The purpose of orthopaedic residency is to acquire the knowledge, clinical, and surgical technical skills necessary to practice the broad and varied field of orthopaedics. The acquisition of this critical knowledge comes through formal and informal education as well as self study. We have a half-day dedicated to resident education and didactics weekly to serve as our formal academics. We also have a daily morning report at our Level I trauma center for the residents on the trauma service and a separate weekly morning report for all residents. 

Morning report is held daily at our Level I trauma center for the trauma team and weekly for the remaining residents. It serves several functions. It is a process of communication, which is both expedient and deliberate. Residents present upcoming or recent operative cases at the weekly report and on-call consults at the daily report. 

Education provided in this venue is multifaceted. First, residents begin to develop the formal clinical presentation skills expected during Part 2 of the orthopaedic boards. second, cases are used as platforms to discuss physical examination skills, radiologic evaluations, surgical techniques, and outcomes. Residents are encouraged to review current orthopaedic articles and to present relevant information in their presentations.

The majority of formal education is provided during protected academics held each Wednesday, typically at the TTUHSC El Paso Foster School of Medicine. Clinics and OR time are limited to allow both resident and staff participation. Academic activities during these days fall under several categories: staff lectures, resident lectures, anatomy presentations, OITE review, and practical skills labs.  

Between July and November, the academic calendar is focused on core orthopaedic knowledge with emphasis on resident and staff lectures, anatomy dissections, and OITE review. The second half of the academic year features more specific resident and staff lectures with an emphasis on practical cadaver skills labs. 

Staff Lectures: Attendings participate in a rotating schedule of specialty-specific core lectures in the fields of trauma, sports medicine, adult reconstruction, spine, hand, pediatrics, tumor, and foot and ankle. 

Anatomy: Between July and November, the core anatomy program is central to resident education. Each Wednesday, a senior resident leads a team of residents for a given anatomic region (e.g. Pelvis/Acetabulum, Hip/Thigh, Knee, etc.). Staff supervision is provided for each of these sessions as appropriate. The PGY-1 will perform a cadaveric dissection, highlighting all relevant anatomy of the region of focus. The PGY-2 resident will demonstrate common surgical approaches in the specified region. The residents then attend a practical session in the state-of-the-art Foster School of Medicine anatomy lab, where there are 2-3 cadavers dedicated to orthopaedics each year.  

Resident Core Review Lectures: Between July and August, there are two resident-lead lectures each week. The residents will  present a formal lecture based on high yield orthopaedic topics, while interns are usually responsible for basic science lectures. Whenever possible, these lectures correlate to the anatomic region of the week (e.g. osteoarthritis core lecture and biomaterials/sseptic loosening basic science lecture during hip anatomy week).

Cadaver / Sawbones Practical Skills Labs: Incorporation of frequent practical labs using both cadavers and sawbones is extremely beneficial in solidifying knowledge base and developing technical skills. These are incorporated throughout the year, usually with 2-3 labs prior to the OITE and 1-2 labs monthly thereafter. Cadaver labs are typically held at the medical school. Dedicated orthopaedic department cadavers as well as cadaver specimens provided by industry support allow residents to practice both surgical approach and instrumentation in an anatomically realistic model. These labs cover many topics, for example: upper extremity fracture fixation, joint arthroplasty, circular frame placement, and arthroscopy. 

Visiting professors in various specialties are typically invited to speak 3-4 times each year. These visits typically consist of a Tuesday night dinner accompanied by a professor lecture and case presentations, as well as 1-2 lectures during academics the following day. One of these visits is typically held concurrently with WBAMC/TTUHSC El Paso Resident Research Day, where the speaker also serves as a moderator and judge. Recent speakers have included: Dr. Wayne Burkhead (Carrell Clinic), Dr. Joseph Hsu (Atrium Health [Carolinas Medical Center]), Dr. Andrew Wolff (Washington orthopaedics), Dr. Jon Davids (Shriner's Hospitals for Children, Sacramento), Dr. Francois Fassier (Shriner's Hospitals for Children, Montreal), and many other distinguished guests.

Journal clubs are held regularly throughout the year, both intramural during formal academic days and 5-6 times a year, extramurally with community attendings encouraged to attend. Extramural journal clubs are typically held in the evenings at a local restaurant or venue and feature a discussion between staff and residents over the preassigned articles. 

In order to augment the resident’s education in orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation, participation in several courses is integrated into residency. Residents typically will attend one to two supported courses per year after internship. In years with only one supported course, residents are encouraged to take advantage of additional industry-sponsored courses. 


  • PGY-1: Southwest Orthopaedic Trauma Association (SWOTA) Basic Fracture Care (typically attended by the entire class)
  • PGY-2: AO Basic
  • PGY-3: Orthopaedic Oncology Course (Enneking)
  • PGY-4: AO Advanced
  • PGY-5: Board Review Course (Miller Review)

Additional Industry- or Society- sponsored courses (examples): AANA Fundamentals of Arthroscopy, AAHKS Primary Hip & Knee Arthroplasty for Residents, OTA Comprehensive Fracture Course, Stryker Hip and Knee Symposium for orthopaedic Residents, Smith & Nephew SAIF Course, DePuy Hip & Knee Arthroplasty for the Junior resident, Arthrex sports courses, Zimmer/Biomet Oxford partial knee course, etc. 

Submission of research to conferences is encouraged and the department will help fund travel if accepted. Residents have attended or presented at the following conferences recently.


  • Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons (SOMOS) Annual Conference
  • AAOS Annual Meeting
  • OTA Annual Meeting
  • LLRS
  • AAHS

Every fifth Wednesday, the residents participate in a variety of team building exercises. These events serve to foster camaraderie with your co-residents and are a fun change of pace from the rigors of residency.