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Stepping Strong Injury Prevention Fellow
Stepping Strong Injury Prevention Fellow

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. The center has three fellowship programs.

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.

We are grateful to our previous Stepping Strong Trauma Fellows, who are now applying lessons learned about caring for trauma patients in the USA and beyond.

  • 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)

Michelle Joseph, MBBS, BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, FRCSMichelle 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 on 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.

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.

Justin Gelzhiser, PhDThe Stepping Strong Center welcomed Justin Gelzhiser, PhD, as the inaugural Stepping Strong Injury Prevention fellow in 2020. Previously, Gelzhiser served as a visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health within Harvard’s Injury Control Research Center. He completed his PhD studies at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education in social science and comparative education, and a master’s degree in intercultural communication from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Gelzhiser’s deep appreciation for K-12 and higher education teaching and research has led him to work both in the United States and abroad, including a significant amount of time spent in South Africa, Costa Rica, Japan, and China.

Sarabeth Spitzer, MDSarabeth 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, Dr. Spitzer is currently a candidate for a Master’s in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The Stepping Strong Amputee Rehabilitation Fellowship

It is with great excitement that we announce the establishment of the Stepping Strong Amputee Rehabilitation Fellowship program. This first-of-its kind fellowship will combine civilian and military multidisciplinary clinical and research expertise and training at Mass General Brigham organizations including the Brigham, Mass General, and Spaulding Rehabilitation, as well as the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The inaugural fellow will work 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, MDTawnee 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.

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