simulation using scope on patient with many student viewers
Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Curriculum

The U-M Medical School Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program offers many curriculum and professional development opportunities for residents. Curriculum focuses on intern skill development, leadership development, wellness, journal club, and academic and professional conferences.

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Intern Skills

We have a one-month skills curriculum course where the interns are assigned readings, supervised skills instructions, and related activities. Residents do not have an assigned clinical rotation during this time, although they may take a limited amount of calls. Clinical faculty participate in either a half-day or a full day of instruction sessions primarily based on the ABOS-inspired curriculum modules. Residents have found this time helpful not only in skills development but as an opportunity to get to know the faculty on a personal basis, to team build with other colleagues from the same PGY year, and to get to know some of the upper-level residents.


We are strongly invested in helping our resident trainees become expert, ethical, caring leaders who can work well as part of their healthcare teams when they go on to their practices in their careers. We are proud to construct the UM Orthopaedic Resident Leadership Curriculum funded by Orthopaedic Surgery Alumni. We invite speakers with unique perspectives on leadership in the community, including local and state government, volunteerism, business, banking, military command, local boards, and more.

Leading this curriculum is Dr. Rock Patel, an MBA graduate of the Ross School of Business here at the University of Michigan. In conjunction with faculty from the Ross School of Business, Dr. Patel has developed an annual curriculum with bimonthly meetings to develop leadership skills, work in teams, and conflict resolution. This curriculum will consist of interactive lectures from business school faculty and invited speakers who are exemplary leaders in the healthcare space and beyond. We aim to provide each student with actionable skills that can be used immediately in their professional lives.

profile-patel-rakesh-2019 Rakesh Patel, MD, MBA, FAOA
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Medical Director


Establishing a culture of mental, physical, social, and emotional well-being for our residents is paramount to the department. We aim to create a safe and supportive learning space that promotes residents’ continued growth and development across all facets of orthopaedics.

We have several ongoing efforts dedicated to resident well-being, supported by generous departmental resources. Specifically, there are monthly social events for residents to connect, discuss their shared experiences and decompress. These events and other get-togethers will be intermittently coupled with faculty initiatives to promote social connection across the department and between faculty and residents. We are also developing a well-being newsletter, which includes efforts to connect residents to the broader department and highlight their accomplishments. Finally, the Michigan Medicine Wellness Office has a strong history of developing valuable resources for all UM house officers (peer and stress support groups, confidential counseling and mental health resources, resilience training, etc.), and efforts are being made within the department to destigmatize these resources and encourage resident use.

As part of these efforts, a resident well-being committee with broad representation from within the program exists. Residents on the committee help to advocate for their peers and identify new opportunities for investment in resident well-being. Residents will also have representation on the more comprehensive department-level committee to ensure the commitment to resident well-being remains at the center of our mission.

Alex Gornitzky Alex Gornitzky, MD
Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery

The University of Michigan residency program maintains a curriculum for teaching residents the basics of orthopaedics in all sub-specialty areas. The content is directed by the residency program director and Program Evaluation Committee, consisting of resident and faculty members. The curriculum lectures are generally held every other Friday from 3pm to 6pm. These lectures are “protected time.” Residents are required to attend these lectures and are exempt from clinical duties during these lectures unless they are on vacation or have another legitimate excuse. It is expected that residents will attend more significant than 80% of these lectures over the course of the year. Prompt attendance is mandatory.

Teaching conferences include:

  • Bi-weekly subspecialty conferences – Each subspecialty follows a 2-year curriculum. Throughout the year, special topics include medicolegal issues, ethics and professionalism, orthotics and prosthetics, geriatric care, and billing. These lectures are presented by the Orthopaedic faculty and visiting professors.
  • Grand Rounds - Departmental grand rounds are held each Thursday from 6:30–7:20 am. These conferences include a rotating schedule of resident case presentations, visiting lecturers, faculty presentations, and a monthly morbidity/mortality conference.
  • Anatomy Week – Anatomy Week is held during the second week of the rotations, which include cadaver labs to help understand anatomy and the different surgical approaches.
  • Indications conference – Review all orthopaedic trauma cases held each weekday at 6:30 am except on Thursday, which is held at 7:15 am.
  • Several specialty conferences with visiting professors are hosted by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Michigan each year. These specialty days include Dean Louis Day (hand), Foot and Ankle Day, Badgley Day (sports medicine), Pathology Day (orthopaedic oncology), Fischer Day (pediatric orthopedics), and Larry S. Matthews Day (joint reconstruction).

Weekly lectures for residents on each service, led by faculty on that service

Journal Club

The journal club is held every month and is designed to improve the resident’s ability to review and apply current literature to their practice critically. Residents evaluate new articles from JBJS and classic articles, followed by staff commentary.