Core Curriculum

conference2The resident’s core conferences are held on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. The program’s core conference schedule is regularly scheduled didactic sessions that review established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and epidemiological information, and the application of this knowledge to patient care. Conferences are organized by specialty, with each section having 18 conferences per year. Specialty divisions repeat the subject matter every two years such that each resident will review each topic at least twice during their residency. All resident, including PGY1 residents on non-orthopaedic rotations, attend all conferences. Conferences are formatted to provide core orthopaedic knowledge and promote the evaluation of medical literature and research. With their iPads, residents have unlimited access to the MCW library database, as well as electronic subscriptions to major orthopaedic journals for literature which support this endeavor. The core curriculum runs September through June of each academic year.


IMG_5154---Version-2All resident, including PGY1 residents on non-orthopaedic rotations attend two hours of Anatomy instruction per week during the months of July and August. Pro-sections are prepared by assigned residents with a faculty member. Faculty, together with a senior resident and a junior resident, are selected to present based on the region of the body being discussed. Presentations include the relevant local anatomy and surgical exposures.

Basic Science

ortho clinics(2)

The Orthopaedic Basic Science Conference didactic series occurs every Wednesday for an hour during the months of September through June. The two-year lecture series covers all basic science topics in the current editions of the AAOS Orthopaedic Basic Science: Foundations of Clinical Practice and the AAOS Orthopaedic Knowledge Update.

Basic science is also integrated into other aspects of the resident’s experience through:

  • Inclusion of relevant basic science material in other didactic sessions including: Core Specialty Conferences, Grand Rounds and M&M Conferences.
  • During clinical rotations and daily clinical patient care activities, relevant basic science material is integrated as it applies to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of clinical orthopaedic disorders. For example, residents experience and learn topics pertaining to orthopaedic infections in the treatment of a patient with a postoperative infection. Residents learn principles of bone regeneration during intra-operative discussions regarding fracture fixation.

Grand Rounds

CHW auditoriumGrand Rounds is an hour conference held on Wednesdays. Faculty members, visiting professors, fellows, PGY-5 residents, and PGY-4 residents present topics of their choice. The conference is primarily a didactic session designed to represent cutting-edge knowledge and regularly includes treatment indications, clinical outcomes, complications and evidence-based guidelines. All residents PGY1-PGY5 attend this conference as well as faculty and fellows. Grand Rounds runs September through June each academic year.

Journal Club

JBJS(1)Journal club organized by Dr. Joseph Schwab and Dr. Brian Law is a one-hour long conference held once a month on Wednesdays as part of the Core Curriculum. All residents are in attendance. Dr. Schwab chooses 4-6 articles from core journals (JBJS, CORR, etc.) and specialty journals (JOT, JOA, JHS, AJSM, etc.). All residents are responsible for reading all articles. Discussions examine the scientific methods of the studies and the resulting conclusions. Residents are taught to read journal articles critically, apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods, critically appraise and assimilate the evidence, and apply the findings to their patient population. Journal Club runs September through June each academic year.


Morbidity & Mortality Conference is held at regular intervals through out the academic year as part of the core curriculum. Residents on each service compile lists of cases performed and complications. Dr. JC Neilson, the department patient safety officer, reviews the reported complications and chooses cases for discussion. The residents present the cases in a manor similar to Orthopaedic Surgery Oral Boards, with 2 reviewers asking the resident questions. The residents are expected to prepare ahead of time and have reviewed the literature as applied to their case. As appropriate, evidence based medicine principles are used to improve medical knowledge and patient care. Residents discuss physician and system errors, patient safety issues, and methods of improvement. All residents PGY1-PGY5 attend this conference as well as faculty. The review at M&M includes the residents performing an evaluation of the system, as well as a critical self-evaluation, to identify errors that produced the outcomes. The role of different specialists and other health care professionals in overall patient management are identified. The resident identifies breakdowns in the system, any role that they played in it, and ways to prevent future errors. M&M runs September through June each academic year.