Irvin Oh, MD joined the Yale Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation as its Foot and Ankle Surgery Division Chief on April 1.
Dr. Oh, a South Korea native, comes to Yale from the University of Rochester Medical Center, where he served as an associate professor. Before Rochester, Dr. Oh worked in private practice, was a fellow at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and completed his residency at the Samsung Medical Center in South Korea.
“It's a fascinating time to be an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon: there's a lot of advancement in the field," Oh said. "I’m excited to start at Yale: I’ve met with past residents of the program and I see lots of opportunities for expanding what we do with the Foot and Ankle Division. Our understanding of foot and ankle biomechanics has improved and new reconstruction options, such as total ankle replacements, are getting better and other innovative reconstruction options are coming out. There's so many things we can do to help these patients who suffer from conditions that impact their mobility and improve their quality of life."
Dr. Oh first became interested in orthopaedics following his military experience in South Korea, where he noticed many soldiers suffering various foot and ankle injuries following long days of marches and other high intensity training exercises. Dr. Oh was a military doctor, but said some of the common injuries he encountered made him think more about how even subtle changes can impact a patient’s daily life.
“I had this moment where I thought to myself that this is important, not only for people who can't walk, but also for people who walk for whatever the things they have to do in their daily lives,” Oh said. “Whether it's a physical labor, running or enjoying recreational activities, it's a fundamental structure that maybe we don’t think enough about. Biomechanically it’s complicated, so as a surgeon you have to build a picture of what the problem is and how you’re then going to go about solving it.”
Dr. Oh's work has focused on the foot's biomechanics and combining patient-reported outcomes to look for ways to improve existing treatments. That matches well with the Department's push to develop new surgical innovations and its expansion with 3D surgical planning and creating patient-specific implants for complex cases, he said. Dr. Oh received a grant from the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) and Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) to investigate the biomechanical effect of a surgical procedure (lateral column lengthening) for treatment of flatfoot deformity. Outside of his biomechanics research, Dr. Oh has received National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants to investigate the clinical applicability of immunoassay for diagnosis of staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections in orthopaedic infection patients.
“I respect that the Yale approach is putting patients first above all other interests,” Oh said. “I think that’s why my work is a good fit for Yale: it combines well with the department’s interest in clinical outcomes and biomechanical research. I see this as an opportunity to do research and clinically-driven work to truly help patients.”
“We are excited to have Dr. Oh join us here at Yale Orthopaedics and Rehabiliation. He comes to us with a national and international reputation for excellence in his research and expertise in his clinical work said Lisa L. Lattanza, MD, FAOA, FAAOS, Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation. “We are looking forward to what undoubtedly will be a significantly positive impact on Foot and Ankle clinical care, resident education and research and innovation.”