Reflections of Our Alumni

Robert Lucas, M.D.
2014-2015
East Bay Shoulder Clinic and Sports Rehabilitation Clinic
Lafayette, CA

I had an excellent fellowship experience at UW. Dr. Matsen has a wealth of knowledge gained through 40+ years of experience and is an outstanding teacher. You will gain ample experience in primary, revision and very complex challenging shoulder arthroplasty cases. Dr. Warme contributes with his own extensive experience in a balance of arthroscopic, scapulothoracic, and clavicular surgeries in addition to shoulder arthroplasty. Dr. Hsu adds to this variety and also takes on challenging elbow cases. He also brings in what he recently learned in his fellowship program. Dr. Gee tops off the experience by adding in sports medicine cases including arthroscopic and open shoulder, elbow and knee cases. The variety and wealth of cases I was involved in during fellowship have prepared me well for clinical practice.

Furthermore there are numerous opportunities to contribute to research. There is an outstanding well organized research support system in place. The research is a team endeavor with everyone contributing ideas, time, and effort to encourage and facilitate high quality, feasible research studies.

Most importantly, I learned how to think about shoulder problems, not just what to think. The numerous clinical experiences, pre-op conferences and SWAT team rounds helped to shape my thought processes and have prepared me to be a confident and competent shoulder surgeon.

Mac McElvaney, M.D.
2012-2013
Kaiser Permanente
Santa Rosa, CA

It seems to me that surgeons who are an appropriate fit for the University of Washington Shoulder Fellowship know this when visiting.  Those who anticipate complete competence or technical perfection after a year may be better trained elsewhere.  Those who want to learn how to think about patients afflicted with pathology of the shoulder ought to be attracted to Seattle.  The foundation of surgical skills, and more importantly thought patterns, that one learns by osmosis and time provide a solid base for any career in shoulder surgery, second to none.

While the UW has an enormous tradition of grooming leaders in this field, there is a distinct awareness of bucking the trends when needed.  If this sounds exciting, then speak your mind and you'll be welcomed.

Erik McGoldrick, M.D.
2012-2013
St. Joseph Healthcare
Eureka, CA

My fellowship year was an absolute wonderful experience and prepared me well for my first year in practice.  We were given appropriate levels of responsibility in patient selection, case preparation, and in intra operative decision making.  I am very appreciative of the special attention paid to selecting the appropriate patient for surgery while remaining empathetic to their concerns.  This certainly aided in my good outcomes my first year, which is important when practicing in a small community where reputation means everything.  Furthermore, as an ACE at the University of Washington we ran our own independent clinic which again provided us an opportunity to hone our clinical skills and prepare us for running our own clinics when we graduated.  I was given sufficient freedom outside of my shoulder/elbow responsibilities to pursue other interesting cases within the University, including hand, tumor/reconstruction, and sports medicine.  Above all else, Drs. Matsen, Warme, and Gee emphasized that orthopedics and patient care is absolutely a team sport and the fellows, in addition to the therapists, nurses, medical assistants, and office managers are a vital part of that team.

Brad Carofino, M.D.
2011-2012
Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists
Virgina Beach, VA

The shoulder fellowship at UW provided a tremendous foundation for my clinical practice. I was exposed to all aspects of open and arthroscopic surgery, and the clinical experience was the perfect mix of autonomy and teaching. I was able to enter practice with confidence on day one. Most importantly, I acquired a concept of how to think about the shoulder which will allow me to adapt to any trends or changes in the future of shoulder surgery, and that is priceless.

Tassos Papanikolodakis, M.D.
2010-2011
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Winston-Salem, NC

My experience was wonderful at the University of Washington. I was lucky to have a well-rounded experience in shoulder and elbow surgery, from open reconstructive/revision surgery to minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures.  Every day there were many interesting and unique cases. I felt that a team of Giants in the field of orthopaedic surgery covered the three major shoulder disorders (1) arthritis, (2) rotator cuff disease and (3) instability extensively. They taught me not only the art of shoulder surgery but also the art of “staying humble”. As Heraclitus quoted ““Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.

Matthew Saltzman, M.D.
2008-2009
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL

My experience as a shoulder/elbow fellow at UW was nothing short of amazing.  I learned so much about complex shoulder disorders from Dr. Matsen and the shoulder team.  The operative experience is unparalleled.  Perhaps more importantly I learned how to become a good doctor and care for patients in a way that has helped me tremendously since starting my own practice. I also learned how to perform meaningful research and write manuscripts, both indispensable tools in academic practice.  I could not be more grateful for my experience as a shoulder/elbow fellow at UW.

 

Jeremiah Clinton, M.D.
2007-2008
Bitterroot Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
Hamilton, MT

Having done a residency with Dr. Matsen I chose to stay and complete the UW shoulder and elbow fellowship less for what I learned in the OR and more for what I learned out of the OR. Certainly the time spent operating with Dr. Matsen and Dr. Warme increased my comfort level with complex shoulder and elbow reconstruction but I truly feel the biggest gains for me were in clinic and in case conferences etc discussing the philosophy of shoulder surgery put forth by the UW fellowship program.  Dr. Matsen's experience as a true innovator in shoulder and elbow surgery through the years and his tenure as the chairman of the orthopedic department at the University of Washington allowed me to observe a master at work dealing with complex patients, difficult schedules, and how to be a leader in a way that ensures that those that surround and support you are given the tools to succeed in their tasks so that inevitably it makes your own success attainable. For these lessons I will always be grateful.

Dr. Warme's joining of the UW faculty was very welcomed by us as the new fellows when he first arrived. He brought arthroscopy back to the shoulder and elbow service and his experience and training allowed us  to evaluate and compare apples and oranges when looking at arthroscopic vs open techniques.  Had it not been for Dr. Warme I would not have gained the comfort level with shoulder arthroscopy I have today.  He also engaged the fellows to have an active role in shoulder arthroscopy during surgery which allowed us to refine our skills and perfect the principles of arthroscopy. Additionally he brought a new perspective to the open shoulder surgery we were learning in particular when it came to instability and several other techniques he had brought with him from his time in the Army.

Overall at this point in my career (8  years post fellowship) I can say the principles that I learned in an out of the operating room have continued to serve me well and I am grateful to have spent the time as a University of Washington Shoulder and Elbow Fellow.

Joseph Lynch, M.D.
2007-2008
Naval Medical Center San Diego
San Diego, CA

I recall very distinctly my thoughts and impressions at the time I was invited to participate in the Shoulder & Elbow fellowship program at the University of Washington 8 to 9 years ago.  I recall feeling overjoyed that I was invited to be part of such an elite program with such elite alumni.

I also recall very distinctly being focused on surgical volume and surgical experience during that year.  

As I look back and reflect on that time, I realize that fellowship was not so much about the surgical volume and operative experience, as it was about the opportunity to spend an entire year devoted to learning how two consummate professionals run their life, their practice and address the day-to-day challenges of the practice of orthopedic surgery.  It was also about being able to spend a year with my co-fellow, and great friend, Jeremiah Clinton.  I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work under yourself and Dr. Warme.  It is no surprise that my practice – how I treat and evaluate shoulder and elbow problems - has been influenced significantly by the principles taught by Drs Matsen and Warme.   What is as important, in my mind, are also the principles they taught me directly and indirectly on how to be a great leader, how to treat colleagues, how to be a good practice partner, and how to treat administrative and surgical staff; as well as how to balance all the pressures of a busy shoulder and elbow practice with the demands of a growing and vibrant family.

Professionalism, respect, and perfection are the words that come to mind as I reflect on that time!! The intimate nature of the fellowship program is such a HUGE advantage over those programs with large crowds of fellows and armies of attendings.

Having been through fellowship training, and now given the opportunity to reflect on it retrospectively, it is clear that fellowship is so much more than doing great cases and great research - though these are the essentials and I felt the program accomplished these goals very well.  What is most valuable to me as I look back on the fellowship experience is having the opportunity to participate in a true ""apprenticeship"" where the rudiments and principles of training taught to me have truly laid the ground work of my ability to succeed not only as a surgeon, but also as an individual.  I feel so grateful to consider Dr Matsen and Dr. Warme mentors, but also great friends, and I will be forever indebted. 

Ryan T. Bicknell
2006-2007
Queens University, Kingston General Hospital
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

The year I spent as a fellow at UW was a tremendously rewarding experience that I would most appropriately summarize with one word - mentorship. Dr. Rick Matsen is the epitomization of a mentor - surgically, clinically, academically and most importantly, personally, as a father, a husband, a co-worker and a friend. I learned a great deal in each of these areas, and still find myself thinking on a daily basis, “what would Rick do here?” I routinely recommend this fellowship to anyone who is looking for a complete experience, not only to gain unparalleled shoulder and elbow expertise, but as an opportunity to learn how to become a complete academic surgeon, including how to balance all of life’s experiences.

Caroline Chebli, M.D.
2005-2006
Kenney-White Orthopaedic Center
Sarasota, FL

Dr. Matsen, his wife, Anne and his entire family, welcomed us into their home at the fellowship interview and throughout my year as a fellow. They always made my family and I feel that we were part of their amazing family.  This was a great comfort at the outset because we were so far from our own home and family.

I was very proud to work with such a great teacher, pioneer, and innovator in Shoulder and Elbow surgery. I was entrusted with guiding and teaching the third year orthopaedic surgery resident in one of the operative rooms on Dr. Matsen’s operative day. I appreciated the ability to challenge myself with the independence Dr. Matsen afforded me but I valued the insight and direction he provided me at the critical junctures of the cases.

I was exposed to incredibly rare, challenging, and complexes cases that I believe were formative in my training as a Shoulder and Elbow surgeon. I was taught critical thinking, careful analysis, and most of all to respect one’s limitations.My research opportunities were plentiful as well. I was able to coauthor two book chapters with Dr. Matsen and two peer reviewed journal articles.

Dr. Matsen has supported my growth as a Shoulder and Elbow surgeon well out into my practice life as well. He was a strong supporter for me in attaining a position as a reviewer for CORR. I am certain he had much to do with my appointment to the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons.

In brief, it has been a great honor and privilege for me to train at the University of Washington as a Shoulder and Elbow surgeon.  It was the best and most important decision I have ever made in my professional career and it chartered a course of great success, discovery, and achievement for me.

Tim Lenters, M.D.
2004-2005
River Valley Orthopedics
Grand Rapids, MI

Allow me to highlight some elements of a tremendous experience at UW. 

One key element of a fellowship relates to the mentorship of the directors of the program.   UW embraces a strong educational environment.  Fellows and residents work together under the guidance of outstanding teachers.  Dr. Matsen has a gift for challenging everyone to become better with every patient encounter.  Whether he is teaching in the clinic or the operating room, opportunities for learning are presented in abundance.  My own level of knowledge grew every week as a result of his tutelage.   Additionally, his efforts were always performed in a spirit of integrity.  He strives to do the right thing for every patient, and this attitude is contagious to his learners.  His integrity has helped me to become a better physician, as essential values and habits were modeled. 

Research opportunities in a fellowship should be plentiful, and should result in successful publication in major orthopedic journals.  UW has outstanding support for research efforts.   Dr. Matsen is connected with key individuals throughout the various departments at the University of Washington, and this can lead to unique research projects by accessing skills not inherent to an orthopedic surgeon.  I was involved in multiple projects during my year, and achieved publication in JBJS numerous times.  One key factor in publication seems to be authorship, and Dr. Matsen’s pen carries a powerful influence on journal editors considering publication of a project.  I can recall multiple versions of manuscripts being sent back and forth between Dr. Matsen and myself, with the final version reflecting his ability to present data and conclusions to a substantial effect.

I can’t speak for the current case mix in the fellowship, but in my time the exposure to shoulder arthroplasty was outstanding.  I learned proven principles of shoulder arthroplasty that are still relevant today, and that I use every time I replace a shoulder.  Shoulder replacement has become an area of expertise for me, and this was made possible only by spending time in the OR with Dr. Matsen.  Efficient surgical methods and principles allow me to perform 6-7 replacements on my operative days:  these skills were learned at UW.  Although exposure to arthroscopy was poor during my year, I am certain that new faculty has expanded this area of learning for fellows.  I did learn standard proven principles of instability, cuff disease, and stiffness that help me with almost every patient that I see in the clinic.  Although I no longer use open surgical methods for treating these problems, the same principles of treatment can readily be applied with arthroscopy. 

Another strength of the fellowship is the construct I learned to help decipher why our patient’s shoulders fail to provide comfort and satisfaction.  Dr. Matsen’s “4 S’s” are incredibly valuable tools for taking a history, performing an appropriate exam, and developing a predictable treatment plan for every patient.  These concepts were sharpened and chiseled into me during my year.  I have tried to carry on the tradition of these teachings to my own residents, and have been able to bring our residency program to the 98th percentile in terms of performance in the shoulder area of this year’s OITE exam.  This can be partly attributed to the key concepts that I learned with Dr. Matsen. 

Finally, Seattle is a wonderful place to live and explore.  Coming from the Midwest, exposure to mountains, wooded paths, and ocean was an invigorating change.  I had ample time to engage with the region and still fondly remember the geography of the Pacific Northwest.  In fact, I recently returned with my family to spend 2 weeks in the Olympic National Park.  The Western side of the state of Washington is an underappreciated gift and it was a pleasure to live there for a year.

Moby Parsons, M.D.
2002-2003
University of Calgary
Alberta, Calgary, Canada

The true value of an experience can only be measured in terms of its lasting impact, and the University of Washington Shoulder fellowship is a true career-defining experience. I had the great fortune to learn the art and science of shoulder surgery at UW from Dr. Matsen 12 years ago. No where else can one develop such a foundational and deep understanding of this field that allows a principle-based approach to diagnosis and treatment. This approach remains as true today as a decade ago and provides a framework to address even complex problems on a practical level. While surgical techniques will always change and technical skill will always mature, it is the ability to apply the core principles to such advancements that will define clinical success.  This is where the UW shoulder fellowship excels beyond all others in preparing one to be a successful shoulder surgeon long-term.

Dr. Matsen is an unparalleled mentor who will teach one to defy dogma and challenge conventional wisdom through critical but common sense thinking. Most importantly, one develops extremely sound judgment in listening to patients and treating them in a manner that not only addresses their physical problem, but also their larger concerns and their goals. Learning to view diagnoses in such a larger context is incredibly valuable in terms of achieving successful outcomes. The surgical and clinical experience at UW are nothing short of masters level, and as I now approach the busiest years of my career, to have gained such expertise from the shoulder center that defined so much of what we do is nothing short of a great privilege. Having had several different fellowship options, I am certain looking back that my year at UW was far and away the best choice.

Robert Titelman, M.D.
2002-2003
Resurgeons Orthopaedics

The Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship and Advanced Clinical Experience at the University of Washington was a phenomenal education.

My time there advanced my knowledge of the Shoulder and Elbow, as well as Research and the practice of Academic Medicine in general. They taught me not only the current thoughts on the Shoulder and Elbow, but also how to further advance knowledge and assess new developments in the Shoulder and Elbow.

Dr. Matsen is not only a brilliant scientist and surgeon whose skills are above any I have seen, but also a true gentleman. He runs his program in such a manner which he truly values and respects every person, from patient to staff to fellow. Dr. Matsen and his wife Anne truly welcome you into not only the family of Shoulder and Elbow surgeons, but also their own family as well. Beyond devotion to work, they live a very balanced life, and encourage you to do the same, exploring Seattle and the surrounding areas. It was a great time in my life, that I look back on with great fondness.

If you choose the University of Washington as your place, you will certainly grow as a clinician, scientist, surgeon, and person. Your year there will be a wonderful experience, but will also give you the tools to keep developing and growing your skills in Orthopaedics and life.

Richard Boorman, M.D.
2001-2002
University of Calgary
Alberta, Calgary, Canada

"I am an extremely proud and successful alumni of the UW ACE shoulder and elbow surgery fellowship. I am currently the chief of shoulder and elbow surgery at the university of Calgary, team orthopaedic surgeon with the NHL Calgary Flames, and an Active Member of the ASES.  I am so thankful to Dr Matsen and the UW faculty for my success. During my time at  the University of Washington I was given the opportunity to collaborate in clinical and basic science research that resulted in multiple, important research publications.

My clinical experience was invaluable in launching my career. The UW shoulder and elbow service demands the highest level of patient care. Dr Matsen is renowned around the world for his knowledge, expertise, and revolutionary contributions to shoulder and elbow surgery, but even more importantly he is a compassionate and caring doctor that cares most about the wellbeing and satisfaction of his patients."

Sean Churchill, M.D.
2000-2001
Aurora Advanced Healthcare
Milwaukee, WI

My fellowship year under Dr. Matsen was the most intellectually stimulating and rewarding year of my career.  The principles I learned from Dr. Matsen have been invaluable in managing shoulder and elbow conditions.  His guidance on the proper establishment of research protocols and projects has also allowed me to produce excellent clinical research that has truly contributed to the advancement of shoulder knowledge.  In my mind there is no shoulder fellowship I would have rather completed.

Edward Fehringer, M.D.
2000-2001
University of Nebraska
Omaha, NE

To put it simply, my fellowship year in Seattle has been the greatest year of my life yet to this day. My wife and family still reflect on it fondly.

My fellowship year in Seattle acted as the gateway to a shoulder and elbow career I had not quite expected...and it has been fantastic. I learned more in that short twelve months than I had in the prior five years. I was intellectually stimulated and challenged constantly. I learned to do shoulder basic and clinical research at a world class level. The clinical and surgical cases with which we were challenged were ones from which I learned valuable lessons that influence my practice today. With the people I met to the fantastic University and its hospital and clinics, I cannot say enough good things about my and our experienced. Matsen is far beyond a leader and mentor and superstar shoulder surgeon and researcher; he is simply one of the greatest people that I know. I got lucky....and I know it.

Samer Hasan, M.D.
1999-2000
Cincinnati Sports Mecicine & Orthopedic Center
Cincinnati, OH

I'm a shoulder and elbow surgeon practicing at Mercy Health/Cincinnati Sports medicine Orthopedic Center. I completed fellowship training under the direction of Dr. Rick Matsen, as a shoulder and elbow ACE at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1999–2000.I was inspired to pursue fellowship training in shoulder and elbow surgery by my residency mentor at Rush Medical Center, Dr. Tony Romeo, who had also completed fellowship training in shoulder and elbow surgery at University of Washington back in the early 1990s. I was privileged to have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

My fellowship experience at the University of Washington provided in-depth clinical, operative, and academic exposure to the spectrum of shoulder and elbow pathology. I learned evidence based principles that guide treatment, rather than the latest fad or technique. These principles have endured and continue to guide my clinical decision making and treatment, even as the implants and techniques continue to evolve. I had a healthy operative experience that included high volume shoulder replacement surgery, but also rotator cuff repair, instability, and surgeries for shoulder and elbow stiffness. I learned from Dr Matsen, an elegant master surgeon, but I also learned from other surgeons at the University of Washington, and, in turn, I also learned to teach others - a critical skill for those pursuing a career in academic medicine.

The overriding emphasis throughout my fellowship was on quality and not quantity. The fellowship struck an excellent balance between operative experience, autonomous and mentored office experience and clinical research experience. I learned a great deal from Dr. Rick Matsen, but also from other attendings and fellows, as well as from researchers and physical therapists - especially Ms. Sarah Jackins.

I also recall fondly the collegial atmosphere that permeates the Shoulder and Elbow Service at the University of Washington Medical Center. I thoroughly enjoyed my year as fellow; I formed new friendships and joined a family of former fellows that continues to shape shoulder and elbow care in this country and abroad. Additionally, I cannot think of a better place to spend a year than Seattle and the great Northwest. Vibrant culture, breathtaking scenery, the great outdoors - the city and region has it all.

I am so grateful to have experienced shoulder and elbow fellowship training at the University of Washington. Without a doubt it was the most important formative year of my professional training.

Jordan Leith, M.D.
1999-2000
Fortius Sport & Health
Burnaby, BC, Canada

The ACE Upper Extremity experience laid the groundwork for my current work with patients and their shoulder pathology. It has provided me with a very clear understanding of the shoulder that has afforded me the advantage over many of our colleagues who continue to feel that the shoulder is a black box. I must say that I often take it for granted how easy it seems to be able to diagnose and treat patients with shoulder issues using the basic principles of history and physical exam and... "The Book.

Benjamin Goldberg, M.D.
1998-1999
University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL

I have been in practice for 16 years.  I can honestly say that my year in Seattle was the most important year in my training and was the springboard for what I believe has been an excellent and rewarding career so far.  Where do I start? Dr. Matsen and his family are truly wonderful and kind.  They made things infinitely easier for my wife (then pregnant) who delivered our first born while I was a fellow.  Dr. Matsen is truly a mentor and a role model.  It was humbling but in a good way to be around someone so talented, productive, intelligent, kind, and modest.  He encouraged me to question accepted "dogma."   I learned how to learn, which has helped me progressively improve my skills and it also helps keep life interesting.  Also, the fellowship/brotherhood/sisterhood of former fellows (before and after my year) is also a great asset, and we look forward to getting together.  If I was doing it all again, I would not change a thing with my year in Seattle, as it was definitely the correct choice for me.  I am certain that you would be fortunate to come to Seattle for a year for the best training in shoulder and elbow surgery.

Marius Scarlat, M.D.
1998-1999
Clin Chirugicale St. Michael
Toulon, France

"During my fellowship I had a great time and changed completely my vision about shoulder and elbow but also about medicine. I became more logical and found explanations for a vast majority of pathologies that I was treating before in a mechanicist vision. I learned anatomy with details related to function and my brain made order in the vast library of pre-existing data. After one year of work I was able to evaluate and decide for therapeutic options in different shoulder and elbow conditions based on many variables that I was ignoring or misunderstanding. The fellowship was long enough to allow seeing patients at follow-up controls after three, six, twelve or more weeks or months and gradually I understood the sacred link of determination between my actions and the results in the patients that I was following. I learned the vast majority of the techniques and procedures that I still use in shoulder reconstruction. I understood also that evaluation is key in evidence based medicine and indirectly I was able to read and to understand in a more pragmatic manner other’s pair work and publications. When I go for meetings worldwide and I see the presentations from different young surgeons using Lippit’s drawings or Matsen’s classifications or Harryman’s principles I realize that I was there and I am a part of the story! I was in different places and I saw that unconditionally in EVERY shoulder meeting in China, India, the Middle-East, in Eastern or Western Europe, in South-America or in the United States or Canada, the principles and writings of the Seattle Shoulder and Elbow School were mentioned as gold references over and over! Lippitt’s drawings and Matsen’s and Harryman’s schemes became of public use, a part of the folklore and a point of start for current reasoning and research! I saw books and papers that were replicating and multiplying the original text. What about the fellow’s work? When you have the opportunity to read the book “Shoulder Surgery – Principles and Procedures” published at Saunders, the list of the fellow’s and ACE’s acknowledged is speaking highly about each participant. Names of Arntz, Collins, Ziegler, Lippitt, Lazarus, Smith, Duckworth, Moskal, Romeo, Pearl, Franta, Rosencwaig, Goldberg, Hasan, Leith, Churchill, Fehringer, Weldon, Boorman, Parsons, Titleman and so many others are included as a part of this success story that could become yours, that is actually yours at the very moment when you open the door and you meet this phenomenal team of scientists!

Coming back home in Europe it was not easy for me. I had a few difficult years. Not obvious to leave Seattle and a place where working well was natural, where saying “No” was weird. But I prevailed. I had the faith that I learned! I kept doing surgeries and evaluating patients. This is what I know and this is what I am – a Shoulder and Elbow Specialist. I remembered well the teachings and tried to avoid unnecessary steps, choose wise and nice people to work with, keep track of all the patients seen in practice, evaluating results, taking pictures, keeping evidence, writing and communicating results. This is what I learned most from my teachers. "

Dean Zeigler, M.D.
1994-1995
Blount Orthopedic Clinic, Ltd.
Milwaukee, WI

"My year spent as an ACE on the University of Washington Shoulder and Elbow service was one of the most formative for me both professionally and personally.  As a new Orthopaedic surgeon and Father I had great potential for growth in both areas.

As an Orthopaedic surgeon and more importantly one specializing in Shoulder and Elbow Surgery I had the privilege and honor of being mentored by both Rick Matsen and Doug Harryman.  While many fellowships focus on as much surgery as possible, my education centered on the proper evaluation and management of the patient emphasizing Value over Volume 20 years before the AAOS stressed its importance.  Cost awareness was always important but not at the sacrifice of outcome.  In fact the measurement of Outcomes was emphasized and researched.  Research was another priority with a day a week dedicated to literature review and original study of the shoulder and elbow.  Nonetheless, I had an incredible surgical experience.  By the time I finished I felt comfortable with any surgical procedure involving the shoulder and elbow and was able to start practice as an expert in my Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

Along with my professional growth, Dr. Matsen was instrumental in my growth as a person and father.  I learned the importance of personal responsibility and that if you never look somewhere else to cast blame, everything will always be ""better than perfect"".  The partnership Rick and Ann Matsen have was very influential to me and my wife and the way they welcomed us and our new daughter to Seattle was wonderful.  Most important was seeing how Dr. Matsen was able to balance being an excellent clinician, researcher and leader of Shoulder and Elbow surgery while having his family still be his top priority.  

Despite being in Seattle for only a year, we have always felt it was like home and we are very proud and blessed to be part of the UW Shoulder Family.

Mark D. Lazarus, M.D.
1993-1994
Rothman Institute
Philadelphia, PA

There are so many fond memories and reflections from my year as a shoulder and elbow ACE at UW it is difficult to narrow my comments to a select few. Moreover, there are no words that adequately describe the feeling of that wonderful year. From the first moments, I never felt that I was a fellow, but instead I felt that I became a member of a very select family. It was a family of energetic, intelligent, talented people who were constantly pushing the field of shoulder surgery forward. As an incoming ACE, you knew that you were part of something incredibly special. Yet, it was always fun. I would come home at night and tell my wife that I felt like taking a salary from UW was stealing money as I enjoyed my days too much to be paid. That year shaped me and made me into the physician and surgeon that I am today.

A few specific memories:

Time spent in the operating room was absolutely priceless. My favorite memories of my clinical experience, however, involve preoperative conference Monday evenings and research day (then Wednesdays). Inevitably, while discussing an upcoming case or potential research project, Rick would go off on a tangent that would lead to lengthy discussions. The end result was always a new operative approach or research direction. The real value, however, was being present for the discussion.

We designed my first basic science project and I was ready for the first specimen. Having absolutely no idea what I was doing, it took hours for me to set up the cadaver shoulder before John Sidles and I could start collecting data. At midnight, we realized that we had stumbled onto some interesting findings and John said, “Rick needs to see this!” John called Rick at home and within a few minutes Rick, in shorts and a tee shirt, arrived in the lab. As we demonstrated how we were dislocating a cadaver shoulder, had to feel it for himself. He was so focused and interested that, without thinking, he took his gold pen out from his pocket and used it on the cadaver as an instrument to apply a dislocating force. Once he was satisfied that he understood the dislocating force, still thinking and distracted he put the gold pen back into his short’s pocket and returned home.

As a resident, I completed a clinical project about impingement syndrome and acromioplasty. By the time I arrived in Seattle, it quickly became clear that Rick believed in neither. Mid-way through my fellowship year, my article was published. My intention was to keep this as quiet as possible and hope that no one saw it. The very next day, Rick was in the clinic with a copy of my article, waving it around for everyone to see and telling anyone who would listen about how great a study I had done.

When it came to expanding shoulder knowledge, Rick would be willing to do any study that seemed reasonable. The research fellow my year (Shing Wai Yung from Singapore) and I came up with the idea of investigating glenoid morphology by putting a condom full of small beads over the end of a Fukuda retractor, placing the retractor between the humeral head and glenoid, and then attaching a plunger to the end to pull the air out of the condom, creating an impression of the joint that could be studied later by laser scan. We perfected it in some cadaver shoulders and described the process to Rick. He immediately wanted to try it in a living shoulder. The next OR day, we put our device into the shoulder, pulled out the air, and the condom broke, showering the joint with unsterilized beads which we spent the next 15 minutes washing out of the shoulder.

One of my responsibilities for my first six months of fellowship was covering Doug Harryman’s clinic while he was out. On my first day, Rick asked me if I would be alright with this arrangement and I confidently reminded him that I was trained by Joe Iannotti and Jerry Williams and I would be fine. With a slight grin, Rick told me that if I had any questions, he would be in the adjacent hallway. I entered the room of my very first patient (I still remember her name, initials CB) , introduced myself, asked her about her problem. She proceeded to let go of her elbow and demonstrate the worst case of inferior instability that I had ever and have ever seen. All I could say was, “excuse me” as I went looking for Rick for advice.

When I arrived in Seattle, the team was completing the GREAT book “Practical Evaluation and Management of the Shoulder.” Rick asked me to contribute to the book by helping with the editing. He asked me to arrange Sunday morning editing meetings at his house for Rick, Doug, John, and myself. He told me that I could arrange the time, but gave me the options of 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM. Without asking Doug or John, I unilaterally chose 4:00 AM. We would arrive at Rick’s to find a large pot of the strongest coffee imaginable (usually the pot was already half empty). Rick usually completed much of the work necessary prior to our arrival. We would work until 9:00 AM. Afterwards, Rick would take his family out for some activity while the three of us would return to our homes and go back to sleep.

My wife, one-year old son, and I arrived in Seattle knowing no one. I had met Rick only once before, at my interview. Rick and Anne invited my family out to dinner. At that time, my son had a vocabulary that consisted of two words, “mama” and “dada.” As we arrived at Ivar’s, this man that I had only met once quickly took my son out of my arms and disappeared. My wife looked like she was about to call the police to arrest Rick for kidnapping. Fifteen minutes later, Rick and my son returned and my son immediately began pointing and saying “boat” and “water” and “bridge,” classic Seattle first words.

At the end of my fellowship, we had a “graduation” picnic at Doug Harryman’s house. He had a large circular driveway. Despite my 8 year old Ford Explorer being blocked in by a car in front of and behind, being from Philadelphia, I still locked the steering wheel with “The Club.” When John Sidles saw that, he laughed so hard that he invited the entire shoulder service out to the driveway to take pictures of my car.

Tony Romeo, M.D.
1992-1993
Rush University Medical Center
Chicago, IL

Accepting the invitation for the Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship at the University of Washington under the leadership of Frederick A. Matsen, III was the most important decision that I made to ensure the foundation for my career.  I was exposed to an incredible variety of shoulder and elbow conditions, experienced a high volume of complex surgical cases, participated in translational research that impacted patient care, and was taught the principles of basic science that reveal the wonder and challenges of shoulder and elbow pathology.  Even though we were just starting to incorporate arthroscopic techniques into the surgical algorithm of care, the foundation for my practice today which is 75% arthroscopic surgery, can be easily traced back to my fellowship education.  The unique and insightful understanding of shoulder and elbow conditions has had a major impact on my clinical, surgical, and leadership abilities, including my selection to the presidential line of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons.

Michael Pearl, M.D.
1991-1992
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA

There are many places you can go to watch surgery and learn how to do procedures.  What I learned from my shoulder and elbow fellowship was not only expert technique, but the extent our operations restore normal functioning and where the limits of our understanding and surgical options represent remaining challenges.  Understanding the biology and mechanics is the only way to the next generation of operations.  My experience in Seattle gave me the perspective to critically evaluate new ideas from others and allow me to find solutions of my own.  It was also a privilege to be in such an intellectually stimulating environment surrounded by great people in a magnificent city.

Steve B. Lippitt, M.D.
1990-1992
Akron General Medical Center
Akron, OH

I can truthfully say that Dr. Matsen's Fellowship experience was so outstanding that I begged to stay an additional year. Even before we arrived, Rick and Anne Matsen adopted my wife and new born son, Corey, helping us select and move into our apartment. Throughout the 2 years, Rick provided a wonderful balance of the excellent patient care and research duties with the importance of family, which Rick and Anne modeled so well. They often provided weekend activity ideas to enjoy the great northwest, which provided Joellen and I very special memories. I also recall the mentoring gained with the late Dr. Doug Harryman. He and his young family shared very much in making us feel at home during our time there.

This fellowship provided a remarkable clinical and surgical experience with a brilliant coordination with the residents' rotation. Under Dr. Matsen's chairmanship, I never felt accused of distracting or stealing from the residents' hands-on education, which can be aproblem in some fellowships. I quickly gained experience in the balance of teaching residents while advancing in my fellow duties, which helped mold my desire to teach residents as a career (which I have enjoyed for 24 years thus far).

Read Dr. Lippitt's full Alumni Reflection here.

Craig Arntz, M.D.
1988-1989
Valley Orthopaedic Associates
Renton, WA

My time spent with Dr. Matsen as a University of Washington shoulder and elbow fellow was the singular most valuable and important educational experience of my professional life. What I learned under Dr. Matsen's guidance extended beyond shoulder surgery. He mentored and modeled a love of learning, of quiet kindness, perseverance, creative problem solving, and exemplary patient care…all while keeping perspective of what really matters--friends and family.