Week 2:
The Adventure Continues

Dimensions Fellow in Orthopedic Research

Children's Hospital Colorado | Aurora, Colorado

June 23, 2019

This week was all about new adventures and stepping outside my comfort zone. I went to a barbecue festival in Frisco on Friday night and spent the rest of my weekend up in the mountains playing in a doubles volleyball tournament with my friend, Aubrey and her dog, Winnie. It was fun to get outside and do something I love. I am on the volleyball team at Cornell and it is always great to play during the summer. The best part though, was definitely the beautiful mountain views in Vail. Sunday night, I drove back to Denver and met up with my parents to eat some pizza for Father’s day.

My doubles partner and friend (Aubrey) and her dog Winnie who was our biggest cheerleader for the weekend.
Eating some chocolate covered strawberries at the barbecue festival in Frisco! They had some amazing food and even had pig races.

I hit the ground running on Monday, excited to get back to work. I was supposed to start shadowing on Monday, but some schedules got mixed up so I will hopefully be shadowing sometime next week. All the interns had an OR orientation to help us know our way around for when we shadow in surgery. I am hoping to see an Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) which is one of the procedures that I come across often in my chart reviews. I spent a lot of my time this week becoming more comfortable going through charts looking for physeal fractures and physeal bar occurrences.

Something that really attracts me to medicine is the opportunity to be involved in the story of a patients’ life. I enjoy hearing about people’s journeys and challenges, and at the same time I am fascinated with the science behind injury and the complexity of the human body. Going through the patient histories, I got to read so many unique stories this week while simultaneously learning about the disease and epidemiology behind many of their conditions. It was fascinating and insightful. Something that struck me however, was that I would go from a completely healthy patient who fell on the trampoline and sustained a fracture (this happens extremely often, apparently) to a child abuse case or polytraumatic car injury where the fracture was one injury of many. It is a good reminder about how special life is and it has also reminded me to live each day to the fullest and be open to new experiences.

    This week the US News and World Report ranked Children’s Hospital Colorado as a top ranked pediatric hospital again in 10 specialties! It is awesome to be a part of such a legacy.

Last week I mentioned I would talk more about Salter Harris Classifications which is a big aspect of my project. There are five main SH Classifications that are used to identify different types of physeal fractures and their severity.

  • SH I– fracture along the growth plate, good prognosis (5-7% )
  • SH II– fracture passes through growth plate and metaphysis (75%)
  • SH III– fracture passes along growth plate, and through epiphysis, poorer prognosis
    because proliferative and reserve zones are interrupted (7-10%)
  • SH IV– fracture passes through metaphysis, growth plate, epiphysis poor prognosis (10%)
  • SH V– crushing type injury that damages the growth plate by direct compression, worst prognosis (uncommon)

These are key diagnoses I look for when I am collecting data.

Also, as part of the summer research, we have journal clubs every week where one of the interns picks an article that we all read and that intern gives a presentation. After they present, we have a discussion about the article; asking questions about why certain variables or measures were used, the limitations, and any other challenges that come up when conducting a research study. Sophie was the intern this week and she presented on Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and cerebral palsy. I really enjoyed delving more into a subject like CVD that I already had knowledge about, while also learning more about cerebral palsy.

I attended a few lectures on the medical campus this week, which were unique new experiences. It was fun to be in a giant lecture hall surrounded by doctors, fellows, and residents. The first lecture I attended addressed Fascioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy. The lecture focused on genetic research which was interesting since I just took Genetics at Cornell with my awesome advisor, Craig Tepper this past semester. All the interns also had a lecture this week on concussions and current treatment options and improvements. It was interesting learning about how a new treatment method utilizes gait analysis to diagnose and create treatment options. This also happens to be a big component of the MRC (musculoskeletal research center) here at Children’s Hospital.

The beautiful sunrise early in the morning (around 5am) heading to yoga at the Health and Wellness Center on campus.

I also explored some new classes at the Health and Wellness Center gym this week. I normally complete my volleyball workouts after a day at the hospital, but I tried a lot of group classes this week including Zumba and sunrise yoga as well. I had so much fun doing something completely new for exercise and it was rewarding to be outside of my comfort zone. Overall, it was a week full of new adventures. I feel like I am settling in to my work schedule and I am excited to continue with my research again on Monday! This weekend, I will be heading up to Evergreen for some hiking and mountain biking.




Alicia Phillips '20

Alicia is a biochemistry and molecular biology major and a psychology minor from Colorado Springs, Colorado.