COF Bones and Phones Scholarship Recipient: Marie-Eve Pelletier

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation

The Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce the recipient of the inaugural 2014 Bones and Phones Scholarship:  Marie-Eve Pelletier from the University of British Columbia.

The Bones and Phones Legacy Scholarship Fund was established to recognize orthopaedic residents who have demonstrated commitment and contribution to enhancing musculoskeletal health in their community, or abroad, beyond that which would be expected during their residency training period. Founded by Dr. Veronica Wadey and Mr. Henry Chow, this $1,000 award recognizes and honours the vital role surgeons play in the lives of others.

Marie-Eve received the scholarship for her role in the “Uganda Sustainable Trauma Orthopaedic Program (USTOP)”.

The USTOP program was started in 2007 by Vancouver orthopaedic surgeons Piotr Blachut and Peter O’Brien in response to the emergent health crisis of traumatic injuries in the Ugandan capital of Kampala. Within a year a formal partnership was established between the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Makere University in Kampala, with the goal of reducing the human suffering, disability and poverty caused by traumatic injuries in Uganda.

Marie-Eve was pleased to be the recipient of the 2014 Bones and Phones Scholarship. She says, “Thank you so much for the privilege of being the very first resident to receive the Bones and Phones Scholarship. USTOP has created a partnership between two teams who share the same passion for musculoskeletal care despite their cultural, economic and political differences. It was an enriching experience, and I was proud to be part of a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, residents, nurses, physiotherapists and sterility department personnel all working together to improve the conditions of orthopaedic trauma care in Uganda.”

As an orthopaedic resident Dr. Pelletier had the pleasure of travelling to Uganda twice, during her third and fourth years of training. “The impact USTOP has had on the orthopaedic trauma care at Mulago Hospital has been tremendous, and the changes are obvious from one trip to another,” says Marie-Eve. “I was very pleased to see on my second visit that practices taught during my first trip were now in full use by the residents, confirming the importance of our involvement there.”

During her first visit, Marie-Eve helped develop the Advanced Bioskills Course, a brand new initiative for the USTOP program. Her primary role was to put together course lectures, and ensure appropriate videos were available to demonstrate the practical exercises. In addition she participated in introducing a sterile drill cover to reduce the chance of contamination at the surgical site during operations. She was motivated to return to Uganda, and on her second trip was involved in organizing the ER casualty operating room and developing advanced teaching sessions with the local residents.

Says Marie-Eve, “Seeing the difficulties facing residents in Uganda made me realize how well trained we are in Canada, and I came back very grateful for the amount of teaching and mentorship we benefit from in our [orthopaedic residency] program.”

Marie-Eve remained involved with the USTOP project throughout her residency and fellowship, and her goal is to continue that involvement once she has established her own orthopaedic practice.

The award was presented during the COA Annual Meeting in Montreal in June 2014.

Click here for more information on the USTOP program.

Click here for more information about the Bones and Phones Scholarship.