Message from Our Program Director

Robert EstherThe Orthopaedic Residency Program at UNC is committed to providing a strong foundation of general orthopaedic education with broad subspecialty exposure. We take pride in the balance of our program, preparing residents for careers in general orthopaedics, orthopaedic subspecialty training, and the skills to practice in academic or community settings.

The assumption is made that the residency years are an extension of the educational process rather than an apprenticeship; thus, educational balance, a strong basic science foundation, individualization of programs, continuity of patient care, close faculty supervision in all phases of the learning process, and emphasis on the “whys” as well as the “hows” of orthopaedic surgery are emphasized. Since a complete operative experience is impossible in any orthopaedic residency, an understanding of the anatomy, biology, and pathology of the musculoskeletal system is essential for the continued development of surgical skills after completion of the residency years. Stated another way, if one understands the basic principles, the methods usually become obvious. For this reason, clinical problem-solving is related to basic science precepts throughout the educational experience.

To accomplish our goals of providing such breadth of exposure, we expose our residents to orthopaedic clinical care in many settings. Our residency is primarily a mentorship program, with one resident per attending for 10-week rotations. The unique opportunity to train in a major tertiary care center and a community hospital provides useful insights into the practice of orthopaedics in different communities, promotes the ability to make independent clinical judgments, and provides the experiences and role models necessary to make solid career decisions.

Recognizing that residency is an important time for personal and professional growth, the UNC environment is supportive, with appropriate clinical responsibilities, educational opportunities, and faculty expertise and availability. Our residents are bright, personable and committed physicians who are invested in service and advocacy for their patients. On completion of residency, they compete at the highest level for jobs in both academic and private practice orthopaedic surgery.

Our program benefits from committed faculty, a wonderfully diverse patient base, high standards of scholarship, a friendly environment, and a proud tradition of training orthopaedists for over 60 years. We welcome you to explore what our program has to offer.


Bob Esther, MD
Director, Orthopaedic Residency Training Program