I became an orthopaedic surgeon because...

People ask me this a lot. Often, I am the first woman orthopaedic surgeon they have met! I really enjoyed my rotations as a medical student, and I loved surgery, but what attracted me to orthopaedics was the opportunity to get people back to doing what they love to do. One of my mentors said, “General surgeons save lives. Orthopaedic surgeons save lifestyles. You just have to decide what suits you.” I love helping my patients return to activities, whether they want to be able to work, write, cook, build, create, make music, or win the big game!

What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?

My favorite part of being an orthopaedic surgeon is making patients happy. When patients come back or send a note to tell me that they are back to fly fishing, knitting, rock climbing, playing piano, gardening, teaching, building houses, playing golf, or even being able to cut their food again…it makes me happy to know that I had a part in that. Of course, everyone has bad days, but I feel lucky that I usually can go home at the end of the day knowing that I made a difference.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I spend as much time as possible with my husband and my beautiful daughter. Parenthood has changed me so much as a person and as a physician, and pretty much everything is fun when seen through the eyes of a little one! I love watching baseball, and it’s been a great time to be a Detroit Tigers fan!

In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?

In recent years, I have become involved with the Arthritis Foundation. It started out with my forming a team for the Arthritis Walk, then running an educational booth at the Walk, being the Medical Chair, and now being on the Board of Trustees. I always have seen the many kinds of arthritis through the eyes of a physician, but my community work has shown me the difficulties of living with arthritis outside that brief window of the “doctor appointment.” It sometimes is difficult to motivate people to care about a disease that is not immediately life-threatening, but arthritis is a HUGE cause of disability in the U.S. and advocacy and funding for arthritis-related research is needed.