The Womack Cape Fear Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program celebrated its inauguration with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, July 13 at Womack Army Medical Center, marking a significant milestone in military medical training.
This residency program stands as the only one of its kind within the entire Defense Health Agency, with a unique program structure, sponsored by Womack Army Medical Center, in collaboration with Cape Fear Valley Health Systems.
By fostering collaboration, diversity, and exposure to different medical settings, the program promises to produce well-rounded orthopaedic surgeons dedicated to providing exceptional patient care within the military healthcare system.
“This is a commitment to our service members, families, retirees, and civilians who makeup Fort Liberty, and the surrounding communities that receive care at Womack and the Cape Fear Valley Health System, said Col. David Zinnante, Central North Carolina Market director. “Establishing meaningful partnerships is something the Defense Health Agency and the United States Army Medical Command advocate for, daily.
“On the surface, establishing partnerships sounds easy. It sounds like something that anyone can do and something that can be done with ease. Anyone that has worked on a partnership, anyone that’s worked on a joint venture, we all know that there are challenges along the way. I’d argue that these challenges actually become opportunities, when we involve the right teammates,” he said.
Col. Kenneth Nelson, Orthopaedic trauma surgeon, played a major role in driving to establish the residency program. His efforts began in late 2017. He continued to push through multiple hospital commander rotations, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the hospital’s transition from Department of the Army to the Defense Health Agency.
“I certainly could not have done it alone,” said Nelson. “I had great partners, all along. I have great faith that this is going to work out well.”
The residency partnership aims to provide a comprehensive and diverse training experience for future orthopaedic surgeons. By rotating between these two esteemed institutions, residents gain exposure to a wide range of cases, patient populations, and medical practices.
“Cape Fear Valley is very excited, not only about the orthopaedic residency, but this incredible long-standing relationship that Cape Fear Valley and Womack have; it is culminated in this particular program,” said Michael Nagowski, Cape Fear Valley Health System CEO. “We’re planting trees for people who are going to enjoy that shade in the future.
“That’s what this is about, the next generation of physicians. To all the people who have been involved, whether you’re on the front line of actually training these new physicians, or whether you’re in a support role, like myself; thank you for dedicating your careers to the advancement of healthcare. Not just in this region, but nationally,” he said.
The Womack Cape Fear Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program comprises of two civilian residents and two military residents. This deliberate mix of civilian and military medical professionals fosters an environment of learning, cultural exchange, and collaboration, by combining resources, expertise, and patient populations.
“We’re a brand new program, so we don’t have co-residents or senior-level residence to be our mentors, but it’s been good to meet all the attendings, techs and nurses on both sides. We have a great team behind us, and it shows. It’s the best in the military. I think it’s a very unique experience. We’re going to get a wide variety of cases and patients. It’s a huge benefit for all residents,” said Capt. Kimberton Nguyen, Orthapaedics surgery resident.