In 2013, Dr. William Stetson began journeying extensively to Romania to bring up to date techniques of shoulder surgery to the people. With the help of his partner, Dr. Guido Marra of Northwestern, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the team has made nearly a dozen trips to various cities over the last seven years. Their aim was to present lectures, perform live surgeries, and institute courses on advanced shoulder surgery techniques.
Dr. Stetson and Dr. Marra recognized that in order to provide a sustainable method of education, they would need to train a small group of orthopaedic surgeons that could replicate and improve upon their teachings over time. Thus in 2015, the two American doctors helped form the Romanian Comprehensive Shoulder Program, a three-year annual shoulder course that offered case-based learning and clinical patient assessments to Romanian orthopaedic surgeons and orthopaedic residents. There were particular emphases in arthroscopy and arthroplasty.
Following the program, Dr. Stetson and Dr. Marra assisted the local faculty in forming their own society so that the local orthopaedic surgeons could continue to run the course independently. About ten orthopaedic surgeons from Romania, one from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one from Serbia were inducted as the inaugural classes of the Romanian Association for Shoulder and Elbow Surgery and the Romanian Association for the Study of Shoulder Pathology.
In April 2018, the society held its first independent course on shoulder instability in Sibiu, Romania. Over 50 orthopaedic surgeons were in attendance from about five European nations, and about 100 physical therapists attended a course held in conjunction. Dr. Stetson attended the course on behalf of Operation Arthroscopy to provide insight and guidance while the Romanian Society paved its path towards an independent and enduring educational system. Since the course’s success, the Society is growing and has hosted other shoulder courses with a focus on rotator cuff pathology in April 2019 in Cluj, Romania and March 2020 in Croavia, Romania on shoulder arthroplasty.
In addition to help start the Romanian Shoulder and Elbow Society, Dr. Stetson and Dr. Marra have served as guest lecturers at the National Conference of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, hosted by the Romanian Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (SOROT) multiple times the most recent being in 2019. Dr. Stetson plans on continuing his work in Romania through a new form of teaching he intends to implement in the region using a new, interactive platform that streams surgery live to anywhere in the world via his new SurgTime Platform (www.surgtime.com). During his last sojourn to Romania, Dr. Stetson provided computer towers to two of the Romanian surgeons with aspirations to live stream their surgeries. Via the SurgTime Platform, Dr. Stetson’s orthopaedic education goals can more easily reach a global society, and he is just beginning to see the fruits of his labor.