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Current Residents

PGY-5 Residents

Abhishek Kannan

MD: Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida

Hometown: Winter Park, FL
Undergrad: Emory University
Medical/Research Interests:

My research interests include: the role and utility of various growth factors in osteogenesis, chondrogenesis, biologics

Why did you choose Northwestern:

Culture. Operative experience. Resources. Our program supports residents' interests beyond the service-based obligations, and encourages us to pursue opportunities in leadership, research, and education. The central location in downtown Chicago, between three level 1 trauma centers, minimizes commute and offers the breadth and depth of general orthopaedics and its subspecialties. The resident culture of comradery and teamwork is the best in the country. Our faculty are focused on resident education and are receptive to our learning goals.

Advice to prospective residents:

Choose a program that you feel would be a good fit for you, but would also afford you the opportunity to grow, both professionally and personally. You want to train in a place that challenges you to strive to reach your potential, alongside colleagues that are your teammates, and with faculty that are focused on the quality of your education.

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Danielle Chun

MD: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Hometown: Fullerton, CA
Undergrad: Northwestern University
Medical/Research Interests: Orthopaedic oncology and reconstruction, bone biology and regenerative technologies, global health/international orthopaedic work
Why did you choose Northwestern: I was an NU medical student and did a research year in Dr. Wellington Hsu’s lab, during this time, I saw how well-trained and confident the NU residents were in their clinical and surgical knowledge and skills. The dedication of the residents and attendings towards residency education is second to none. Dr. Peabody is one of the most respected, yet down-to-earth chairmen and his mentorship is incomparable. Most importantly, the residents see themselves as a group of brothers and sisters who support one another through the thick and thin of residency training and that was something I did not experience at any other program. I wanted to be at a program where I would receive great surgical/clinical orthopedic training, mentorship, and be surrounded by a supportive cohort of coresidents who truly view themselves as family—I found this at Northwestern.
Advice to prospective residents: Orthopaedic applicants are all smart and hardworking, so when researching prospective residency programs, look for the intangibles. For me, that is great mentorship and collegiality. Since day 1, I found great mentors in the attendings and senior residents at Northwestern whose guidance, feedback, and challenges created opportunities for me to become a successful resident and lay the foundation for my career as an orthopaedic surgeon. But the best part is that during this important time in my career, not only do I feel like I had the best training but I was also surrounded by some of the best people in my fellow coresidents—we have supported each other every step of the way and have become lifelong friends—and that has made residency training even more memorable and worthwhile.
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Peter Helvie

MD: University of Michigan Medical School

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
Undergrad: University of North Carolina
Medical/Research Interests: Arthroplasty, Hip Preservation
Why did you choose Northwestern: I thought Northwestern had the most cohesive group of residents and faculty of anywhere that I rotated or interviewed. The relationships between the residents, and the accessibility and resident focused faculty was an easy selling point. The program itself seemed very well balanced to me, also. Each service was well represented and I thought I would have a good grasp on general orthopaedics and be able to make an informed decision about fellowship. I was also interested in being in a big city, and the location cannot be beaten - in the heart of downtown Chicago. All of this came true and I couldn't be happier here.
Advice to prospective residents: Go with your gut when making your rank list. There are a lot of great programs out there but they're not for everyone. You're going to be the most successful at a place you feel comfortable and fit.
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Pratik Patel

MD: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Hometown: Clifton, VA
Undergrad: University of Virginia
Medical/Research Interests: Trauma, reconstruction
Why did you choose Northwestern: First, Northwestern's program is truly resident centric. From our faculty leadership down, our attendings prioritize our education, whether it's in the OR, during our daily didactics, and through research mentorship. Second, the resident collegiality and the culture we've created here unmatched-- getting to go to work with some of my best friends makes everyday enjoyable. Finally, Northwestern is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. From the restaurants and nightlife to the lakefronts and parks, it's been an incredible place to spend the last 8 years.
Advice to prospective residents: Few pieces of advice that I found helpful when I was applying: Look for a place (1) where the residents seem genuinely happy, (2) where the residents are the primary focus of the education and training, and (3) where of all subspecialties and prominent fellowship programs are represented by recent graduates.
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Richard Nicolay

MD: Indiana University School of Medicine

Hometown: Lake Zurich, IL
Undergrad: Indiana University
Medical/Research Interests: I am pursuing a fellowship in orthopedic sports medicine. Throughout my residency, I have been interested in clinic research with a focus on preoperative risk factors and postoperative patient outcomes following arthroscopy and arthroplasty.
Why did you choose Northwestern: I rotated at Northwestern as a medical student and was impressed with every aspect of the program. The leadership, clinical faculty and research opportunities at Northwestern are outstanding. Every orthopedic subspecialty has a robust team of renowned faculty with busy practices, offering great case variety. But I was most impressed with the residents. Northwestern has an incredible group of hardworking residents who are dedicated to learning and I was eager to join the team.
Advice to prospective residents: Make sure you are choosing a program for the right reasons. You want to find a residency that fits you well. Five years is a long commitment and you want to make sure you enjoy those years!
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PGY-4 Residents

Daniel Johnson

MD: Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Hometown: Boulder, CO
Undergrad: Vanderbilt
Medical/Research Interests: Clinical outcomes, biostatistics, oncology, arthroplasty
Why did you choose Northwestern: Northwestern is a strong, well-rounded program. The faculty are down-to-earth and approachable. Our leadership is strong and the #1 priority is resident education. The residents enjoy spending time together – we work hard and have a good time in the process.
Advice to prospective residents: Throughout the process, try to remain focused on finding a good fit. Don't worry about rankings or fellowship match. You're going to thrive where you feel most comfortable and have the best support network.
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Joseph Weiner

MD: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Hometown: Long Grove, Illinois
Undergrad: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Medical/Research Interests: Spine surgery, spine outcomes research, healthcare economics, health policy research, bone biology research, biologics research, healthcare disparities research
Why did you choose Northwestern: Northwestern Ortho has a unique combination of balanced clinical exposure with excellent didactics and research opportunities. During my rotation, the salient selling point for Northwestern was the extremely collegial atmosphere where faculty treat residents as colleagues. Seeing your department chairman and program director every morning at conference reinforces that Northwestern is an education-first program.
Advice to prospective residents: Residency training will develop you into a competent orthopaedic surgeon. It is important to find a program that will push you to be a leader in the field and a leader in your community. Northwestern will help you achieve your goals of personal and professional development.
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Matthew Hartwell

MD: University of Michigan Medical School

Hometown: Brighton, MI
Undergrad: Hope College
Medical/Research Interests: I am interested in sports medicine and my research interests have most recently involved studying the role of orthopaedic surgeons in the opioid crisis and investigating ways we can reduce the number of opioids used by our patients.
Why did you choose Northwestern: I chose Northwestern for many reasons. I thought the people here were excellent and I valued the camaraderie between the residents, faculty, and staff. I liked the balance between direction and guidance in the operating room and the opportunities to develop your independence as a surgeon. I also valued the fact that the three hospital systems we train at are all located within Chicago. And I also appreciated the opportunities to pursue and succeed in research realm as well. Chicago is also an amazing city to live and work in.
Advice to prospective residents: I recommend taking time to reflect and identify the most important qualities you are looking for in a training program and making sure your top programs meet these qualities. Use your resources and family/friends to have conversations about your goals and do your research to identify potential programs that will help you achieve these goals.
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Mia Qin

MD: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Hometown: Madison, CT
Undergrad: Brown University
Medical/Research Interests: My interests are in hand and upper extremity surgery.
Why did you choose Northwestern: I chose Northwestern because of the resident camaraderie and the program's commitment to resident education demonstrated by all the faculty and departmental leadership.
Advice to prospective residents: I encourage prospective students to be open minded about programs as they apply. You might not think a program would be a good fit for you on paper and then be pleasantly surprised on interview day!
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Muhammad Mutawakkil

MD: Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Hometown: Kano, Nigeria
Undergrad: Brooklyn College- CUNY
Medical/Research Interests: Patient reported outcomes, healthcare disparities, Foot and Ankle complications, Deformity correction.
Why did you choose Northwestern: I found a strong sense of community among the residents. All 30 of us are close to some degree. We interact and learn from each other on a daily basis. The didactic curriculum is well refined. Every resident at the downtown campus and core faculty are expected in attendance to facilitate rich discussion of topics. This unique cohesiveness and dedication to resident learning are the main reasons I chose Northwestern.
Advice to prospective residents: Do not forget to pay attention to group will be spending the next 5 years with. Be honest to yourself on whether you fit in or not. Reach out to get a good feel of the environment as much as you can. We are all happy to talk to you about Northwestern.
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Ognjen Stevanovic

MD: University of Kansas School of Medicine

Hometown: Belgrade, Serbia
Undergrad: University of Kansas
Medical/Research Interests: I am interested in orthopedic sports medicine.
Why did you choose Northwestern: Northwestern had everything I was looking for. It is one of premier orthopedic programs in the country with world renowned experts, superb facilities and ample opportunities for extracurricular work. Dr. Peabody's leadership is very inspiring and sets the tone for every person coming through the program, evident by the accomplishments and clinical acumen of the past graduating residents. Hence, I am very thankful for being given the opportunity to train here.
Advice to prospective residents: On my first day of residency, Dr. Peabody said: "This is likely the time when you will be most uncomfortable and stressed in your life". Embrace that mentality and use it to your advantage. Most growth and improvement comes when you are placed out of your comfort zone. Don't cut corners, be assertive, work hard and, most importantly, do the right thing for the patient. Nothing else matters.
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PGY-3 Residents

Eric Sanders

MD: University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine

Hometown: Mountain Home, Arkansas
Undergrad: University of Central Arkansas
Medical/Research Interests: Clinical outcomes research, sports medicine, shoulder and elbow, trauma.
Why did you choose Northwestern: Program culture, resident camaraderie, faculty and resident relations, subspecialty depth, operative experience and autonomy. Cook County trauma.
Advice to prospective residents: Seek fit, find a program producing surgeons you aspire to emulate.
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Gregory Versteeg

MD: Ohio State University College of Medicine

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Undergrad: University of Dayton
Medical/Research Interests: Undecided
Why did you choose Northwestern: I was drawn to how well rounded the program is, with leaders in every field that would allow for a complete orthopaedic experience. The residents are a close group who enjoy working with each other and spend time together outside of work.
Advice to prospective residents: The more you put into residency the more you will gain from it. Find a residency where you can see yourself being happy with the location and the residency.
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Haley Smith

MD: Georgetown University School of Medicine

Hometown: Ridgefield, Connecticut
Undergrad: The College of William & Mary
Medical/Research Interests: clinical outcomes, sports medicine, shoulder arthroplasty
Why did you choose Northwestern: I left Northwestern after a month long rotation and knew that it was where I wanted to be. I was impressed by many programs that I saw during away rotations and interviews, but the tight knit resident and faculty community at Northwestern was second to none. My experiences thus far have only surpassed this initial assessment. The attendings are approachable and are eager to be teachers, mentors, and advocates. Our leadership is focused on resident education and wellness at both the program and national level. Most importantly, the residents have quickly become a second family.
Advice to prospective residents: Residency is long and can be grueling at times. Choose a program where you can thrive professionally, but where you can also have fun and look forward to going to work everyday.
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Manish Mehta

MD: Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Hometown: Warren, Ohio
Undergrad: Johns Hopkins University
Medical/Research Interests: Upper extremity, trauma, hand, onc. Big data, machine learning.
Why did you choose Northwestern: The culture. The residents. The focus on education. The 'I've-got-your-back.' Dr. Peabody and Dr. Beal. The County trauma experience. The NMH elective experience. The city. The lake. The sunrises.
Advice to prospective residents: Know yourself. Programs land somewhere on a number of different spectra-- service-oriented vs. apprenticeship, speed of graduated autonomy, strength in different subspecialties, research-focused vs. clinically-focused, and so on. Know what you want, and ask the questions that'll find you the program that fits you.
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Nicholas Arpey

MD: University of Iowa College of Medicine

Hometown: Iowa City, IA
Undergrad: Colgate University
Medical/Research Interests: My clinical and research interests remain broad at this time.
Why did you choose Northwestern: Northwestern has a rich history and strong tradition of exceptional patient care and innovative research conducted by faculty who are both leaders and experts in the field. The culture, combined with the high-quality training and camaraderie amongst faculty and residents, made Northwestern a perfect fit for me.
Advice to prospective residents: While factors related to the quality of training are certainly important when assessing a residency program, do not underestimate the importance of identifying a program that is a good fit from a "life outside of residency" perspective.
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Peter Swiatek

MD: University of Michigan Medical School

Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Undergrad: Harvard
Medical/Research Interests: My primary research interests include patient outcomes, health policy, and resident education in spine, trauma, sports.
Why did you choose Northwestern: Northwestern has a long history of excellence in medical and orthopaedic training. I rotated at Northwestern as a fourth-year medical student and was immediately impressed by the residents' orthopaedic knowledge, surgical skill set, and the collegial relationship with the attending staff. The program provides the unique experiences of working at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Lurie Childrens, and Cook County Hospital and offers extensive research opportunities. I ultimately chose Northwestern because of the culture that champions team-based learning, individual responsibility, and graduated experience.
Advice to prospective residents: In my opinion, the orthopaedic training experience at Northwestern is strong in every subspecialty with the unique experiences of working at Cook County Hospital, taking care of the professional sports teams including the Blackhawks and Cubs, and living down Downtown Chicago. Our culture is unique and one of the strongest aspects of our program. I would recommend that prospective residents think about that parts of residency training are most important to them (e.g. location, size, research, etc.) and touch base with faculty and residents to see if Northwestern fits the mold.
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Stephen Bigach

MD: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Undergrad: University of Iowa
Medical/Research Interests: I am interested in medical education research and plan to pursue a career in academic medicine. I have early interests in trauma, oncology, and joint reconstruction but have enjoyed every rotation to this point.
Why did you choose Northwestern: My now wife, Patricia (EM Resident), and I couples matched here. We fell in love with the people on interview day, and were attracted to the collegiate atmosphere at Northwestern. Each sub-specialty is well represented providing a very well rounded experience and leadership - especially Dr. Peabody - is very focused on resident education.
Advice to prospective residents: First, I would reflect on what you want to get out of a residency program and what is most important to you. I chose Northwestern because it offered strong faculty in every sub-specialty, was in the Midwest (my desired geographic location), and was a good fit for my wife. Since I was (and still am!) undecided on sub-specialty choice for fellowship, having strong faculty presence in every sub-specialty was important as it not only fosters a great breadth of Orthopaedic education, but also ensures mentorship in any field I should choose. Talk to as many people as you can and learn as much as you can about every program and take notes! Also keep in mind that what you desire as a medical student may be different than what you want as a resident. Good luck, it is a challenging but rewarding time!
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PGY-2 Residents

Bejan Alvandi

MD: Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Undergrad: UC Davis
Medical/Research Interests: I am interested in working directly with underserved communities to deliver equitable and culturally-conscious healthcare. Within orthopaedic surgery, I am interested in spine, sports, and shoulder/elbow.
Why did you choose Northwestern: Northwestern Ortho's commitment to fostering a balanced, resident-centric training program is unparalleled. The camaraderie between residents and faculty across all years is second to none. Furthermore, rotating at both NMH and Cook County provides diversity in terms of treatment of musculoskeletal pathologies and patient populations.
Advice to prospective residents: Fit is everything. Choose a program that aligns with your personality and career aspirations.
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Colin Cantrell

MD: University of Alabama School of Medicine

Hometown: Madison, AL
Undergrad: Auburn University
Medical/Research Interests: Trauma and Adult Reconstruction
Why did you choose Northwestern: When looking into programs, I felt Northwestern provided a complete well rounded experience that is not uniform across the country. Northwestern provides a superior exposure to all aspects of orthopaedic care allowing every resident to gain a complete experience and choose the best future career path.
Advice to prospective residents: Gather information from as many sources as possible and try to construct your own individualized opinion because the needs and desires of different applicants, residents, and programs differ. In short, find the environment that suits you individually.
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David Christian

MD: Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Hometown: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Undergrad: Georgetown University
Medical/Research Interests: Specifically within orthopaedic surgery, my research and clinical interests include in arthroplasty, sports medicine, cartilage restoration, and trauma. Additionally, I’m interested in medical technology and innovation, medical education, and healthcare economics.
Why did you choose Northwestern: I chose Northwestern for many reasons including the program culture, diversity of clinical experiences, and location. I wanted a program with a collaborative, collegial environment in which senior residents actively mentor and teach junior residents and I immediately experienced that at Northwestern during my rotation as a student. I also sought a program that provided diverse clinical experiences through rotations in a variety of hospital settings and Northwestern provides that through rotations at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Stroger Cook County Hospital. Finally, having grown up in Wisconsin, I was excited about the opportunity to move back to the Midwest and live in Chicago during residency.
Advice to prospective residents: The advice I would give applicants for residency is to make a list of their priorities for residency and rank them in order of importance. Many factors such as operative experience, program location, service or apprenticeship model rotations, research opportunities, and clinical settings influence applicants’ residency choices. I believe it is important for applicants to find the program that is their best fit, and it’s valuable to decide based on programs that fulfill their personal preferences.
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Erik Gerlach

MD: University of Florida College of Medicine

Hometown: Goodyear, AZ
Undergrad: University of Arizona
Medical/Research Interests: I'm interested in patient reported outcomes, healthcare economics, quality improvement, and technology in orthopaedics.
Why did you choose Northwestern: I chose to train at NW because of the outstanding resident and attending camaraderie. The cohesiveness and sense of family amongst residents and faculty creates a program culture unlike any other. Department leadership provides excellent mentorship for career development with faculty going above and beyond to support resident's personal and professional interests. NW has unparalleled training and operative experience leading to a well-rounded surgical education within all subspecialties.
Advice to prospective residents: Choose a residency program that will fit with your professional and personal life goals, your personality, as well as your values and interests. Make sure to consider location, mentorship, research opportunities, operative experience and most importantly do you get a sense of belonging. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the program with current residents in varying PGY levels.
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Kelly Wun

MD: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Hometown: Lakewood, CO
Undergrad: University of Colorado at Boulder
Medical/Research Interests: Current interests in spine. Currently, I have basic science-oriented interests in microbiome effect on healing and inflammation. Also interested in machine learning for text analysis and image analysis.
Why did you choose Northwestern: Home program. The program is hard-working, and the people are supportive. The faculty are well-connected and are dedicated to resident education and training. Chicago is a great city to train in.
Advice to prospective residents: Choose a place where you think you will fit in and thrive. Consider things like city, cost of living, proximity to friends and family, and need for transportation.
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Yung-Jae Lee

MD: Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Hometown: Yeosu, South Korea
Undergrad: Rutgers University
Medical/Research Interests: Epidemiology, treatment-based outcomes.
Why did you choose Northwestern: Short answer: the people. It's hard to emphasize how important it is that you fit well into the program, and get along with the people. The leadership here is well-respected, and the residents and faculty are super easy to get along with. It also doesn't hurt to have a direct view of Lake Michigan from our conference room every morning!
Advice to prospective residents: Remember that you are choosing a group of people with which you'll spend a major portion of the next five years of your life. Try to talk to as many residents in the program as you can. Ask about their relationships with the other residents and faculty, and gauge whether or not your hobbies and interests align with those in the program.
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PGY-1 Residents

Carly Williams

MD: Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

Hometown: Mandeville, LA
Undergrad: Johns Hopkins University
Medical/Research Interests: My research interests are in global surgery, clinical outcomes, biomedical engineering, and medical device design.
Why did you choose Northwestern: chose Northwestern because it checked all of my standard boxes (mid-size program, healthy culture, academic program, surgical experience, good relationships between residents and with the faculty) and beyond (in Chicago, supported women in ortho, strength across all subspecialties, opportunities in global surgery). Ultimately, I felt like Northwestern was the right fit for me and where I would be successful in training to be the best orthopedic surgeon I can be.
Advice to prospective residents: Go with your gut – you will know when you feel like you fit in at a place. You shouldn’t choose your residency based on one person, but even one conversation can tell you a lot about a program. Also, find what you are passionate about and then find a program that will support and encourage that.
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Jeremy Marx

MD: Georgetown University School of Medicine

Hometown: Dallas, TX
Undergrad: Troy University
Medical/Research Interests: I would like to analyze patient outcomes for single and multi-level Spine Surgeries and research amputation techniques that decrease limb and prosthetic pain thereby leading to increased function and mobility for Veterans.
Why did you choose Northwestern: Northwestern Orthopedics gives the opportunity to obtain experience at Cook County and work at the main hospital. This diversity along with elective and trauma surgical experience makes Northwestern a very balanced program. As a former Special Operations military member, I was drawn to the emphasis that Northwestern places on developing leaders within the field.
Advice to prospective residents: Consider the personalities and mentality of the faculty and residents that you would like to spend the next 5 years with, and whether the organization will provide an environment where you can both learn and excel. Consider the didactics, surgical skills, and research opportunities that each program offers.
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John Carney

MD: Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Hometown: Laguna Niguel, CA
Undergrad: University of California Los Angeles
Medical/Research Interests: Orthopaedic trauma, radiation exposure in healthcare, medical education
Why did you choose Northwestern: Northwestern offers a diverse set of clinical experiences that prepares its residents for any future practice setting. The faculty are experts in their respective fields and passionate about resident education. The camaraderie among residents is second to none.
Advice to prospective residents: Look for a program with a positive culture where the residents push each other to be better every single day.
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Joseph Tanenbaum

MD: Case Western Reserve University

Hometown: Albany, NY
Undergrad: Dartmouth College
Medical/Research Interests: I'm interested in the intersection between orthopedics and health policy
Why did you choose Northwestern: had three criteria when evaluating programs during interview season: 1) Ample training opportunities, with the chance to run a high volume trauma service during residency, 2) family-like atmosphere among the residents with faculty that took a genuine interest in the well-being and success of trainees, 3) research resources (and their availability to orthopedics residents) of the larger university beyond just what the department could offer. Northwestern excels in all three areas, so the decision to rank Northwestern highly was easy for me. Also, and this point cannot be overstated, Chicago is an incredible place to live and work.
Advice to prospective residents: We are all very lucky that outstanding clinical training is widely available across many orthopedics programs. With that in mind, when deciding between programs, my advice would be to look for "your people." You don't have to rotate somewhere to get a sense of the culture fit (though it definitely helps!) with faculty and co-residents. I didn't rotate at Northwestern, but within ten minutes of the pre-interview social event, I felt that I would fit in with the culture here. I'd also advise you to reach out to faculty at the programs you are considering with specific questions about your interests and your passions and incorporate their response into your decision making. To that end, I felt that the faculty at Northwestern were (and are) committed to helping me get where I want to go in my life and career, not just where they think I should go, which is rare among mentors.
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Michael Kavanagh

MD: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Hometown: Lake Forest, IL
Undergrad: University of Notre Dame
Medical/Research Interests: Trauma, clinical outcomes, opioid use
Why did you choose Northwestern: While rotating as a medical student, I was extremely impressed by the people throughout the program. In addition, the sense of community, exceptional training opportunities, dedication to education and service, and location in Chicago all drew me to Northwestern.
Advice to prospective residents: Seek out a program with a strong culture and values well-aligned with your own.
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Stephen Devlin

MD: University of Maryland School of Medicine

Hometown: Severna Park, MD
Undergrad: University of Maryland at College Park
Medical/Research Interests: Orthopedic Surgery The use of simulation in training orrthopedic surgeons
Why did you choose Northwestern: While doing an away rotation at Northwestern, I got an inside look at resident culture, attending-fellow-resident interactions, and resident education. The resident culture creates a sense of real friendship and family. The attendings are brilliant educators and enjoyable to work with. The didactic curriculum is extensive and effective. All of these reasons led me to choose Northwestern for my residency training. Getting to live in Chicago certainly helps too.
Advice to prospective residents: Work hard. Ask questions. Be honest to yourself about what you value in a training program.
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