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Yale Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation Welcomes Inaugural Total Joint Fellow

September 28, 2021
by John Ready

The Yale Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation welcomes Erik McDonald, MD, as the inaugural fellow in adult reconstruction (total joint replacement surgery).

McDonald joins Yale by way of California, where he completed his undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, before working as a mechanical engineer in the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Biomechanical Testing Facility Lab.

It was in this lab that he was first introduced to Yale Orthopaedics. McDonald worked alongside Associate Professor Michael Leslie, DO, who was completing his own fellowship in orthopaedic traumatology at the University of California, Davis.

McDonald then attended medical school at UCSF while completing a master’s degree in clinical research, graduating with distinction. Most recently, he completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at UCSF.

During residency, he also worked with Lisa Lattanza, MD, who, at the time, was a professor of orthopaedic surgery at UCSF prior to becoming the Yale department chair in 2019. “I have known Dr. McDonald since he was an undergraduate engineering student in the biomechanics lab at UCSF,” Lattanza said. “I then had the pleasure of participating in his training as an orthopaedic surgery resident at UCSF. We are lucky to have matched him here at Yale for our outstanding arthroplasty fellowship led by Dr. Lee Rubin.”

In May 2020, McDonald was selected as the recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award for Cherished Housestaff (T.E.A.C.H.) from the UCSF School of Medicine, reflecting his outstanding didactic skills and enduring commitment to the education of both medical students and residents. Recipients of this award are selected based on their dedication to teaching excellence, student experience, and exemplifying UCSF’s PRIDE values of professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity, and excellence.

Thomas Vail, MD, chair of Orthopedic Surgery at UCSF said, “Dr. McDonald is an exceptional clinician and educator. He goes above and beyond for his patients, colleagues, and medical students. He inspires others with his compassion, exceptional attention to detail, and solid work ethic. Congratulations to Dr. McDonald for this well-deserved recognition."

“I'm excited to be the first fellow and hopefully can live up to the Yale standard and start a legacy of a well-respected fellowship,” McDonald said. “I wanted to pursue a path in adult reconstruction because I loved how predictable and good the outcomes are for patients. We truly make people better.”

As the 2021-2022 Arthroplasty Fellow, McDonald will be directly involved with the clinical care, teaching, and research activities of the division, and will be credentialed as a clinical instructor of orthopaedic surgery. The fellowship is supervised by the core clinical faculty at Yale School of Medicine and is sponsored in close partnership with Yale New Haven Hospital. More information on the Yale Arthroplasty Fellowship is available here.

Submitted by John Ready on September 28, 2021