JPOSNA® Reviewer Profile
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Volume 5, Number 3, August 2023
The goal of the JPOSNA® Reviewer Profile Series is to periodically recognize an outstanding member of our volunteer JPOSNA® peer reviewer board. We aim to highlight the exceptional work these individuals do for our Journal, without whom JPOSNA® would not be possible.
What are your subspecialty interests (if any) within Pediatric Orthopaedics?
I have a diverse practice that is typical of pediatric orthopaedics. I have a special interest in spinal deformity and enjoy the process of planning and collaborating with other specialists to optimize those patients for surgery. I also care for patients with DDH, clubfoot, traumatic injuries, and a variety of metabolic, neuromuscular, and genetic syndromes. I am lucky to practice in a center where we have excellent multispecialty clinics.
Research has always been an inspiring complement to my clinical practice, and I enjoy collaborating with other members of POSNA and the Pediatric Spine Study group. I am excited about several of my current projects that focus on ways to reduce surgical waste and increase surgeon engagement in lean, efficient surgical practices. I am pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sustainability Leadership, and I hope this will help me empower and enable other clinicians and administrators to reduce their environmental footprint on an individual or institutional level.
Where did you complete your pre-medical, post-graduate (if any), and medical education?
Growing up, my family moved several times, so I lived in Seattle, San Francisco, and ultimately attended high school in Atlanta, GA. Aside from a few broken bones, I had little experience with healthcare, and I did not have relationships with any physicians. I was a history major at Yale, and I wrote my senior thesis on the role of key Russian immigrants in the rise and fall of the American Communist Party. Sensibly (and to my parents’ immense relief), I also completed my pre-medical requirements. Several non-medical summer jobs in New York and London convinced me that I enjoyed analytical tasks, but a desk job was not for me. I wanted a career that would allow me to challenge myself intellectually, provide service and kindness to others, and work to create a legacy for future physicians and patients through research and education. I was excited to return to Atlanta for medical school, and Emory School of Medicine was a great fit. I made a number of wonderful friends and enjoyed the support of family nearby.
Where did you complete your residency and fellowship training?
I elected to stay at Emory for my orthopaedic surgery residency. I enjoyed working with children and their families from the very beginning, and I found peds call felt much less burdensome than my other call duties. I applied for a fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics and fell in love with the program at the University of Utah. It offered a unique experience—fellows split their time between a large, tertiary care pediatric hospital and the busy Salt Lake City Shriners Hospital for Children. These two models of care were an interesting yin and yang for me, and I was able to take care of unique pediatric populations while furthering my understanding of different healthcare models and ways patients access care. I was also able to continue building a supportive network of surgeon mentors.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I have always enjoyed being active and spending time outside. In the summer, my husband and I love to hike and swim with our dog, Lula. Living in Wisconsin, we have explored an extensive network of gravel trails on our bikes, always looking for spots to get tacos or cheese curds (a local delicacy!). During the winter, we are partial to downhill skiing, but we have also learned to love cross-country skiing to make the most of our local landscape.
Like many other surgeons, I like working with my hands, and I enjoy making and sharing art. COVID inspired me to join a local pottery studio, where I made more mugs and bowls than we have room to store in our small kitchen. I also dabble in painting and drawing. I love to read, watch tennis or Formula 1 races, and cook dinners to share with friends.
What was/were the most influential factor(s) in your decision to pursue a career in Pediatric Orthopaedics?
I enjoyed each of my residency rotations for different reasons, but felt most at home on my peds rotations. Dr. Nicholas Fletcher and Dr. Robert Bruce were wonderful residency role models, demonstrating the careful planning and meticulous attention to detail needed to deliver excellent care to their patients. I continue to feel that my colleagues at UW—Dr. Ken Noonan and Dr. Pam Lang—are as much friends and teammates as they are co-workers to me. I am so grateful to the many families that place their trust in me. Every clinic day, I get to learn and teach our residents about the unique requirements of caring for an immature musculoskeletal system—respecting the physes, anticipating how current treatments will impact future growth, and preparing for that future. It is a humbling but enormously rewarding job, and I am so happy to share it with a community of other kindhearted pediatric orthopaedic surgeons!
Dr. Bellaire will be starting a new position at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in September 2023.