Residency Program

Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Education Program

Welcome to the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Training Program at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.  Each year the department matches six medical students to enter its residency program.

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery prides itself on providing an unparalleled education through access to faculty and the inclusion of the latest technologies and tools to further your development at all levels of your education. From the fundamentals through exposure to all of the major subspecialties within orthopedics, resident education is comprised of three main components: knowledge, skills and experience.

Working in the busiest Level One Trauma Center in the nation, residents are exposed to all varieties of orthopedic trauma – on average, more than 7600 admissions per year. The training program provides ample opportunity for both clinical and basic research. The clinical research is supported by a strong clinical research department and a database of over 3000 cases. Basic science research provides the opportunity to be involved in inflection and problems of bone healing. As well there is a strong bone research focus across the Texas Medical Center’s academic institutions which is available to those interested in this area.

The five years of clinical rotations includes surgical and non-surgical experience in each major subspecialty within orthopedics. Enhanced educational tools including state-of-the-art surgical simulators and arthroscopic simulators allow residents to strengthen their surgical skills and receive immediate feedback. With a focus on honing surgical skills, residents at all levels regularly participate in skills sessions and various anatomic and cadaveric dissection labs.

Hands-on experience is an important component of the orthopaedic residency program. The program has one of the first training simulation programs and provides the level specific resident with the opportunity to develop the necessary skills by cadaveric simulation to assure successful completion of their ACGME mandated milestones.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Mission Statement

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will strive for excellence as a model orthopedic training ground for physicians of the 21st century.   This pursuit encompasses:

Education – We will provide the best possible educational experience for both students and faculty as we empower them to effectively apply their increasing fund of orthopedic knowledge.  We will instill the commitment to a lifetime of learning.

ResearchWe will stimulate and foster scholarly research in both basic and applied medical science as we continue to create and evaluate new knowledge, particularly as it relates to the cause, prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.

Patient Care – We will provide compassionate, contemporary medical care in a professional, effective and cost conscious manner as we encourage a multi-disciplinary team approach to address the needs of the patient as a whole person.

Community Service – We will engage our students and faculty in providing both medical care and health education to members of our community who might otherwise remain unattended.

Personal Development – We will seek to develop in our students, residents, faculty and staff those qualities that will be critical to leadership as we meet the challenges of health care in the 21st century  – integrity, professionalism, scholarship, collegiality, creativity and compassion.

Program Aims

Assuring that the graduating resident is clinically competent, compassionate and professional

  • Providing the resident with the skills to be successful in the emerging healthcare environment through problem focused and cost conscious decision-making, while being considerate of the individual patient’s needs and limitations.
  • Facilitating psychomotor skills acquisition in a safe and supervised environment such that the resident is exposed to a broad array of basic techniques and surgical tools prior to encountering the need for them in a live surgical setting.
  • Engendering and fostering an attitude and mentality of excellence and striving for the optimal outcome in each clinical setting by having residents model exemplary faculty physicians and other healthcare providers via an active mentoring program.
  • Generating concepts/ideas for high-quality, valuable research endeavors.
  • Ensuring quality by providing oversight into efficiency based quality improvement projects.
  • Provide skills and behavior training for residents to emerge as leaders in their communities.

American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Requirements

The ABOS has established the following minimum educational requirements for certification.

  1. Five years of accredited post-doctoral residency are required.
  2. One year must be served in an accredited graduate medical education program whose curriculum fulfills the content requirements for the PGY1 and is determined or approved by the director of an accredited orthopedic surgery residency program. An additional four years must be served in an accredited orthopedic surgery residency program whose curriculum is determined by the director of the accredited orthopedic surgery residency.
  3. Each program may provide individual leave and vacation times for the resident in accordance with overall institutional policy. However, one year of credit must include no more than 50 weeks of full-time orthopaedic education per year; and at least 46 weeks of full time orthopaedic education per year; averaged over five years. Graduation prior to 60 months from initiation of training is not allowed.

PGY1 – requirements for postgraduate year one

  1. At least twenty (20) weeks of structured education on non-orthopaedic surgery rotations designed to foster proficiency in basic surgical skills, the perioperative case of surgical patients, musculoskeletal image interpretation, medical management of patients, and airway management skills.
    1. At least 10 weeks must be on surgical rotations chosen from the following: general surgery, general surgery trauma, plastic/burn surgery, surgical or medical intensive care, and vascular surgery.
    2. The additional 10 weeks must be on rotations chosen from the following: anesthesiology, basic surgical skills, emergency medicine, general surgery, general surgery trauma, internal medicine, medical or surgical intensive care, musculoskeletal radiology, neurological surgery, pediatric surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, plastic/burn surgery, rheumatology and vascular surgery.
  2. At least twenty (20) weeks of orthopaedic surgery rotations designed to foster proficiency in basic surgical skills.
  3. Formal instruction in basic surgical skills which may be provided longitudinally or as a dedicated rotation during either the orthopaedic or non-orthopaedic rotations.

PGY2-5 – requirements

  1. Minimum distribution. Orthopaedic education must be broadly representative of the entire field of orthopaedic surgery. The minimum distribution of educational experience must include:
    1. Forty-six (46) weeks of adult orthopaedics
    2. Forty-six (46) weeks of fractures/trauma
    3. Twenty-three (23) of children’s orthopaedics
    4. Twenty-three (23) of basic and/or clinical specialties

Contact Us

If you have questions about our residency program or our application process, please contact Lindsey Hale at 713-486-6536 or

William C McGarvey, MD
Professor and Vice Chair
Residency Program Director
McGovern Medical School at UT Health
Department of Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program
6431 Fannin Street, MSB 6.140
Houston, TX 77030