DEGREES/TRAINING: B.S. in biochemistry; M.D., University of Missouri; orthopedics residency, SUNY at Buffalo; orthopedic sports medicine fellowship, University of Arizona/Mayo Clinic; pediatric orthopedics fellowship, Northern California Shriners Hospital/UC Davis
JOB TITLE: Pediatric orthopedic sports medicine surgeon, Elite Sports Medicine at Connecticut Children’s
FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: Way too many to count. Trinity helped send me to Ireland to play rugby with the men’s team and to coach the women’s team over the week covering St. Patrick’s Day two years in a row. Semester abroad in St. Andrews, Scotland. Senior week. Every Spring Weekend. Senior brunch (results of which are in the back leaf of the 2004 yearbook).
What led you to a career in medicine? Senior year in high school, I went on a medical mission to the mountains of central Honduras, working in a nutrition center. We spent two months nursing malnourished babies back to health. After that, I arrived at Trinity hoping to put myself in a position to help kids as much as I had in Honduras.
Why did you choose your specialty? Going back to my time at Trinity, I had an interest in sports medicine. When a player got hurt on the rugby pitch, I was the person the team turned to for advice or care. I continued to play and coach rugby even during medical school and residency, so sports medicine was always a focus. As for pediatrics, I had always wanted to get back to working with kids after my time in Honduras.
What do you enjoy most about your work? I love working with kids and getting them back to their sport or activity.
What are your biggest challenges? The biggest challenges are finding the motivation for some kids to rehabilitate while restraining others from trying to do too much too soon. Unlike other aspects of pediatrics, parents buy into our treatment regimens, since they recognize that their previously healthy child is broken and we can fix them.
Why have you decided to return to the Hartford area? When I was at Trinity, I had my shoulder operated on by the surgeon who started the pediatric sports program at Connecticut Children’s. When the position became available at Elite Sports Medicine at Connecticut Children’s, they actively sought out a dual fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, so I was lucky enough to be hired to follow in the footsteps of the surgeon who operated on me.
How did your time at Trinity prepare you for your career? My time at Trinity instilled a drive for research and publication, balanced with time spent outdoors playing and coaching sports. Ever since, I have wanted to get back to a life where I can have academic and research time but also have part of my job outdoors taking care of teams and athletes.
Did you have a professor who was particularly influential? Who was it, and why? Dr. David Henderson. I took his “General Chemistry” course freshman year and then worked in his lab for four years putting together research on the antioxidants in Mexican oregano. My time in that lab was the start of a drive to perform research and get published that continues to this day.
What was the most memorable course you took at Trinity? “Spanish Colonial Art and Architecture” with Dr. Kristin Triff sophomore year. It opened my eyes to art history and architecture, classes I then focused on outside of the premed and biochemistry requisites. The classes I took have driven my travels to Europe, Asia, and Central/South America since. It also was the class I was sitting in when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11.
How did Trinity’s Interdisciplinary Science Program help you on your path? I was part of the ISP program my first year. It was my introduction to all the different types of research available in college. While I worked for four years with Dr. Henderson, other options included measuring the flow rate, temperature, and clarity of Connecticut streams and investigating the bioluminescent bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico. ISP opened my eyes to all the different options available with a career in the sciences.
What advice would you give to current Trinity students who are considering a career in medicine? Take your time. Make sure you want to be a doctor/physician assistant/nurse/etc. before you start school. Also, feel free to take a year or more between undergraduate and postgraduate training. This lends perspective, as you are at least nominally away from a life focused on grades and classes and instead have the same concerns as your future patients.