Winter 2006

ABC Fellowship Forms International Links

UCSF orthopaedic surgeon Sigurd Berven, M.D., was one of seven American and Canadian surgeons to take part in the prestigious 2005 ABC Exchange Traveling Fellowship. The group visited orthopaedic centers in Britain and South Africa and shared with their hosts their interests in orthopaedic clinical care and basic science along with "good food, good drink and good fun," Berven says.

The ABC Exchange Traveling Fellowship was originally called the America, Britain, Canada Fellowship when it was begun in 1948 by Canadian orthopaedist Robert Harris, M.D. Harris invited 13 British orthopaedic surgeons to visit centers in North America that year, during the rebuilding period after World War II. In 1949, 15 orthopaedic surgeons from the United States and Canada visited Britain and the exchange has continued since in this alternating fashion. South Africa was added to the tour in 1983, and Australia and New Zealand were added in 1985.

The ABC Fellowship is a prestigious, highly competitive and sought-after honor awarded to those who are identified as the future leaders of orthopaedic surgery. Former fellows from UCSF have included David Bradford, M.D., and Ted Miclau, M.D., who have served as chairs of the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

The 2005 ABC exchange fellows were Berven, R. Lor Randall, M.D., of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City who completed his orthopaedic residency at UCSF; Kenneth Egol, M.D., of NYU-Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York; David Ring, M.D. of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; Javad Parvizi, M.D. of Rothman Institute at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia; Michael Dunbar, M.D., Ph.D., of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; and Kenneth Faber, M.D., of the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

The group's three weeks in Britain included stops in Oxford, Sheffield, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Middlesbrough and London. A priority in National Health Service hospitals in Britain shortening waiting times for surgery. "At times, this administrative priority was in conflict with the priority assessments of surgeons and physicians," Berven says.

Berven observed that in the outpatient setting in the United Kingdom, registrars (residents), fellows and physiotherapists play an important role in extending the care of the orthopaedic consultant. This extended team often manages preoperative assessments as well as postoperative follow-up.

South Africa provided the group with a view of the mix of medical problems seen in the world's wealthiest countries and in the poorest. While resources in North America and Britain are directed toward discretionary procedures, this is not the case in South Africa. "The limited health care resources available to South African surgeons were consumed by trauma and infection," Berven says. "Elective orthopaedic care is largely inaccessible to large portions of the South African population."

In their travels through Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Capetown, Stellenbosch and Durban, the ABC fellows saw medical facilities that ranged from converted army barracks to modern facilities with the latest equipment.

Berven observed that the medical system in South Africa now is well integrated racially and has come a long way since the days of apartheid, but is challenged by the scope of health problems in the nation. "We were struck by the prevalence of conditions that are uncommon in wealthy countries, particularly the musculoskeletal manifestations of tuberculosis."

Berven says the ABC fellowship enabled the participants to develop academic relationships and personal friendships that will foster closer ties in orthopaedic medicine.

UCSF will be one of the hosts this year for visiting ABC fellows from Britain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Sigurd Berven can be contacted at (415) 353-2218.

Related Information

News Releases

Program to Protect Research Participants Wins Accreditation
A UCSF program to protect research participants gained full accreditation, after a rigorous review, from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs.