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Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Surgery Member Spotlight: Andrea Spiker, MD

The following spotlight of UW Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Andrea Spiker appeared in the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Surgery journal and in reproduced with permission.

Brief Practice/Professional Description

I am an academic sports medicine and hip preservation surgeon at the University of Wisconsin (UW) – Madison. My sports medicine practice includes shoulder, hip, knee arthroscopic and open surgeries in ages 13 and above. I also specialize in hip preservation – which includes primarily hip arthroscopy as well as open hip preservation surgeries, the most common of which I perform is the periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) for hip dysplasia. I am also the Director of the UW Hip Preservation Program and a Team Physician for the UW Badgers. My practice reflects my training from two fellowships – one in sports medicine and the other in hip preservation – and offers opportunities outside of clinical care to teach (medical students, residents and fellows), provide athlete care, and stay active in research.

Describe a Professional Challenge or Success

My biggest professional challenge thus far has been realizing my aspirations for our UW Hip Preservation Program and my personal practice. My goal is to build a state-of-the-art clinical practice and hip preservation program that emphasizes cutting edge research and top-notch teaching and mentoring, while continually improving patient care and pushing the frontiers of our specialty. Prioritizing immediate demands with implementation of the long term vision keeps me busy. This has included hiring a Hip Preservation research coordinator, developing a patient registry, establishing research collaborations within and outside of our institution, creating a curriculum for our residents and fellows, refining our pre-operative workup and post-operative physical therapy protocols, and conducting my own research, all while maintaining a busy clinical practice and taking care of our collegiate athletes.

Top Tip for Successful Practice

Be excellent and never stop learning. I continue to learn from my colleagues, my patients, my medical students, residents and fellows, and I always keep an open mind about how and where I might improve in clinic and in the operating room.

Top Tip in Achieving Work/Life Balance

An awareness that work/life balance is something that must be constantly worked on is key. I am very career driven, but also the mother of small children. I know that I make sacrifices in each aspect of my life to succeed in the other. The balance is something I try to look at in the big picture. While at certain times the scales may tip more in one direction than the other, I try my best to make sure the scales even out in the long term. This requires being flexible and adaptable to address important issues when they arise, while being cognizant of the grander scheme of things. Part of being able to do that is asking for help when I really need it – whether that’s from my assistant, my research coordinator, my colleagues, or my family and friends.

Why I am in the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society

I joined Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS) as a medical student after I decided that orthopaedics was the specialty I wanted to pursue. At the time I had no female orthopaedic surgeon mentors. The mission of RJOS to support and encourage females to enter the field of orthopaedic surgery is what initially drew me to the organization. Now I hope that I can pay it forward – and provide mentorship and support to the next generation of female orthopaedic surgeons. If nothing else, I hope that my presence at meetings and as part of the organization will help dispel the notion that women can’t be a part of this phenomenal group of surgeons.

What Did You Gain From the 2018 Annual Meeting?

I attended the RJOS Young Practitioner’s Forum in addition to the Annual Meeting and was encouraged to see so many young women interested in joining our field. RJOS did a wonderful job of highlighting successful female orthopaedic surgeons who can serve as role models, and giving them the stage to discuss life and career lessons for those who may not have such mentors.

Interesting or Fun Fact

I took a few years off between college and medical school, working as a speech writer and also as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany. I still consider these some of the most educational, eye opening, life enriching and fun years of my life. I encourage all pre-medical students to consider taking time prior to medical school to explore their interests before embarking on the very long (but worthwhile) pathway to becoming an orthopaedic surgeon.