Hand and Microsurgery Fellowship Program
About Our Fellowship
The mission of our fellowship is to train the next generation of leaders in hand surgery. We provide a comprehensive program that will graduate thoughtful and technically-excellent surgeons, with training that will serve our alumni in all practice environments. Our faculty have a notable track record of mentoring and sponsoring our alumni for future opportunities in leadership and research.
Our fellowship is ACGME-accredited with 3 fellows in each class. We welcome applications from trainees who are completing training in plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery and general surgery. The fellowship begins on August 1 and ends on July 31 of each academic year. All fellowship spots are filled through the National Resident Match Programs and all applications must be filed through the ASSH Fellowship System.
What Makes Us Special
Our fellowship has a breadth and depth of clinical experience that is unparalleled. In addition to a robust volume of common hand surgeries, our faculty are internationally recognized for expertise in all subspecialty areas: congenital limb differences, sports/arthroscopy, wrist and small joint arthroplasty, upper and lower extremity wound coverage, and peripheral nerve/brachial plexus reconstruction (including nerve transfers, nerve grafting, tendon transfers, and free functioning muscle transfers). This clinical expertise is complemented by a collective passion for education and research, evidenced by an extensive history of prior and ongoing national leadership positions, traveling fellowships (including multiple recipients of the ASSH Sterling Bunnell Fellowship), and grant funding (including NIH, Department of Defense, AFSH, and OREF).
Our Approach to Fellow Education
Mentorship rotations are the foundation of the fellowship. Fellows are paired 1:1 with faculty members for outpatient clinics and elective surgeries, with 3 month blocks with Drs. Boyer, Calfee, and Goldfarb and 1 month blocks with Drs. Brogan, Dy, and Wall. During these rotations, fellows learn the “in’s and out’s” of each faculty member’s approach to diagnosis and treatment, including a diverse array of treatment philosophies and surgical tactics. These rotations are supplemented by faculty supervision (both direct and indirect) of hand trauma cases, with increasing autonomy granted over the course of the year. Fellows also supervise their own outpatient clinic (3-4 times per month), from which they can schedule elective outpatient surgery as the primary surgeon. This clinic provides valuable opportunities for continuity of care and collaboration within each class of fellows. Over the past 5 years, fellows have completed an average of 1100 cases during the year, placing them in the 75th percentile of all ACGME-accredited hand fellowships. The areas of highest case volume have been hand and wrist fractures/dislocations, nerve injury, flaps and microsurgery, and congenital hand. Our graduates are provided a skill set in these particular areas that will allow their practices to evolve alongside the field of hand surgery.
Faculty and trainees gather weekly for a hand service conference, with a rotating schedule of faculty-delivered didactic lectures, anatomy dissections, journal clubs, and case discussions. These conferences are supplemented by regular conferences to discuss topics in adult hand surgery with Dr. Boyer and congenital hand surgery with Drs. Goldfarb and Wall. Additionally, the fellows have the opportunity to arrange independent meetings with faculty to review topic-specific readings based on the Selected Readings list. Cadaveric dissection space is available within the department office suite.
Our faculty have expertise in clinical, laboratory, and health services research. Each fellow is asked to complete one research project during the fellowship year, with the opportunity to contribute to the roster of ongoing service-wide collaborations or to develop a project under the mentorship of an individual faculty member. These projects are discussed during the monthly hand service research meeting. Previous fellowship projects have included cadaveric anatomic studies, biomechanical testing, clinical case series and cohort studies, administrative data research, and qualitative investigations.
Fellows are given an opportunity to attend an in-depth microsurgery training course at the Ganga Microsurgical Training Institute in Coimbatore, India. These skills can be further refined at our on-campus microsurgery training lab. Our faculty have also connected interested trainees with additional opportunities for international ‘mini fellowships’ at leading centers globally.
Preparing Our Fellows for Their Careers
Beyond the technical excellence and clinical expertise that our fellows will possess upon graduation, we prepare our fellows for their careers by discussing additional topics throughout the year, such as: finding and evaluating practice opportunities, clinical practice efficiency, coding and reimbursement, specialty society involvement, and establishing a research program (clinical or laboratory).
Our fellows have established practices in all regions of the United States, spanning all forms of practice (academic, private practice, hospital-employed, and hybrid models). Our faculty take pride in sponsoring our alumni for leadership opportunities. For example, from 2014-2020, there have been 6 fellowship alumni who have been selected for the ASSH Young Leaders Program and 3 fellowship alumni selected for the ASSH Richard H. Gelberman Scholarship.
Compensation and benefits
Compensation: Stipend levels are determined by the Barnes-Jewish Hospital / Washington University Graduate Medical Education (GME) Consortium on an annual basis. The stipend level for a PGY-6 trainee is approximately $72,405 (plus benefits) for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Appointment: As of February 1, 1999, all newly-named clinical fellows receive a memo of appointment and letter of agreement which is signed by the fellow and returned to the GME office. This letter serves as both an official offer letter by the university and the department, and as an official acceptance of the terms of employment as outlined in the Washington University School of Medicine memo of appointment.
Benefits: Per the GME consortium, all clinical fellows throughout Washington University receive a standardized benefits package. For benefits questions, contact Lanelle Coleman in the Washington University human resources office at 314-362-4927.