On September 29th and 30th, 150 musculoskeletal clinicians and researchers gathered for the Inaugural Annual Conference of the UNC Sports Medicine Institute (SMI). The event featured nationally acclaimed speakers from UNC and across the United States to discuss improving outcomes in patients with knee injuries in orthopedic conditions. The conference took a team-based approach combining perspectives from physicians and rehabilitation specialists.
At the pre-conference reception at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens, conference attendees gathered to kick off the two-day event. UNC SMI’s Co-Directors — David Berkoff, MD, UNC Non-operative Sports and Musculoskeletal Medicine Division Chief, and Brian Pietrosimone, PhD, UNC EXSS MOTION Science Institute Director — overviewed the Institute’s conceptualization, strategic planning and plans for the future. The SMI Co-Directors highlighted application of Institute’s three core values: patient-centered, collaborative, and data-driven. They discussed integrative use of innovative clinical research to advance injury prevention, rehabilitation, and recovery.
Former UNC men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams worked closely with UNC Orthopaedics Division of Sports Medicine over 18 seasons leading his team. Williams’ keynote presentation at the reception was a memorable part of this inaugural conference. The NCAA Hall of Fame coach shared his high regard for the UNC Sports Medicine team, not only in caring for UNC athletes, but also in treating his family. Williams praised the SMI’s collaborative model and demonstration of the “Carolina Way” that applies a team approach to patient care.
On Friday morning, the daylong education programming was held at the Friday Conference Center at UNC. Five invited keynotes speakers and UNC SMI-affiliated core faculty gave presentations that offered wide-ranging expertise. Speaker topics covered surgical, non-surgical and rehabilitative care, as well as injury prevention, nutrition, and psychological considerations when treating patients with knee injuries.
SMI Assistant Director Carla Hill, PT, DPT, OCS, noted: “The conference was a wonderful opportunity to learn from sports medicine experts. The research and personal experiences they shared with attendees can improve the care of active individuals, which is the mission of the [SMI]. Attendees praised the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, which will be something we continue to expand upon in future conferences.”
Looking ahead to the 2023 UNC Sports Medicine Institute 2nd Annual Conference, Dr. Berkoff emphasized the progress the team has made in the two years since inception, while operating on a limited budget. He spoke of the SMI’s next chapter as heavily focused on helping the Institute secure a physical space that will co-locate patient care, research, and outreach initiatives.