March 24, 2021

Meet Brian Kelly, MD 

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Orthopedics

Dr. Kelly specializes in pediatric and adolescent disorders of the spine (like scoliosis, kyphosis and spondylolisthesis), as well as general pediatric orthopaedic surgery, including conditions of the pediatric hip, lower extremity and foot.

Dr. Kelly's research interests include treatment, complications and outcomes related to pediatric spinal deformity, as well as treatment and outcomes of pediatric trauma.

Where are you from? 

Shaker Heights, OH, an inner-ring suburb of Cleveland. 

What made you choose orthopedics as a specialty? 

Probably more than anything, my choice to go into orthopaedics was driven by the mentors I have encountered. I worked as a surgical tech prior to medical school, and while I didn't specifically seek it out, a majority of my time was spent in orthopaedics. The surgeons I worked with formed my impressions of the specialty, and they helped me immensely as I studied for the MCATs and applied. Those impressions stuck with me, and kept bringing me back to ortho. To a significant degree, the same can be said of my choice to pursue pediatric orthopaedics.

What brought you to Washington University Orthopedics? 

Good luck, I suppose! St. Louis wasn't at all on the radar, despite my Midwestern roots. It certainly wasn't on my wife's radar (Feel free to ask me about that story...)! When I heard about the opportunity here, I encouraged her to look into WashU, and it turns out maternal fetal medicine was actively recruiting as well. As soon as we visited, met the people, and experienced St. Louis, we were convinced it was the right place for us.

[Dr. Kelly is married to Jeannie Kelly, MD, MS – maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the department of OB/GYN.]

What aspect of your practice do you find most interesting or rewarding? 

It’s hard to pick a single aspect. I love taking care of children — watching them grow, seeing them get back to the things they love after treatment. Clinic for me most days isn't work - I get to come in and play with kids all day. Our fellows and residents are outstanding, and working with them and teaching is certainly a highlight.

What’s the best advice you ever received? 

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."  I suppose that is more of a quote than advice, but I try to think of Viktor Frankl's words each day and strive to make choices that have positive consequences.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

All time outside of work at this point is family time. Getting my three kiddos outside doing anything makes for a pretty nice day. Now that the weather is nice, we made it to the zoo in the morning and the playground in the afternoon in recent weekends. Not sure I can beat that.

If you weren’t a doctor, what would you like to be doing for a living?

I think I'd be a teacher. Is that too cliché?

We don't think that's cliché, Dr. Kelly! For more about Dr. Kelly, check out his physician profile and video.

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