The Stepping Strong Center is dedicated to training the next generation of medical leaders and providing educational and funding opportunities for healthcare professionals and learners who wish to contribute to the field and/or expand their understanding of traumatic injury.
We are grateful to our previous Stepping Strong Fellows, who are now applying lessons learned about caring for trauma patients in the USA and beyond.
- Tawnee Sparling, MD (2021-22)
- Justin Gelzhiser, PhD (2020-21)
- Tal Kaufman-Goldberg, MD (2020-21)
- Yori Endo, MD (2019–20)
- Justin C. McCarty, DO (2018–19)
- Trajan Alistair Cuéllar, MB, BCh (2017-18)
- Giorgio Giatsidis, MD (2016–17)
- Eugene Y. Fukudome, MD (2015–16)
The center hosts the following fellowship programs.
The Stepping Strong Trauma and Hand Fellowship
The Stepping Strong Trauma and Hand Fellowship is a comprehensive hand training program that focuses on treating traumatic injuries of the upper and lower limb, with a focus on reconstructive microsurgery as well as salvage following oncologic resection. The fellowship features comprehensive hand training including, total arthritis care, peripheral nerve surgery; total wrist care including salvage and arthroscopic procedures; with a focus on understanding multi-disciplinary algorithms, resource requirements, and allocation.
Jacques Zhang, MD, FRCSC, is a Canadian board-certified plastic surgeon, who comes to us from the beautiful west coast of Vancouver, British Columbia. Under the direction of Christian Sampson, MD, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Zhang as the inaugural Stepping Strong Trauma and Hand Fellow. After his undergraduate honor’s degree in pharmacology at McGill University, he completed his MD and Plastic Surgery Residency at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Zhang’s clinical interests include hand and wrist surgery, trauma surgery, peripheral nerve, and reconstructive microsurgery with an emphasis on lower extremity recon. In his time off, he enjoys a good tennis match, or you can find him on his bike.
The Stepping Strong Plastic Surgery Fellowship
The Stepping Strong Plastic Surgery Trauma Fellowship is a unique educational opportunity that enables promising young surgeons and researchers to train with experts to learn the most advanced, innovative techniques to transform trauma care. Under the direction of Christian E. Sampson, MD, fellows learn from and train alongside some of the world’s leading surgeons and researchers in collaboration with multidisciplinary colleagues from trauma, orthopaedic, vascular, plastic surgery, and other services.
Michelle Joseph, MBBS, BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, FRCS, is an academic orthopedic trauma surgeon with a clinical interest in orthoplastics lower-limb reconstruction and limb salvage. She is an instructor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and is the chief strategy and health equity officer for the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change (PGSSC) at Harvard Medical School. At the PGSSC, Joseph is the principal investigator on research studies in trauma systems strengthening in low- and middle-income countries (PROTHA Study (PROject Trauma HAiti), IMPACT Study (Integrated Military Partnerships and Civilian Trauma Systems), and studies developing health equity frameworks. Dr. Joseph graduated from University College London and trained in the Warwick Orthopedic Programme. In 2018, she was elected to the fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and appointed as a National Institute Health Research Clinical Lecturer at the University of Warwick. During her clinical training, Joseph completed her PhD, honing research methodology skills in lower limb biomechanics, randomized clinical trials, and systematic reviews. Under the direction of Andrea Pusic, MD, Dr. Joseph’s fellowship will go through June 2023.
The Stepping Strong Injury Prevention Fellowship
Building on the Stepping Strong Center’s focus on interdisciplinary, collaborative research, the Stepping Strong Injury Prevention Fellowship provides a wonderful opportunity for young investigators to explore social science and public health principles while supporting the Injury Prevention Program’s mission of reducing the number and severity of traumatic injuries in Boston and beyond.
Sarabeth Spitzer, MD, is a resident in the Department of General Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a research fellow at the Center for Surgery and Public Health. She began her Stepping Strong Injury Prevention fellowship in the summer of 2021 with a focus in firearm injury prevention. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in neurobiology, she received her MD at Stanford Medical School and was awarded the 2021-22 Zuckerman Fellowship, which rewards outstanding leaders from the fields of medicine, law, and business. In addition to pursuing her residency at the Brigham, Under the direction of Molly Jarman, PhD, Dr. Spitzer will serve until June 2023.
The Stepping Strong Amputee Rehabilitation Fellowship
This first-of-its kind fellowship combined civilian and military multidisciplinary clinical and research expertise and training across Mass General Brigham organizations and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The inaugural fellow, Tawnee Sparling, MD, worked with physiatrists and colleagues in plastic surgery, orthopedic trauma, ortho-oncology, and wound care to redefine the notion of limb loss restoration and longitudinal rehabilitation care.
Tawnee Sparling, MD, is the inaugural Stepping Strong Amputee Rehabilitation Fellow. Based at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Dr. Sparling will be collaborating with teams at the Brigham, Mass General, and Walter Reed Medical Center. She pursued her undergraduate studies at Duke University, majoring in evolutionary anatomy and graduating summa cum laude in 2012. She then worked at the Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory (K-Lab) at Duke, where she performed gait analyses on athletes and joint replacement patients. In 2017, she matriculated from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Most recently, she graduated in June 2021 from residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Dr. Sparling’s physiatry interests lie in the amputee population and limb restoration rehabilitation as well as quality improvement and medical education. She hopes to provide services and resources to patients dealing with limb loss in a time of growing technologies to help this small field within physiatry expand throughout the years.