AS A PROFESSOR OF THE DEPT OF BIOMEDICAL
ENGINEERING AT THE ST LOUIS PARKS COLLEGE OF
ENGINEERING AND AVIATION, COULD YOU OUTLINE
YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THIS CONVERGENCE OF
DISCIPLINES AND THE POTENTIAL IT OFFERS FOR FUTURE
My direct involvement with the Department of Biomedical
Engineering stems from two areas: my own desire to investigate the
biomechanics of fracture fixation and the needs of my department to
establish a credible research programme for the faculty and trainees.
There is a great overlap in interest between Orthopaedic Surgery
and Biomedical Engineering. Along with Professor J. Gary Bledsoe,
PhD we have been able to accomplish quite a bit, both small and
potentially large. A number of patents have been generated and
we currently have a combined project that is in its `start-up' phase,
generating interest from the business sector. I believe that being able
to partner with others who have similar interests to generate new
ideas and information is one of the great advantages of being at a
GIVEN THE EXTENT OF YOUR WORK ON
ORTHOPAEDIC TRAUMA, COULD YOU SHARE YOUR
INSIGHTS INTO THE KEY DIRECTIONS YOU FORESEE THE
SPECIALTY TAKING IN THE NEXT FIVE TO 10 YEARS?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
unintentional injury kills more people between the ages of one
and 44 in the US than any other disease or illness. More years of
potential life are lost due to injury than to heart disease or cancer.
Among people 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of injury
deaths and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital
admissions for trauma, adding significantly to Medicare costs.
Despite the recognition that advances in trauma care and trauma care
systems can significantly improve survival and function, improving
public health and decreasing the associated costs, trauma research
is still inadequately funded. So, there is much work to be done.
With the aging of the `baby boomer' population in the US, there is
great interest in geriatric orthopaedic care overall and specifically
in the treatment of fragility fractures. This interest will continue
to expand and, I believe, will result in more resources being made
available, including the establishment of geriatric orthopaedic trauma
centers of excellence providing integrated medical, orthopaedic and
Due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are seeing large numbers
of young adults with severe orthopaedic injuries and their sequelae.
I believe that the sheer volume and severity of these injuries outstrip
the current ability of the Veterans Administration Hospitals to
provide cutting-edge, or even adequate, care. It is my hope and belief
that in the future we will be able to focus more on these patients,
providing improved treatment options and facilities.
COULD YOU OUTLINE HOW YOUR INTEREST IN
INTRA ARTICULAR FRACTURES BECAME A CATALYST
FOR BASIC RESEARCH IN CELL BIOLOGY AND
CARTILAGE REGENERATION, AND WHAT THE POTENTIAL
SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT RESEARCH MAY BE?
Unfortunately, not all of my acetabular fracture patients ended up
with a perfect result! If you look at the long-term results, even those
with a perfect fracture reduction end up developing arthritic changes
over time. And these are fairly young patients. This stimulated my
interest in pursuing research in biologic joint resurfacing.
We recruited a PhD with a specific interest in this area in the hopes
of collaborating in some meaningful research. This type of research
has its ups and downs. Our efforts produced some solid basic science
information. However, our particular approach did not prove as
successful as we had hoped in the translational sense. At this point,
we are redirecting our efforts to the areas of bone remodelling and
WITH SUCH A RANGE OF ROLES AND
RESPONSIBILITIES, WHEN DO YOU GET TIME TO UNWIND
AND WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO RELAX?
The question of when I get time to relax would have been much
more difficult to answer a little while ago. Recently, I have decreased
my work hours and clinical activities. I guess that's one of the benefits
of getting old. So, now I actually have some time for non-business
related travel and to go to sporting events like St Louis Cardinals
baseball games. Besides traveling with my wife, Jill, and attending
sporting events, I enjoy reading detective novels.
COMMISERATIONS ON THE CARDINALS' LOSS IN THE
WORLD SERIES TO THE RED SOX. ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC
FOR WHAT THE 2014 BASEBALL SEASON MIGHT BRING?
I was a little depressed about losing the World Series, especially
because it was to the Boston Red Sox. I am more of a baseball fan
than a dyed-in-the wool fan of a particular team. I played a lot of
baseball in my youth in New York and rooted for the Brooklyn
Dodgers until they moved to Los Angeles.
When we moved to St Louis in 2003, I adopted the Cardinals, and
they are a great team and franchise. Looking ahead, the next time I
am in Dublin, I hope to bring a souvenir from a World Series win!
COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR REACTION TO
RECEIVING THE HONORARY FELLOWSHIP OF RCSI?
First of all, I felt it was a tremendous honor just to be notified that
I had been recommended by my good friend and colleague, Professor
John McElwain. When I arrived in Dublin on November 7 and had
my initial meeting with RCSI President, Professor Broe, I must admit
that I was nervous. But all the RCSI staff and Professor Broe were so
wonderful and welcoming, they immediately made me and my wife
feel at home. The actual event the next day was overwhelming. I really
do not know how else to describe it.
FINALLY, WAS THIS YOUR FIRST TRIP TO IRELAND?
Although this was not my first trip to Ireland, it was certainly
my most memorable. Not only was I able to participate in the Millin
Symposium, I was also able to stay and participate as Faculty in the
14th Current Controversies In Orthopaedic Trauma course run by
Professor McElwain. In between, my wife and I were able to tour
Dublin and the surrounding area and go to a rugby game with
Professor McElwain. Our travels through the country were great, but
the people were the best. Overall, it was just a wonderful experience
and we even had good weather! We can't wait to come back.