Program Overview/Philosophy 

The Walter Reed Orthopaedic Surgery Program develops young physicians to be world class orthopaedic surgeons. Our home hospital is Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the flagship institution for the Military Health System. WRNMMC is an academic medical center serving as the tertiary care referral center for mid-Atlantic region and beyond. It is a Level II Trauma Center, though we receive Medevac Missions from overseas with some of the most complicated orthopaedic injuries in the world. The program is designed to maximize exposure to all orthopaedic sub-specialties to create well-rounded, competent surgeons.

The Orthopaedic Surgery Department at Walter Reed has at least one fellowship trained attending in every subspecialty: Total Joint Reconstruction, Trauma, Spine, Foot/Ankle, Hand/Microsurgery, Sports, Shoulder/Elbow, Oncology, Pediatrics. In addition, we rotate at ten outside facilities to provide exposure to unique practice types, such as high-volume arthroplasty and Level I Trauma.

Welcome Letter from Current Program Director 

Military orthopaedic surgery has a rich history, and Walter Reed is the flagship institution! I want to personally welcome you to learn more about our premier training program. Our program produces six exceptional orthopaedic surgeons each year who go on to serve our nation's heroes.

The faculty at Walter Reed create an academically oriented environment to teach residents. They serve as mentors both in and out of the operating room. Residents become a part of a growing and prestigious alumni family. I believe it is the people that set Walter Reed ahead of other institutions, military and civilian.

We pride ourselves in not only creating technically competent surgeons, but also fostering fine military officers. Our physician-officers are compassionate, curious and professional. I am glad you are interested in Walter Reed Orthopaedics and invite you to visit us in Bethesda, MD. 

Current Program Director 

Dr. Tobin Eckel

[email protected] 

Current Program Administrator with Contact Information

Mr. Eric Brown

[email protected]            

Visiting Student Info

Rotating at Walter Reed is one of the most enjoyable parts of application season for our residents and staff. We enjoy teaching, getting to know the sub-interns, and the extra-hand with seeing patients or reducing bones. Being physically present and active with patient care allows the program to evaluate the candidate, and the candidate to evaluate the program. At the end of the day, our program is built on people and relationships; we want to ensure that we match the right person.

The best time to begin planning your rotation is during January or February during the third year of medical school. Typically, requests for rotating will not be reviewed until January, marking the kick off of interview season. One of the benefits of participating in the military match is that we welcome all potential residents to come and rotate with us. There is no specific application system for a sub-interns (i.e. we do not use Visiting Student Application System: VSAS). Simply e-mail the GME office at Walter Reed and our program coordinator to arrange a time. There tend to be a high volume of requests, so if we do not respond within three business days, please try again. If you still have not been able to reach our program coordinator, contact our resident representative and we help you arrange the rotation.

Sub-Internship Information

Fourth year medical students who are applying into orthopaedic surgery are encouraged to rotate at our program. We frequently have other students, such as third year medical students as a part of their Surgery Clerkship, or fourth year medical students going into emergency medicine or general medical officer. However, the rigor and rotation demands will be higher for sub-interns.

Students spend two weeks on two different orthopaedic services during their rotation. Our department is organized based on a team model. The five teams are as follows: 1) Arthroplasty 2) Sports 3)Hand 4) Pediatrics/Spine 5) Foot&Ankle/Trauma/Oncology

The rotation will be completed at Walter Reed. The orthopaedic department is located on the second floor of the America Building, Building 19 at the main Walter Reed Campus in Bethesda, MD.

The most common time to rotate is between July and September of four year of medical school. Medical schools typically allow enough flexibility for two to three away rotations during the beginning of fourth year. Students often complete their sub-internship in orthopaedics at their home institution followed by two or three away rotations.

How Long
Most students rotate with us for a full month. Some students rotate only for a few days or a week. In general, it is advisable to rotate at your top choice programs for one full month in order to demonstrate serious interest in the program. For those that are unable to rotate at, it is recommended that you contact our program to request an interview.

Unless instructed otherwise, please arrive to the first day of the rotation wearing your military working uniform. Report to the Internal Medicine Conference Room B on the second floor of America Building 19 at 0615 for our morning conference which starts at 0630. From there, you will be oriented and provided scrubs to wear for the remainder of the rotation. During the last day of your rotation, you will be expected to wear your dress uniform for the medical student presentation. For Army, this means Class A Uniform and for Navy, this means Khaki Service Uniform (though Summer White Service Uniform is acceptable too). If you are new to the military and are unsure how to properly set up your uniform, bring it with you and we will be glad to help you set it up when you arrive.

Each team has one PGY2 and one Chief assigned. They will be your primary contact through the rotation and help to assign you to operating rooms and clinics. While being in the OR is exciting, clinic and call shifts are just as important. Working in the clinic with an attending can provide meaningful interaction and ample teaching opportunities. Students are expected to take one call shift per week. Call functions to provide time to get to know junior residents as well as a chance to demonstrate competency by presenting one call case the following morning. Finally, students are expected to complete an 8-minute presentation of their choosing at the conclusion of their rotation.