Message from Vice Chair of Research

Dr. Albert Yee
The Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Toronto has a longstanding and rich history in academic orthopaedic research. Our surgical residents have a unique opportunity to participate in the Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP), and this website contains links to this program as well as recent resident experience through the program.

The longstanding success of this program, with many graduates eventually securing competitive and respected academic faculty positions is further strengthened by the continued growth and recruitment of residents into this program. Whether the research focus is on health services research, biomedical engineering, quality improvement, global outreach, or translational bench to clinic or commercialization opportunities, the University of Toronto is uniquely poised in infrastructure and expertise that is necessary for the training of highly qualified personnel.

Albert Einstein once said, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

I can think of many areas in orthopaedics today where this question remains very germane. How best to incorporate and evaluate promising new therapeutics in the clinical setting (i.e. stem cells, tissue engineering)? Why does there remain wide clinical practice variation in the types of surgical procedures performed for certain orthopaedic conditions (e.g. Minimal versus open surgery, arthroplasty versus internal fixation for certain fractures, the number of techniques and procedures performed for even single-level degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis). Why are most clinical guidelines not fully adopted by the medical and surgical community, and how do you best effect change? Behavioural change rests not only at the individual surgeon level, from a professional and ethical perspective, but also considers the practicalities and complexities that exist in the current system of health care delivery.

Patient centred care, precision or tailored medicine, and the patient experience are now key pillars in almost every university and academic hospital’s strategic plan. For those of us as clinicians, we have always individualized care based on patient needs.

I am indebted to the Divisional Research Committee for all their support and valued input into academic research opportunities at both the faculty and trainee level. We have created a rich academic calendar of events schedule for our residents and faculty that include:

Fall Annual Divisional Research Day
  • Orthopaedic Research Opportunities (PGY-1 Research Boot Camp)
  • Research Proposals (PGY-2)
  • Systematic Reviews / Critical Appraisal of Research (PGY 3-5)
  • Resident Presentation of Completed Research (Module 21) – PGY 3-5
  • Keynote Lecture by an National / International Orthopaedic Surgeon-Scientist
Junior Faculty Research Award
  • Most productive orthopaedic faculty in research within the first 5 years of academic appointment
Lawson Fund Trainee Awards
  • Seed Grants for Resident Research Projects
City-Wide Medical Summer Student Orthopaedic Research Program (e.g. CREMS)
  • CREMS or UofT Divisional Medical Summer Student Research Program

I look forward towards the implementation of new research initiatives that arise from our recent Divisional Strategic Plan (Global Leadership Through Innovation AND Collaboration). 


Albert JM Yee, MD, MSC, FRCSC
Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
Vice-Chair Research, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, UofT
Co-Director, UofT Department of Surgery Spine Program