As the new Director of the Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship Program at Mount Sinai, Jaehon Kim, MD, is taking on the responsibilities of his predecessor, Michael Hausman, MD, an internationally acclaimed upper extremity surgeon who pioneered the use of arthroscopy for treating pediatric elbow deformities and adult fractures and dislocations. Dr. Kim, who trained at the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program and the Curtis National Hand Center and now handles some of the most challenging reconstructive cases on referral from other physicians, is already making progress. For one, he is increasing the volume of surgeries assigned to each hand and upper extremity trainee by nearly a third.
“Dr. Hausman instilled a tradition of taking on the most complex cases, and by increasing the caseload of an already high-volume program, my goal is to create a cadre of hand and upper extremity surgeons who have the skills and knowledge to handle the toughest of the tough cases in their own communities after graduation,” says Dr. Kim, Associate Professor of Orthopedics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
What Is the Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship Program at Mount Sinai?
One of the oldest and most respected programs of its kind in the United States, the one-year hand and upper extremity fellowship, which only accepts two new trainees each year, ranks among the most competitive. Each fellow must maintain a strict routine of observing and assisting five attending physicians in their hand, wrist, and elbow surgical procedures under the umbrella of the C.V. Starr Hand and Upper Extremity Center, founded in 1952.
“Fellows handle a diversity of cases that’s unmatched in the New York City area,” says Dr. Kim, who specializes in nerve reconstruction and complex upper extremity fracture management. “They get to work not only with bones and joints, but all components of the musculoskeletal system, including nerves and arteries, and that keeps their training days quite interesting.”
How Will the Program Grow Under Dr. Kim?
In his new role, Dr. Kim plans to double down on areas where he sees significant room for growth, including research, where, as the new Director of Mount Sinai Orthopedic Resident Research, he is committed to uncovering viable sources of funding for studies aimed at novel surgical and non-surgical treatments for the hand, wrist, and elbow. Another program in which he takes considerable pride is one in which fellows and residents produce training videos on surgical technique, available online to all members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). In fact, three of the top 10 videos selected by the 2022 ASSH Annual Meeting Committee this year were created by residents and fellows under the direction of Dr. Kim.
Educational programming, in general, is a field Dr. Kim plans to actively promote not only for fellows and interns but the entire C.V. Starr Center staff. “I want to open the door to more learning opportunities, such as bringing in globally recognized hand surgeons to serve as both guest lecturers and trainers,” he says, noting that Dr. Hausman was a frequent international lecturer on complex hand, wrist, and elbow disorders.
For his ambitious agenda to become reality, Dr. Kim is well aware that effective communication is necessary to generate excitement among constituents. For that reason, he is reaching out to the Center’s national network of alumni to encourage members to become more involved in training and educational activities.
He concludes: “My goal is to create a two-way street of talented fellows coming in and going out after graduation, knowing that’s the best way to spread the word across the country about the exceptional things we’re doing at C.V. Starr.”
Jaehon Kim, MD
Associate Professor of Orthopedics