residency program. PGY-1 residents participate in the medical student anatomy courses each fall as laboratory preceptors.
  • Chairman's Conference – A monthly open forum to discuss an evidence-based medicine article. Time is also set aside to discuss important issues related to the program.
  • Journal Club – After an informal dinner, residents and faculty gather monthly to review articles from the most recent issues of Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
  • Hartford Orthopaedic Forum – Held at an off-site location, this monthly conference serves as the department’s Grand Rounds and is open to the local orthopaedic community. The forum functions as an educational opportunity and provides residents with the chance to meet and network with surgeons in local and national orthopaedic community. Guest speakers are frequently nationally-renowned orthopaedic surgeons who participate in the forum lecture, then deliver a talk during the Core Curriculum session the next morning.

Bioskills Laboratory

Our Bioskills Laboratory is a fully operational, six-station lab with full-time support staff. Residents use the lab to hone their technical skills and learn arthroscopic and other surgical procedures. During the dedicated Bioskills Lab twice a month, faculty members demonstrate and practice arthroscopy and open surgical skills with residents. Residents are able to repeat the demonstrated procedures on cadaveric shoulders, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, and ankles. Total joint arthroplasties and various fracture fixation techniques are also taught on cadaveric specimens.

The lab has full-size plasma screen monitors capable of projecting the arthroscopic views at the attending’s teaching station and surgical procedures taking place in our outpatient surgical center. This provides residents with the opportunity to watch faculty perform surgeries as a group, discuss techniques utilized, and then immediately practice on cadaveric specimens. Residents are evaluated at the beginning and completion of their rotations. Residents continuously demonstrate significant improvement in their skills, confirming the importance of laboratory training.

Courses and Meetings

Many of these courses and meetings are sponsored by the program. Residents may attend other courses during their residency and are encouraged to submit their research work for presentation at various scientific meetings.

On-Call Responsibilities and Vacation

Residents participate in both in-house and home call responsibilities and call schedules vary by hospital. Physician extenders participate in sharing on-call responsibilities, so that residents adhere to all ACGME mandated work hour restrictions.

Residents are provided with three weeks of vacation annually.

Research Opportunities

There are numerous opportunities to participate in both clinical and basic science research projects at UConn Health and affiliated hospitals. Our Biomechanics Laboratory includes multiple mechanical testing machines for use on the spine, various joints, and soft tissues.

Our clinical research unit staff guide residents through the development of their clinical research projects. Residents also complete a separate research project while at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Current resident research project topics include:

  • Elbow anatomy
  • Humeral fracture plating
  • Clubfoot
  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Elbow mechanics in pitchers
  • ACL injuries in female athletes
  • Orthobiologics for treatment of fractures
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Adolescent scoliosis
  • Multiple anatomic studies: elbow, shoulder, ankle
  • Multiple biomechanical studies: long bones, implants, ankle and knee joint loading, etc.

Resources

The University provides multiple resources to supplement resident learning. Multiple libraries make gathering information very easy. We utilize a virtual learning environment called HuskyCT which uses the Blackboard platform to make information, lectures, and resources even easier to access and share.

The MSI’s Harry R. Gossling Library is a state-of-the-art educational resource center for residents. In addition, each affiliated hospital offers a full-service library, including remote access to multiple online journals and electronic texts.

Rotations

Our residents complete a series of rotations during each of their five years in the program. The schedule of rotations is as follows:

PGY-1

Orthopaedic Bootcamp / Patient Safety UConn Health 5 Weeks
Orthopaedic Consults UConn Health 5 Weeks
General Orthopaedic Surgery UConn Health & St. Francis 10 Weeks
Arthroplasty UConn Health 5 Weeks
Orthopaedic Trauma Hartford Hospital 5 Weeks
General Pediatric Surgery Connecticut Children’s Medical Center 4 Weeks
Plastic Surgery Hartford Hospital 8 Weeks
General Surgery The Hospital of Central Connecticut 4 Weeks

PGY-2

Orthopaedic Trauma Hartford Hospital 10 Weeks
Hand & Upper Extremity UConn Health & Hartford Hospital 10 Weeks
Foot & Ankle UConn Health 10 Weeks
Arthroplasty St. Francis 10 Weeks
Research UConn Health 10 Weeks

PGY-3

General Orthopaedics - Sports Medicine UConn Health & Hartford Hospital 12 Weeks
Orthopaedic Trauma Hartford Hospital 12 Weeks
General Orthopaedics - Sports Medicine & Arthroplasty St. Francis 12 Weeks
Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery Connecticut Children’s Medical Center 12 Weeks

PGY-4

Spine UConn Health 10 Weeks
Tumor & Adult Reconstruction UConn Health & Hartford Hospital 10 Weeks
Foot & Ankle Surgery UConn Health 10 Weeks
Orthopaedic Trauma & Hand Surgery St. Francis 10 Weeks
Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery Connecticut Children’s Medical Center 10 Weeks

PGY-5

Orthopaedic Hand & Administrative Chief Resident UConn Health 10 Weeks
Orthopaedic Sports Medicine UConn Health 10 Weeks
Orthopaedic Arthroscopy UConn Health 10 Weeks
Orthopaedic Trauma & Administrative Chief Resident Hartford Hospital 10 Weeks
Adult Reconstructive & Spine Hartford Hospital 10 Weeks