The fellowship at the University of Chicago was begun by Daniel P. Mass, MD, who created the fellowship as an educational opportunity and a way to share the incredible clinical resources available for teaching at the University of Chicago. In 2009, the University of Chicago began a clinical and educational collaboration with NorthShore University Hospital, and the fellows began working with fellowship-trained hand surgeons at NSUH. In 2016, Jennifer Moriatis Wolf, MD, took over the role of fellowship program director. The fellowship principles remain focused on education, critical thinking, experiential learning, and robust clinical experience. The Combined Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship at the University of Chicago is an ACGME accredited fellowship that accepts two (2) fellows per academic year.
- Jennifer Moriatis Wolf, MD is the fellowship program director, with a practice focusing on hand, wrist, and elbow. Dr. Wolf serves as the deputy editor-in-chief of the Journal of Hand Surgery and has been awarded research support from the Department of Defense and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF).
- Megan Conti Mica, MD is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic hand surgery fellowship and performed additional fellowship training in shoulder and elbow surgery in Europe.
- Jeffrey Stepan, MD is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis’ hand surgery fellowship, and has interests in outcomes measurement and hand trauma.
- Jason Strelzow, MD, FRCSC is trained in hand and upper limb surgery under the tutelage of Graham King at the University of Western Ontario, and completed a second fellowship in trauma surgery in Edinburgh. He is a part of both the hand and trauma services and has special interest in elbow surgery.
- Craig Phillips, MD, serves as the site director for the NorthShore locations. Dr. Phillips trained in orthopaedics in South Africa and Chicago, and completed his hand surgery fellowship at the University of Chicago.
- Leon Benson, MD has a busy practice focusing on shoulder, wrist and elbow problems. He is a graduate of the Harvard/Brigham and Women’s Hand Surgery Fellowship.
- Fellows also work with Seth Levitz, MD; Robert Gray, MD; and Christian Skjong, MD as clinical faculty within the NorthShore fellowship site.
Fellows spend six months each at the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) and six months at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NSUH); split into three-month blocks.
At the University of Chicago, fellows rotate on each of two teams for six weeks, then switch. Teams are made up of 2-3 attendings, 2 residents, and a fellow; assignments are made in the effort to avoid impacting learners’ educational experiences and to maximize exposure to clinical issues such as complex trauma, microsurgery, congenital hand problems, and brachial plexus reconstruction. UCM sample schedule
At NorthShore, fellows work with all of the attendings each week, according to the schedule which incorporates time in the OR and clinic. This provides a broad exposure to a community-based practice with high volumes and clinical variety. NS sample schedule
There is a weekly hand conference with a published list of topics, held on Friday mornings, which is attended by all attendings, fellows (NS via teleconference), and residents. Topics include lectures on pain management, anesthesia, EMG, prosthetics, and occupational therapy. Friday AM Didactics sample schedule
On Monday mornings, there is a fellow-specific conference covering classic articles drawn from Peter Stern’s curriculum.
Fellows are expected to attend Grand Rounds when an upper extremity topic is presented. Grand Rounds are held weekly on Wednesday mornings.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there are indications and specialty-specific didactic topics; again, when these involve hand-related issues, fellows are expected to attend. Fellows also present talks during this time.
The fellows attend a week-long microvascular course at Mayo Clinic in August.
Both clinical sites are replantation centers and the fellows will be involved on call. Additionally, free and pedicled flap experience, as well as brachial plexus surgery, are part of the clinical program at the University of Chicago site and the fellows participate in these surgeries.
Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago Medicine is a major referral center as well as a Level I Trauma Center for pediatrics. The fellows are exposed to both reconstructive and post-trauma surgical management.
Several members of the upper extremity service at the University of Chicago are active in shoulder and elbow reconstruction, including reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, arthroscopy, rotator cuff repair, total elbow replacement, and biceps repair.
International experience has been an integral part of the fellowship for many years. We continue to prioritize the fellows going on a service mission each year.
The hand surgery fellows cover call at their assigned site during each three-month block. The fellow assigned to the University of Chicago Medicine also covers two days of call per week. Currently, fellows are each assigned one weekend a month. The orthopaedic or plastic surgery residents on call for hand serve as the primary call contact, and fellow call is taken from home. Fellows are expected to be involved in the care of hand consults in the Emergency Department as needed, and to lead the surgical treatment of those patients requiring urgent operative care. Additionally, fellows are a part of the care for inpatient hand surgery cases and are responsible, with the hand surgery resident team, for their care.
Microsurgery course – Mayo clinic – August of each year
ASSH Annual Meeting – Fall of each year
International service trip – generally planned for the spring of each year
The hand division is active in clinical and basic science research and multiple projects are ongoing. It is expected that each fellow perform a research project, to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal by the end of the fellowship.
The University of Chicago Hospital is a Level I Trauma Center serving both adult and pediatric populations in Chicago, and is currently the busiest trauma center in the city. The philosophy of the program is to provide excellent exposure to elective reconstructive cases, while allowing the fellows ample time to study and participate in research. NSUH is a multi-specialty research and healthcare organization with 908 beds distributed across four hospitals. NorthShore University HealthSystem is a level I adult trauma center. The affiliation with NorthShore offers our fellows exposure to a broader array of clinical pathology, a diverse patient population, and new operational technologies in a suburban, community-based, teaching hospital system.
How To Apply
Our Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship program participates in the NRMP. Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year should be submitted through the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) Fellowship System by November 15th:
Invitations for interviews will be sent in December with the interviews to take place in late January. Interviews will be held virtually.
All applicants must be authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis as of the program start date. If sponsorship is needed, J-1 visas are preferred.