With a booming population and a high military concentration, Fayetteville has a high demand for orthopedic surgeons. To help fill that need, I, Dr. Benjamin Levine, moved to Fayetteville in 2019. As an orthopedic surgeon, I specialize in hand and upper extremities. Together with Dr. Stephen Kouba, I serve patients at the new Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, which opened in March 2013 at 1219 Walter Reed Road.
Part of the Cape Fear Valley Health System, I am also the new associate program director of the Cape Fear Valley orthopedics residency program, which was accredited in 2022 and will welcome our first class starting in July. Recruited by Dr. Ken Nelson to help lead this program, I look forward to training residents. I love teaching orthopedic medicine, and I want to attract more doctors to serve the Fayetteville community, which currently only has about only half the orthopedic surgeons recommended for a population of this size.
A joint effort between Cape Fear Valley Health and Womack Army Medical Center, the residency program will train two civilian and two military orthopedic residents. We are one of two programs in the nation to adopt this approach, with the other program located in El Paso, Texas.
Combining Army and Cape Fear Valley residency programs creates a stronger residency program. Through training in the underserved Fayetteville area, military residents will see a higher volume of patients than in a typical Army residency program, leading to more varied experience treating a range of conditions. We also see a high case load of patients who’ve sustained traumatic injuries, expanding the knowledge base for both our civilian and our military residents. Our residency program will cover topics such as osteoporosis, sports medicine, general orthopedics, trauma, joint replacement, and more.
We began interviewing our first cohort of orthopedic residents last year, and the four residents who will begin the program matched with us in March. We are ecstatic about the residents we will get to train over the next five years. We will start a new cohort of residents every year, so after five years, we will have 20 students total in the program. I am excited for the potential to train great surgeons and even help them advance to becoming a specialist in their field.
Due to the unique civilian-military blend of this program and the high volume of patients we see, I expect our residency program to be successful and highly sought after. We aim to have as many of our residents as possible stay here in Fayetteville. Cape Fear Valley Health system has a high retention rate overall; approximately half of prior residents who have trained within the health system have settled in the area or have returned after completing fellowships elsewhere. Given that Cape Fear Valley covers five counties, and our population is booming, retaining half of the doctors trained here would be a major boost to this underserved area for orthopedics.
A higher concentration of orthopedic surgeons is important to treating our retired military members. Given that Veterans Administration (VA) health facilities are often overwhelmed, or local VA surgeons are called to serve elsewhere, having additional trained orthopedic surgeons in the area will be a great service to those in need.
I am pleased that our orthopedic residents will have a state-of-the-art facility to train in. With workspaces, classrooms, and a top-notch simulation lab, Cape Fear Valley’s Center for Medical Education and Neuroscience Institute will be an ideal space to conduct the didactic part of our residency program.
I am excited about the potential of our new orthopedic residency program and the impact we will have by bringing new residents, who will eventually become orthopedic physicians, to this community. Our goal is to attract doctors and future doctors in a range of orthopedic subspecialties, such as sports, hand and upper extremities, foot and ankle, spine, oncology, and pediatrics, to better serve the orthopedic needs of the Fayetteville community.
Learn more about our practice at http://capefearvalley.com/ortho.
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