News & Events

See All News and Events

Joseph Mitchell, MD, joins the UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation

Joseph Mitchell, MD, joined the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health on May 1, 2022. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dr. Mitchell earned his BS in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He then completed medical school and residency at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Following his residency, Dr. Mitchell went on to fellowship for one year at the University of California-San Diego, where he broadened and further honed his joint replacement skills.

After completing his fellowship, Dr. Mitchell practiced with Aurora Orthopedics in Sheboygan, WI. However, not long after he had begun to practice outside of academics, Dr. Mitchell discovered that he missed the curiosity and engagement of the medical students, residents, and fellows he had worked with throughout residency and fellowship.

Thus, when he learned of an opening for a joint replacement specialist in our department, he was thrilled at this opportunity to return to what he feels is his “medical home.”

An orthopedic surgeon specializing in adult reconstruction of the hip and knee, Dr. Mitchell is highly skilled in both primary and revision hip and knee replacement surgery. He has specific expertise using the anterior approach for hip replacement – a technique known to have a steep learning curve. Dr. Mitchell has performed over 800 joint replacements, using the anterior approach in many of these cases. In fact, because of his extensive training and experience – and because this approach expedites patient recovery by as much as three months, according to some studies – Dr. Mitchell uses this technique almost exclusively when performing a hip replacement.

Also certified to do robotic knee and hip replacement, Dr. Mitchell is trained in patient-specific instrumentation, or patient-specific implants, using their own anatomy to create the ultimate implants that are used.

Reflective of his goals and passions, Dr. Mitchell’s research interests include comparing the advantages of anterior approach hip replacement vs. the traditional posterior approach. He is also investigating the use of robotic navigation vs. traditional instruments (manual instrumentation) to determine if computer navigation makes a difference in patient outcomes. In addition, he plans to both study and work toward increasing diversity within the orthopedic field.

The factor that initially drew Dr. Mitchell to the orthopedics specialty – and why he is so passionate about both practicing and teaching in the field today – is that “more than any other specialty, orthopedics enables a physician to quickly improve a person’s quality of life with a short procedure.”

“What really drives me is knowing that, although the surgical procedure itself is the same every time, for that individual, you are putting them back to a place they were 10, 15, maybe 20 years ago, in terms of their mobility and their quality of life. You give them back their ability to get out and just enjoy the things they enjoy doing. Seeing those patients at follow up and having them do very well, that is what motivates me to keep doing what I’m doing.”


June 13, 2022

Don’t delay if you want to play: UW Health urges families to schedule sports physicals now


MADISON, Wis. – Experts with UW Health are encouraging young athletes to schedule their pre-participation sports physical exams with their primary care provider now to avoid a last-minute scramble before the start of school sports this summer.

Pre-participation physical exams have long been used in the United States to detect conditions that predispose the athlete to injury or illness. The exam, which typically includes a review of health history and examination of the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, is required by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) before athletes are allowed to participate in high school sports. Failure to complete the required exam on time can prevent athletes from starting their sport.

But according to Dr. David Bernhardt, pediatrician and sports medicine physician at UW Health, athletes should approach these exams with more than just sports in mind. He says routine sports physicals, though useful, are too narrow in focus and can sometimes neglect other issues that could be critically important to a high schooler’s wellbeing.

“Pre-participation physicals are a great opportunity for high schoolers to have a more comprehensive well visit with their primary care provider,” said Bernhardt. “Sports physicals are often the only time that adolescents schedule time with their pediatrician outside of visits for injuries or illness, so it makes sense that we use this time to evaluate these kids for more than just their readiness to engage in sports. There are many other topics that we should be discussing, like mental health, which can be just as important to a child’s short- and long-term wellbeing.”

Bernhardt says athletes should always go to their primary care provider for these exams because it ensures continuity of care and allows the athlete’s physician to identify changes over time and react appropriately. He also says physical exams that are performed in retail-based clinics or in schools often lack privacy, which can make it less likely for adolescents to disclose private or potentially embarrassing concerns during the exam.


UW Health News | April 28, 2022
Contact: Emily Kumlien
(608) 516-9154 |

National Women Physicians Day

Today we celebrate the fifth annual National Women Physicians Day on the 201st birthday of Elizabeth Blackwell – the first woman to earn a medical degree in America.

Not surprising, the road to that degree was not an easy one; Blackwell was rejected by 29 programs before finally being accepted by a small New York college in 1847. Two years later, she graduated first in her class, a monumental personal and historic achievement. Despite being the lone female physician in the country at that time, Blackwell stared down society’s prejudices, going on to build a medical practice, establish a medical college for women, and campaign for reform in the medical profession.

An inspiration and a true pioneer, Blackwell’s perseverance and dedication blazed a trail for countless women.

In honor of this important day, we would like to recognize and thank the women physicians on our faculty and in our residency programs for their strength, determination, and leadership – and for the outstanding care they provide to our patients every day.


44th Annual University of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Symposium


2022 Freedom of Movement Grant Recipients Announced

Two New Projects Funded in 2022
With the beginning of the new year, comes new research opportunities. The University of Wisconsin Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation developed The Freedom of Movement Fund to support basic science, clinical, and translational research efforts. For the second time, we were able to fund two very important projects that align strongly with our research goals as a Department.

Congratulations to the research teams, and their selected projects!

“The Freedom of Movement Fund has grown to be such an essential way to support new novel research and the work of our new investigators. It has now funded seven exciting projects. This early work will often lead to additional external funding.

We can’t thank our donors and our UW Orthopedic Development Board enough for their support and generosity!”  

Dr. Thomas Zdeblick
Chair, UW Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation


2022 Grant Recipients

Determination of Mechanical and Sensory Dysfunction of Ligaments in the Osteoarthritic Knee

Principal Investigator:
Joshua D. Roth, PhD

Brian Walczak, DO, PhD
Lesley Arant, MS

Study Background

Despite acknowledgment that osteoarthritis impacts the entire knee, much of the research on osteoarthritic (OA) changes in the tissues of the knee has focused on the articular cartilage and subchondral bone. However, increases in joint laxity in patients without radiographic evidence of changes to the articular cartilage and subchondral bone suggest that changes in ligament function occur early in the OA disease process. Because ligaments have critical mechanical and sensory roles in maintaining knee health, disruptions in their function likely drive poor knee mechanics that accelerate the degradation of other joint tissues.

Our expected outcome is to establish that OA-induced ligament dysfunction progresses with OA disease progression. Personalized treatments accounting for this ligament dysfunction should allow clinicians to restore more normal knee mechanics across OA-severities. In turn, this should slow osteoarthritis progression and create a more normal mechanical environment for reparative and regenerative treatment.


The Influence of Mindfulness on Patient-Reported Outcomes and Readiness to Return to Sport Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Surgery

Principal Investigators:
Drew Watson, MD, MS and Brian Walczak, DO, PhD

M. Alison Brooks, MD, MPH
Richard Davidson, PhD
Claudia Reardon, MD

Study Background

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries remain an unfortunately common, serious issue among adolescents, with significant long-term impacts on well-being. Despite considerable prior research in this area, ACL reconstruction surgery continues to be complicated by low rates of return to sport and significant psychological distress. Athletes report prolonged fear of re-injury, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and low return to sport rates. Additionally, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that severe injuries can have prolonged negative impacts on quality of life and potentially serve as a trigger for the development of mental illness.

Nonetheless, there is little information regarding interventions to improve psychosocial outcomes after ACL reconstruction.

The goal of this research is to evaluate the efficacy of mindfulness training to improve short-term outcomes following ACL reconstruction, as well as the factors that influence both efficacy and participant compliance. This will lead directly to extramural funding to support a larger clinical trial with extended follow-up to evaluate the effect of mindfulness on return to sport and re-injury rates following ACL reconstruction.



To learn more about the Freedom of Movement fund, visit these additional resources: