Letter From the Chairman

Alexander R. Vaccaro, MD, PhD, MBA

I am pleased to introduce you to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University. If one were to seek the phrase that best describes our philosophy, it would be "the pursuit of excellence." Excellence permeates all of our activities in patient care, teaching, and research.

A sense of excellence typifies everyone active in the department as well – greater than 102 faculty members, 17 postgraduate fellows, 30 residents, and a talented administrative staff.

The program's core hospital is Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. This institution is supplemented and enriched by our affiliate hospitals: Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA; pediatric orthopaedic surgery is rendered at Nemours Children's Hospital in Wilmington, DE; Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, as well as at Jefferson and its affiliates. Residents get additional educational opportunities at Methodist Hospital, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Orthopaedic Surgical Center, Riddle Hospital, Rothman Orthopaedics Specialty Hospital, Physician Care Specialty Hospital, Riverview Surgical Center, Riddle Surgical Center, Lankenau. A research rotation has recently been introduced in the PGY-3 year to further our residents’ academic pursuits.

The department has evolved into 12 subspecialty divisions, each with its own director, staff, research department, and educational goals. The leadership of these divisions is characterized by national prominence, a history of accomplishment in patient care, teaching and research, and continued productivity.

At every level, education is of prime importance. Faculty, fellows, residents, and scholars all teach one another, the students, and allied health personnel. Together they make up the departmental family. There is an open spirit of intellectual honesty and challenge.

We offer a full schedule of formal and didactic conferences covering every facet of orthopaedic surgery. These conferences are reevaluated and enriched yearly, following feedback elicited from residents and medical students.

At Jefferson, the teaching of orthopaedic surgery is not an isolated activity, but closely relates to the department's extensive clinical and basic science research activities. We believe that knowledge is not a static accumulation of facts to be memorized, but rather an evolutionary set of principles of patient care that must be expanded, examined, and continually developed. Thus, research and teaching function as handmaidens within the department, each nourishing the other.

All divisions within the department maintain a strong commitment to both clinical and fundamental research. Several computerized databases have been created for ongoing prospective clinical studies of reconstructive and implant surgery. Residents and fellows have access to these databases for all of their projects, presentations, and papers.

A basic science research laboratory, covering 10,000 square feet of space in the Curtis Building, is under the supervision of a full-time director of research and seven full-time PhDs and one part-time DDS. Supported by a substantial annual budget and campaign contributions, basic research on the skeletal system is closely affiliated with research interests of the clinical staff. This unique relationship allows for the evolution of mature, multifaceted research projects.

An additional benefit of our residency program is location. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is located in one of the more attractive and accessible sections of Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia is richly endowed in historical tradition and blessed with a host of centers of the arts, as well as numerous recreational facilities.

As Chairman, all of my efforts serve to support two goals: the betterment of our students' education, and the highest possible quality of care for our patients. I earnestly hope that you will take time to consider our prestigious institution in your search for a residency program.


Alexander R. Vaccaro, MD, PhD, MBA

Richard H. Rothman Professor and Chairman
Department of Orthopaedics
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital