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Carolinas Medical Center, part of Atrium Health, is a national leader in specialized care for a broad range of medical conditions and is the Level I trauma center serving the region. CMC is the largest research hospital in the region and one of five teaching hospitals in North Carolina. CMC has outstanding facilities for basic science research. With a full time staff, the research aspect of the CMC orthopaedic surgery training program mirrors the clinical. There is virtually unlimited opportunity for those residents who are so inclined.

At a minimum, each orthopaedic resident is expected to complete two research projects during his or her tenure. These projects will be presented at the end of the PGY-3 and PGY-5 years at the annual Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Spring Visiting Professorship. In reality, many CMC residents are more prolific. The list of faculty publications and presentations is available in the department annual report.

Research Fellowship

Each academic year, one resident is selected for the Research Fellowship, allowing them to spend 12 months pursuing orthopaedic research. The content of the year for the Fellow is determined primarily by the interests of the individual resident but generally is spent doing basic science, biomechanical, and clinical studies. Many projects are handed down year to year from the preceding fellow. The research fellowship takes place following the 12-months orthopaedic internship. Following the research year, residency will resume at the PGY-2 level. Residents interested in a significant academic career or in becoming a leader in the field of orthopaedic surgery are encouraged to apply for the optional research year of the fellowship.

Musculoskeletal Institute and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

The Musculoskeletal Institute (MSKI) was founded in 2018 with the vision of enhancing education, accelerating research, and improving care by breaking down silos that surround traditional departments. MSKI is a nontraditional alignment of three organizations – Atrium Health and two large private practices, OrthoCarolina and Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates (CNSA). Combined, MSKI has over 200 physicians, robust training programs that include two residency programs (Orthopaedic Surgery, Neurosurgery) and multiple fellowship programs (e.g., Orthopaedic Trauma, Spine, Sports Medicine, Foot and Ankle, Adult Reconstruction).

Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute doctors maintain specific areas of specialization within the management of musculoskeletal care, including trauma, joint replacement, fractures, spine, neurosurgery, arthritis, osteoporosis, acute and chronic joint disease, and injuries of the hand, wrist, and elbow. Physicians and staff are actively involved in research and provide advanced care for all aspects of musculoskeletal injuries.

MSKI Research and Quality Division

Drs. Seymour and Hsu are the Vice Chairs of Research and Quality, respectively, and lead a division of 40 staff, including clinical and translational (biology, engineering) research teams, a biostatistics and methods core, and a team of Registry and data quality teammates.

Musculoskeletal Biology Research Laboratory

Led by Bailey Fearing, PhD, this lab offers residents opportunities to participate in clinically relevant basic science research. Specific areas of study include intervertebral disc degeneration, infection, fracture healing, and bone physiology.

The laboratory houses equipment for cell and organ culture, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry and materials synthesis, histology, and microscopy.

Orthopedic Engineering and Biomechanics Research Laboratory

MSKI also includes dedicated Orthopaedic Engineering and Biomechanics Research Laboratories, both of which support the efforts of MSKI investigators and trainees. The engineering laboratory is equipped with a wide array of sensors and software used for pressure mapping, stress and strain analysis, and 3-dimensional tracking via electromagnetic sensors.

Biostatistics and Methods Core

Finally, MSKI has a dedicated Biostatistics and Methods Core to support faculty and trainee projects. The Biostatistics and Methods Core of the Musculoskeletal Institute is led by Susan Odum, PhD. She manages a team of three masters-trained statisticians with expertise in data management and statistical analysis. The team has access to SAS 9.4 software (SAS Institute, Inc. Cary, NC) to conduct analyses.