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Our Programs

Our commitment to education includes teaching undergraduate and postgraduate trainees, as well as other health care professionals. Due to our clinical diversity and case volumes, UHN has the largest clinical fellowship program in Canada. On any given day, learners at all levels, including medical students, residents, fellows and observers, can be found in our division. Below is a list of our educational and research programs.

Some education programs at UHN may be suspended or modified at this time. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page.

Fellowship Program

The University of Toronto offers Clinical Fellowships in orthopedic surgery through its affiliated hospital sites to provide additional specialized clinical and research training. Fellowships can span up to two years and may involve rotation through multiple hospital sites in Toronto. During this time, Fellows will be exposed to a mix of cases and may participate in elective rotations, lecture series, journal clubs, institutional rounds and conferences. Fellows may also have the opportunity to be involved in a research project. The following Fellowship programs offered by the University include UHN’s Toronto Western Hospital.

Arthroplasty & Lower Extremity Reconstruction

The Arthroplasty & Lower Extremity Reconstruction program can be done for one year. Fellows will be exposed to all aspects of hip and knee surgery, including arthroscopy, primary arthroplasty and revision arthroplasty. UHN surgeons who may supervise this program include:

*Fellowship Coordinator

Foot & Ankle

Over the course of this one-year program, Fellows will rotate through four hospital sites (Toronto Western, St. Michael’s, Brampton Civic and Scarborough Grace). Fellows will be exposed to a broad scope of foot and ankle surgery, for both traumatic and non-traumatic conditions. Dr. Johnny Lau is the site supervisor for Toronto Western Hospital.

Hand & Upper Extremity

The Hand & Upper Extremity 12 month programs are offered jointly between the Divisions of Orthopedic Surgery and Plastic, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery at Toronto Western Hospital. Hand Surgery Fellows will be exposed to a range of reconstructive problems, hand trauma, arthritis, surgery and peripheral nerve problems and will be expected to produce a clinical research paper or a basic science one. Upper Extremity Fellows will be exposed to complex shoulder and elbow procedures, including primary and revision arthroplasty, superior capsule reconstruction, tendon transfers and fracture fixation, and will have the opportunity to participate in research. UHN surgeons who may supervise this program include:

Spine

This joint program between the Divisions of Orthopedic Surgery and Neurosurgery is typically a one-year program, involving both clinical and research experience. It can also be done as a two-year combined research and clinical fellowship for those interested in pursuing a Masters level graduate degree. Fellows will be broadly exposed to adult spine surgery for both traumatic and non-traumatic conditions. UHN surgeons who may supervise this program include:

Sports Medicine & Arthroscopy

The University of Toronto Orthopedic Sports Medicine Fellowship is a one-year program based at Women’s College Hospital and involves supervision from UHN staff. Fellows will be exposed to a range of upper limb cases, including shoulder or elbow arthroscopy and reconstruction with some arthroplasty, as well as lower limb cases, including hip arthroscopy, primary or revision ACL, multiligament knee reconstruction, cartilage restoration, ankle arthroscopy and pediatrics Fellows will be expected to publish at least two research papers. UHN surgeons who may supervise this program include:

Further information on application requirements and procedures as well as other details on all of the Fellowship Programs is provided by the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Toronto and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN.

Resident Program

The University of Toronto offers a five-year orthopedic residency program to train the next generation of orthopedic surgeons. Toronto Western Hospital at UHN is one of seven hospitals that Residents rotate through. Residents will be trained in the modern medical, surgical and treatment methods and gain exposure to UHN’s subspecialties in upper and lower extremity reconstructive surgery, sports medicine and spinal surgery.

All Residents are required to conduct a research project and produce a publication-ready manuscript. In addition, Residents will be able to apply to the Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP) to complete a Masters or PhD level research project in preparation for an academic career in orthopedic surgery. Many of these ‘SSTP residents’ are under supervision of UHN faculty.

Residents are evaluated in the clinical setting by their supervisor(s), and are encouraged to develop autonomy and skills that will help them on their path toward independent practice.

Resident education includes didactic teaching sessions with specific topics presented over the duration of their rotation, simulation sessions, oral exam practice sessions, orthopedic surgery seminars, education and research rounds. In addition, journal club rounds are offered periodically.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of these formal rounds have been shifted to a virtual format.

Daily Teaching

An important focus of our postgraduate resident education program is the daily teaching, which consists of: informal and formal teaching sessions through resident and Faculty as well as fellow interactions on the ward, in the clinic, the operating room, and on-call.

The entire teaching series has been designed to allow important basic and subspecialty orthopedic surgery lectures to be completed during each resident rotation.

Most of our staff participate in these teaching sessions. To ensure a comprehensive curriculum, we include teaching by our non-physician healthcare colleagues, where appropriate.

Further information on application requirements and procedures as well as other details on the Residency Program is provided by the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Toronto and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN.


Dr. George Oreopoulos and Dr. Caleb Zavitz
Every year the UHN Department of Surgery hosts a Holiday Fun Rounds in December as an opportunity for the residents, fellows and other staff to show their 'appreciation and affection' for all the surgical staff. Here, Dr. George Oreopoulos is shown presenting the 2019 award for best rounds presentation to Dr. Caleb Zavitz.

Research

Research is integral to many of the educational programs supported by the Division of Orthopedic Surgery. Many of the Division’s surgeons lead cutting-edge research programs and are appointed, affiliated or clinical scientists in the Krembil Research Institute at UHN:





Research areas of interest include osteoarthritis, rheumatology, total joint arthroplasty, hip and knee replacements and spine surgery.

All of the Division’s surgeons are also members of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute at UHN, a world-leading enterprise for arthritis research.

Some of our surgeons hold additional appointments in departments at the University of Toronto beyond their appointments with the Department of Surgery, such as:

For more information on the research being done at UHN and the University of Toronto:

Undergraduate Program

University of Toronto Medical Students

The Division of Orthopedic Surgery has a significant role in Undergraduate Education at the University of Toronto.

The University offers core and elective experience for its undergraduate Medical Students. First- and second-year students have the opportunity to do clinical electives, meet with surgeons, and do summer research projects. In addition, the Division of Orthopedic Surgery offers two-week shadowing opportunities, where students can observe cases and spend time in the clinic or operating room. Students in their third year can rotate with the Division of Orthopedic Surgery as Clinical Clerks. As Clerks, students will be assigned to a team where they will be integrated into the daily patient care activities. By being in the clinic and operating room as well as participating in rounds, Clerks will be exposed to an overview of the different types of surgical problems and care.

During their rotation, students may have the opportunity to:

  • Observe or assist in the closed reduction of a fracture or dislocation, surgical management of a fracture, a joint replacement operation of the upper or lower extremity and the casting of upper and lower extremity injuries
  • Evaluate a patient with arthritis of a major joint or the back

The clinical experience is complemented by the option to contribute to clinical or basic research.

Further information on Undergraduate education is provided by the University of Toronto.

Elective Program

The Division of Orthopedic Surgery accepts Elective Students from universities across Canada and abroad.

Further information on electives is provided by the University of Toronto’s Division of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS)

The CREMS Summer Program provides medical students with the opportunity to obtain research experience during the summer months.

The CREMS Summer Program is open to first- and second-year medical students at the University of Toronto.

Applications are submitted, reviewed, ranked and selected by the CREMS Director and a review panel of three other faculty members.

Students in the program present their work at the University of Toronto Medical Student Research Day, which is held in the following year with a poster presentation. Supervisors ensure that students receive the appropriate training needed to conduct their research projects.

Further information is provided by the CREMS office at the University of Toronto.

Patient as Teacher Program

The third-year surgical clerkship for undergraduate medical students at the University of Toronto integrates the Patient as Teacher program. Comprising three workshops and production of a creative reflection piece, this program aims to promote humanism and patient-centred approaches in medicine. Patients share their experiences and insights to provide students with the patient perspective of the surgical journey.

Further information on the Patient as Teacher program.


Artwork by University of Toronto surgical clerks
Artwork by University of Toronto surgical clerks George Ho (left) and Sivaani Sivaselvachandran (right).

Observerships

The Observerships program at UHN provides health care professionals and students from around the world the opportunity to observe examinations and other procedures performed by UHN staff physicians, surgeons, nurses, and health professionals. All Observers require a UHN sponsor—a clinical or surgical staff member who will be responsible for the Observer’s learning experience. It is the observer’s responsibility to connect with a sponsor and then proceed with the application process.

In addition to the general Observerships program, the International Centre for Education at UHN’s Michener Institute of Education offers the Personalized Learning Program.

Personalized Learning Program (PLP)

The PLP at UHN is a fully customizable, observership-based program designed to meet learner goals and objectives. No two PLPs are exactly the same! Various resources and expertise throughout UHN are leveraged to enhance the learning experience. The program office works closely with host program(s) and learners to develop an Education Plan, outlining the activities of the PLP which are meant to meet the learning objectives. One-on-one coaching time and check-ins are also scheduled throughout the program, as needed. Learners are asked to provide a short presentation at the end of the program to summarize their learning and provide feedback. Learners also receive a UHN-Michener Certificate of Completion at the end of the program.

Depending on the PLP, the program may also be done virtually. A virtual PLP will provide one-on-one or group mentorship-like experiences and masterclasses with UHN clinicians and leaders. The virtual programs will be designed around and focused on meeting learners’ personalized learning needs and objectives.

Further information on the PLP is available from the International Centre for Education.