The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine has created a new Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, which aims to enable the school to share physician expertise with Carilion Clinic’s new department of the same name. 

Both new departments will be chaired by Dr. Joseph Moskal, an orthopaedic surgeon who has been affiliated with Carilion for more than 25 years.

Creation of Carilion’s department was announced earlier this summer. Formerly, it was part of Carilion Clinic’s Department of Surgery.

“With this sharing arrangement, the sum is greater than the value of the parts alone,” Moskal said. “As a department of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, we have an enhanced ability to recruit top-tier faculty candidates, especially those with an interest in the rare opportunity to work from the ground up with a school, shaping its policies, curriculum, and reputation.”

He added that the school’s affiliation with the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute presents an added opportunity to faculty candidates who have a particular interest in research.

“The institute’s reputation for excellence in research has allowed us to recruit faculty that we might not have enticed to this area,” Dr. Moskal said. “Once here, these physicians benefit both the school and Carilion’s patients exponentially.”

Carilion Clinic’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has more than 35 physicians, making it the largest orthopaedic group in Virginia. Moskal said most of the doctors have also taken on faculty positions at the school.

Commenting about the shared departments, Dr. Cynda Johnson, dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, said, “It’s a structure that allows for appropriate mission-based budgeting. We can do great things together.”

Johnson added that members of the orthopaedic faculty are already involved in the teaching and mentoring of medical students at the school.

“Carilion Clinic has more than a 50-year history of resident education,” she said. “It also has a growing faculty body with a commitment to teaching and clinical instruction.”

The school offers four orthopaedic electives.

“We have students who know they want to pursue orthopaedics, and we have others who want to explore the option,” Moskal said. “Our orthopaedic faculty members have increasing involvement in instruction and clinical training and can respond to changing needs in our student’s education and preparation for residencies.”

Two of the school’s 40 recent graduates were accepted into highly renowned orthopaedic residencies.

In addition to its commitment to education, Carilion Clinic’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is involved in 18 ongoing research projects, including collaborative efforts with the Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. Upper-level medical students are already involved in some of the projects as part of the research focus of the school’s curriculum. Moskal said the ongoing research projects would be presented early on to each entering class to allow students to become engaged with a project early in their academic careers.

“Carilion Clinic’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is honored to work in partnership with such high-caliber students, fostering experiences that allow them to reach their full potential,” he said.

Moskal earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and completed his residency in orthopaedics and rehabilitation at the University of Virginia Medical Center. He completed a fellowship in adult reconstruction and total joint replacement at the Cleveland Clinic as well as a fellowship in orthopaedic traumatology at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System in Baltimore. In 2009, he was the first orthopaedic surgeon in the Roanoke area to use a new tissue-sparing technique for hip replacement surgery that offered patients less pain and quicker recovery. He and his colleagues have since performed more than 2,000 hip replacements using this anterior approach.

Written by Catherine Doss.

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