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Testimonials from Orthopaedic Surgery Residents at UPMC Hamot​

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Class of 2018

Ryan Vellinga - Class of 2018

Ryan Vellinga, MD
Stony Brook University School of Medicine

"UPMC Hamot is great place to do residency. I have been very pleasantly surprised with my experience here. From the very first day of residency after initial orientations, you get to go to the operating room. Our early and consistent operative experience is truly rare amongst programs. But our operative experience in no way compromises our educational experience. We have dedicated lectures each morning that all the residents attend, ensuring consistent, dedicated didactics that has helped us score well on our OITE. In fact, even interns on non-ortho rotations still attend morning ortho conference and participate in our resident ortho clinic each week. Because we only cover UPMC Hamot and Shriners Hospital, we get a lot of experience with each of our attendings over the five years that builds trust in and out of the operating room.

The work-life balance is also a major plus for the program. The call schedule is great and allows for plenty of time, including weekends outside the hospital for reading, research, and enjoying life outside of residency. The competitive salary, coupled with the low cost of living here makes it quite comfortable, even for residents like me who have a wife and kids. My wife and I both agree that this has been a great fit for us: the training I receive coupled with the work-life balance we both enjoy. I definitely consider myself fortunate to be able train at this program and would recommend it to anyone."

Class of 2017

Vince Lai, MD - Class of 2017

Vince Lai, MD
Albany Medical College

"Every aspect of the UPMC Hamot Orthopaedic Residency Program is tailored to the education of the orthopaedic resident.

I am constantly involved with the orthopaedic service. We have protected time for orthopaedic fracture conference and didactics every morning, even when I am rotating on other services. The resident run orthopaedic clinic adds another dimension to our experience that is unique to UPMC Hamot.

In the clinic, the residents are responsible for evaluating, diagnosing, and directing treatment for the patients. Not only am I able to develop my diagnostic skills, I am able to learn from and teach my fellow residents by discussing various patient cases. The level of operative autonomy given to the residents is impressive, and their ability to not only operate, but to teach another resident how to operate is second to none.

Erie is a great city to live in with a multitude of outdoor activities to participate in and enjoy. Presque Isle provides opportunities to spend time relaxing on the beach, running, and kayaking. In our free time, we make an effort to enjoy various activities outside of the hospital together, including volleyball, basketball, and soccer. The benefits package including parking, food, resident lounges, and insurance is quite generous. I could not be happier at this program."

Thomas Lee, MD - Class of 2017 Thomas Lee, MD

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

"I am very happy to be an orthopaedic surgery resident at UPMC Hamot. This is a comfortable environment for learning orthopaedics. Attending surgeons are approachable, personable, and interested in resident education.

I am also fortunate to work with an excellent group of hard working residents who promote the top-down approach to teaching, and embrace the responsibility of teaching newer residents. Daily fracture conference and protected time for didactics allows for discussion of appropriate management and current literature regarding the care of orthopaedic patients.

One of my personal favorite aspects of the program is the resident-run clinic. Residents maintain a schedule of their own patients and follow them long-term for improved continuity of care. It is valuable experience for managing patients in an outpatient setting.

Year-round orthopaedic call provides experience in managing acute orthopaedic issues. Overall, UPMC Hamot is a great place for continued orthopaedic training."

Class of 2016

Nathan Monaco, MD - Class of 2016

Nathan Monaco, MD
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

"One of the first things I noticed about the UPMC Hamot Orthopaedic Residency Program was the pervading atmosphere of happiness that could be found among the residents. Overall, I was very impressed by the seemingly collegial, pleasant, and light-hearted nature of all the residents and staff associated with the program. It was great to see this attitude combined with hard work ethic and professionalism. After only a few short months at UPMC Hamot, I am starting to realize why the UPMC Hamot Orthopaedic Residency is so unique.

First of all, our program is full of opportunity from both an academic and clinical standpoint. The hospital system serves a large patient population in Northwestern Pennsylvania and consequently, the residents are exposed to and involved with the treatment of a multitude of common orthopaedic problems on a daily basis. Several attending physicians operate at UPMC Hamot, and this enables the residents to observe surgical techniques and patient management from more than one perspective. Many of the residents take advantage of the opportunity to become involved in research.

UPMC Hamot has a resident clinic where the residents can become direct providers of care for patients during the course of our training. Each morning there is dedicated time for both didactic lecture sessions and fracture conference. There are monthly journal club meetings and the residents actively encourage each other to stay updated on current literature.

Outside of the hospital setting, the residents are able to have a great balance between life and work. Many of the residents are married or have children. The cost of living in Erie is relatively lower than many major cities. Erie offers a number of outdoor activities for those interested. There are a number of resident benefits, such as parking, a meal stipend and resident lounge. The residents routinely meet outside of work for various fun activities such as basketball, golf, football, hunting and ultimate frisbee, just to name a few.

It would be easy for me to continue to elaborate on all of the great aspects of our residency program, but I would encourage interested medical students to experience the program first-hand by arranging an away rotation or visit. I am proud to be a new member of the UPMC Hamot Orthopaedic Residency because of all the great opportunities provided by our training program. I would recommend that applicants give serious consideration to joining our team."

Lee Radford, MD - Class of 2016 Lee Radford, MD

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

"My experience at UPMC Hamot has been exactly what I expected and hoped for when I visited. The learning opportunities are plentiful and the learning environment is one that is enjoyable but still holds you accountable. It really starts from the top down and learning through hands on teaching is truly encouraged by the attending surgeons, senior residents, and through our didactic lectures each day.

As an intern the operative experience has been hands on from day one. When past residents have stated that the operative experience and camaraderie with the residents is why they chose UPMC Hamot they are right. It has been an enjoyable experience learning how to operate and I couldn't be happier to be in this residency program."

Contact Us

For more information regarding the Orthopaedic Residency Program at UPMC Hamot, please contact Susan Huff, GME Department Manager, by phone at 814-877-6253 or via email at

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