When is a young athlete with a broken ankle ready to safely return to a sport? What therapies might be necessary for a patient with burn injuries? How do doctors gain the training and experience they need to practice specialty pediatric care?
In addition to providing hope and healing for patients, Shriners Children’s is dedicated to offering high-quality educational opportunities for medical professionals. By maintaining relationships with several medical teaching facilities, the health care system can share answers to these questions and many more.
Shriners Children’s offers opportunities for medical professionals to continue their education, enhance their knowledge, hone their skills and enrich their careers through lectures, seminars, workshops and podcasts. Physicians from many of our locations often speak at conferences, attend grand rounds and participate in staff in-services. In addition, our health care system offers a variety of fellowship opportunities.
Education in the community
Some Shriners Children’s facilities have local partnerships and educational programs. For example, Shriners Children’s Spokane provides its surrounding community with a comprehensive sports health and medicine program consisting of physicians, physical therapists and athletic trainers. As part of the program, the hospital has contracted with Mount Spokane High School to provide the services of an athletic trainer.
In addition to athletic training services, the Shriners Children’s Spokane medical staff assists with student education for the school’s Sports Medicine curriculum, works with school staff involved with athletics to enhance their knowledge of prevention and care of athletic injuries, offers students job-shadowing opportunities and mentors the Sports Medicine Club. The hospital also provides sports medicine educational materials to coaches, parents and student-athletes.
Partnerships and collaborations
Through special collaborations, we share our expertise with the next generation of medical professionals. For example, residents and fellows from more than 10 leading academic medical centers in the Chicago area receive training at Shriners Children’s Chicago.
Shriners Children’s Chicago orthopedic spine surgeon Michal Szczodry, M.D., who specializes in scoliosis and spinal deformities, was a resident at Shriners Children’s Chicago in 2003. “Training at Shriners Children’s was the factor that convinced me to work here,” Dr. Szczodry said. “Shriners Children’s approach cemented my internal belief that you always should do what’s right when it comes to patient care.”
Shriners Children’s Portland spine surgeon Michelle Welborn, M.D., did a general orthopedic residency at Shriners Children’s Chicago as well, as part of her award-winning residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Welborn also trained in spine care at Shriners Children’s Northern California.
At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada, an affiliation with McGill University, a public research university in Montreal, Quebec, allows the hospital to deliver on its mission to educate and train the next generation of orthopedic specialists.
All orthopedic residents in the McGill orthopedic program rotate through the Shriners Children’s hospital for pediatric orthopedic teaching, spending six to nine months of their residency there. The Pediatric Simulation Center at the hospital serves as a critical educational tool in residents’ curriculum. The affiliation with McGill University also allows researchers, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to be trained at the hospital.
Knowledge-sharing and virtual learning
The Abraham Thall & Sadye Stone Thall Educational Symposium, held annually since 2016, is one example of knowledge-sharing by Shriners Children’s Boston. The program is an important platform for highlighting all aspects of pediatric burn care, from treatment to recovery.
The symposium held last fall, which featured a panel of Shriners Children’s Boston clinicians, focused on outpatient burn care and meeting the variety of needs of young patients with burn injuries. Regardless of burn size and severity, many children require care beyond acute burn treatment, including physical and occupational therapy or reconstructive surgery. The panel spoke about the multidisciplinary needs of young burn patients and how they can help patients recover more quickly, improve long-term functionality and reduce scarring.
Other Shriners Children’s locations offer virtual learning as well. The Chicago Shriners Hospital began a Virtual Grand Rounds series during the pandemic. The online seminars, which provide medical education credits to attendees, allowed physicians to reach more than 750 providers in 2020- 2021. The hospital also has a podcast series with more than 40 episodes.
Sharing research to improve treatments
To help improve the care and quality of life of injured young athletes and reduce re-injury rates, Shriners Children’s has a group called SCORES, or Shriners Consortium for Outcomes, Research and Education in Sports.
SCORES capitalizes on the knowledge and expertise of our large group of pediatric orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists. It also taps into the data and expertise that is gathered at our motion analysis centers.
Nearly 40 pediatric orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and research coordinators from 13 Shriners Children’s locations attended a SCORES national meeting at the Chicago hospital last fall, led by Corinna Franklin, M.D., director of sports medicine at Shriners Children’s Philadelphia. The two-day meeting included hands-on demonstrations in the motion analysis center and important planning to help standardize future research.
“The goal of the consortium is to unify all the Shriners sports medicine programs for the best possible research and clinical care,” said Dr. Franklin. Currently in the building stages, SCORES is “implementing procedures for patient-reported outcomes and creating a standardized intake form across the system. We are also standardizing comprehensive return to sports testing (in our motion labs) and creating a data registry,” she added.
Kelsey Davidson, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, and Karen Kruger, Ph.D., director of the Chicago hospital’s motion analysis center, hosted the meetings at the Chicago hospital.
Physicians and clinicians are already using the data from SCORES to perform multiple prospective and retrospective research studies. “We had such a productive meeting talking motion analysis, multi-center studies and more within the Shriners Sports Medicine program,” said Kruger, who is also a biomedical engineer.
Through our mission to educate, we reach our ultimate goal: empowering more people to help more kids around the world.
From Student to Teacher
Growing up, Vincent Prusick, M.D., admired his father. Dr. Prusick saw how his dad, who was an orthopedic surgeon, was changing people’s lives. “I thought that it was a really meaningful profession. I was always drawn to that and never really considered doing anything else,” he said.
And so, the younger Dr. Prusick followed in his father’s footsteps. Today, he is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who transforms the lives of children who seek treatment at Shriners Children’s Lexington. He also takes an active role in educating the next generation of pediatric orthopedic surgeons.
Dr. Prusick completed a residency at Shriners Children’s Lexington through the medical center’s academic partner, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and UK Healthcare. Each of the physicians at the Lexington medical center are also physicians at UK Healthcare, and many of them are professors of pediatric orthopedics at the college. The partnership allows residents to rotate through the Shriners Lexington facility three times for 10 weeks at a time. Dr. Prusick rotated from 2012 to 2017, and then became a staff physician at the medical center in 2018. He has special interests in spinal deformities and trauma.
Dr. Prusick knows firsthand how medical training opportunities can change the trajectory of one’s career. He works to provide those opportunities to other young physicians. “Because we see such a wide variety of orthopedic conditions and a large volume of patients, there are a lot of opportunities to get hands-on experience,” he said. “The ability to work in the Shriners system is unique. Our staff puts a huge emphasis on education.
“It’s gratifying and rewarding for me to be able to give back to the system that gave me so much and to contribute to that continuous educational process that we’re all going through as physicians.”