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Welcome from the Director

Program Director, Susan M. McDowell, M.D.

Susan M. McDowell, M.D.
Program Director

The Orthopaedic Residency Program at the University of Rochester is dedicated to educating its residents to achieve a broad understanding of all aspects of the musculoskeletal system. The residents are exposed to every subspecialty area of orthopaedics including the opportunity to participate in the care of complex musculoskeletal trauma cases, as well as participating in orthopaedic care in a community hospital. Clinical material is vast with over 190,000 outpatient visits occurring within the department and more than 12,000 surgical procedures annually.

The curriculum is broad, encompassing all of the 12 subspecialties with required reading as well as suggested reading. At the same time, the residents can opt to participate in research projects which often help them prepare their senior theses.

During their residency program each resident develops diagnostic and operating skills in all of orthopaedics including pediatric orthopaedics, fractures and dislocations, polytrauma, surgery of the spine including disc surgery, hand, shoulder and elbow, foot surgery, athletic injuries, musculoskeletal oncology, and rehabilitation, geriatric fractures and joint reconstruction. The faculty members are committed to the education of the resident and work side-by-side in the offices, clinics and operating room.


All residents prepare a formal thesis based upon clinical, translational, or basic science research as one of the requirements to complete their residency. A faculty member serves as an advisor to each resident on their project. The residents have time during their third and fourth years of residency devoted to research. The theses are presented and defended at the R. Plato Schwartz Lectureship held in late May or early June every year.

The faculty is committed to providing an intensive, encompassing exposure to disorders and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Each brings a special talent to the residency program and takes great pride in the accomplishments of the residents.  Thus, residents have ample opportunity to gain exposure to all of the subspecialties before deciding in which area they may choose to specialize.

Residents receive departmental support to present their research at major national meetings.  Additionally, the residency provides skills in leadership and teaching.  The resident graduates of the University of Rochester Department of Orthopaedics have subsequently achieved national and international recognition for their research, leadership, and educational achievements.


Since inception, the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation has been responsible for orthopaedic education for 14 Chairs throughout academic health centers in this country and Puerto Rico and has educated 5 heads of divisions of Sports Medicine.  Six current Orthopaedic Chairs outside of Rochester trained at the University of Rochester Orthopaedics Residency Program.  Our graduates have been president of every major Orthopaedic association in the United States including the American Orthopaedic Association, The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Association of Orthopaedic Chairs, the Hip Society, the Society for Surgery of the Hand, the Orthopaedic Research Society, the Scoliosis Research Society, the International Society of the Knee.