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Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center Offers Five-Year Residency and One-Year Fellowship in Orthopedic Surgery

May 1, 2023

Program funded through generosity of Kathleen E. Christie and led by renowned orthopedic oncologist, Dr. James C. Wittig

May 1, 2023, Morristown, New Jersey – Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center announced today that it has established a comprehensive medical education program comprised of a five-year orthopedic surgery residency and one year fellowship in Adult Reconstruction.

Both programs will be led by James C. Wittig, MD, Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics, Morristown Medical Center and Medical Director, Orthopedics and Orthopedic Oncology, Atlantic Health System and Associate Program Director, Ellen Dean, MD, Chief of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, Morristown Medical Center and John Dundon, MD, Chief of Adult Reconstruction, Morristown Medical Center. They will offer a comprehensive and fully immersive curriculum that includes clinical training in orthopedics, didactic learning and extensive patient care experience, ensuring the future quality of orthopedic medicine at Morristown Medical Center.

In 2022, more than one million total hip and knee replacements were performed in the U.S. and that number is expected to double over the next decade.

“Establishing these programs at Morristown Medical Center will enable us to build on our solid foundation, allowing us to welcome new surgeons trained in the highest standards while helping to meet growing patient demand,” said Dr. Wittig. “We are already highly competitive in attracting the finest minds and brightest surgical talent in the country to practice here, and we’re excited to bring this latest offering to the future leaders of orthopedic surgery.”

Made possible by the incredible generosity of Kathleen E. Christie, president of the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center, the Christie Family Orthopedic Residency Program recently received Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accreditation and has started recruiting for the July 2023 class. The Christie Family Orthopedic Fellowship is also actively recruiting for its first two fellows who will begin their one-year tenure during the 2024 academic year.

“Kathy Christie’s transformational gift will have a substantial impact on the medical center’s ability to continue to advance medical education in orthopedics,” said Jennifer L. Smith, Chief Development Officer, Foundation for Morristown Medical Center. “The benefit to the hospital and the communities we serve will be far-reaching and we are truly grateful to Kathy for all she continues to do to support ongoing excellence in orthopedics at Morristown Medical Center.”

Morristown Medical Center’s orthopedic department has over 100 active physicians on staff representing nine orthopedic disciplines, including seven fellowship-trained orthopedic trauma surgeons. This past year approximately 11,500 orthopedic surgeries were performed at Morristown Medical Center. Over the next five years, the hospital projects that the number of orthopedic surgical procedures will increase by at least 1,000 cases annually.

Christie Family Orthopedic Residency and Fellowship Programs

The creation of the Christie Family Orthopedic Residency and Fellowship Programs is an essential step in the hospital’s development as a world-class orthopedic center. In New Jersey, a mere nine accredited orthopedic residency programs exist, and only 154 are available across the nation. Of the top 50 orthopedic centers in the United States, all 50 have a robust orthopedic fellowship program. These critical continuing-education initiatives enable the hospital to build a funnel of new surgeons trained to the highest standards who can help meet growing patient demand. The residency and fellowship programs also benefit the hospital’s research efforts and elevate its regional and national profile, as the orthopedic department continues to pursue the best surgical talent to train and practice at Morristown Medical Center and Atlantic Health System.

About Dr. James C. Wittig

James C. Wittig, MD is Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics, Morristown Medical Center, and Medical Director, Orthopedic Oncology, Atlantic Health System. Dr. Wittig is responsible for ensuring outstanding quality, academic excellence, and optimal operational performance across its seven hospitals. Dr. Wittig is one of approximately 100 orthopedic oncologists in the nation. His work treating and researching pediatric and adult patients with bone and soft tissue cancers and benign tumors and metastatic cancers is internationally recognized. He is actively involved in clinical research, about which he lectures and publishes frequently. Dr. Wittig wrote and co-edited Techniques in Orthopedic Surgical Oncology -- the sole textbook that details surgical procedures in orthopedic oncology.

About Orthopedics at Atlantic Health System

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Morristown Medical Center is one of the 30 best hospitals in the nation for orthopedics (#1 in New Jersey) and named a high performing hospital for knee replacement, hip replacement and hip fracture. Whether it's a minor injury, or a major impairment, many Americans will require orthopedic care at some point in their lives. When they do, they can turn to Atlantic Health System for nationally recognized, multidisciplinary treatments that span pre-surgical education through post-operative rehabilitation.

Performing more than 4,000 joint replacements each year, Morristown Medical Center’s orthopedic service line is an industry leader in minimal incision surgery and gender-specific knee technology. Its board-certified surgeons are aided by cutting-edge diagnostics and robotic equipment that result in faster recoveries, greater range of motion and smaller scars.

For children with musculoskeletal impairments, orthopedic specialists collaborate with pediatricians from Atlantic Health System Children's Health and those on staff at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in all aspects of orthopedic care. This includes state-of-the-art diagnostics, surgical treatment and assistive technology, such as custom bracing and walkers.

Atlantic Health System has one of the few programs in the region offering limb-sparing surgery to treat adults and children with bone and soft tissue sarcomas. This past year almost 500 orthopedic oncology and sarcoma related procedures were performed. Its surgical team is highly trained in removing both cancerous and benign tumors, while preserving the surrounding anatomy, so patients can avoid amputation.

One of only four hospitals in New Jersey verified a Level 1 Regional Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons, Morristown Medical Center is equipped to treat the most serious orthopedic injuries. This includes isolated fractures, non-unions or fractures that won’t heal, and mal-unions or fractures that have healed in a poor position. In addition, Atlantic Sports Health, has highly trained physicians who are experts at diagnosing and treating injuries sustained during athletic competition. Morristown Medical Center received Joint Commission advanced certification in total hip and total knee replacement and Joint Commission certification in spine surgery.

About Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System is at the forefront of medicine, setting standards for quality health care in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the New York metropolitan area. Powered by a workforce of more than 19,000 team members and 4,800 affiliated physicians dedicated to building healthier communities, Atlantic Health System serves more than half of the state of New Jersey including 12 counties and 6.2 million people. The not-for-profit system offers more than 400 sites of care, including its seven hospitals: Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, Newton Medical Center in Newton, NJ, Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, NJ, Hackettstown Medical Center in Hackettstown, NJ, Goryeb Children’s
Hospital in Morristown, NJ, Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute in Madison, NJ and through its partnership with CentraState Healthcare System in Freehold, NJ.

Atlantic Medical Group, comprised of 1,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, represents one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New Jersey and joins Atlantic Accountable Care Organization and Optimus Healthcare Partners as part of Atlantic Alliance, a Clinically Integrated Network of more than 2,500 health care providers throughout northern and central NJ.

Atlantic Health System provides care for the full continuum of health care needs through 23 urgent care centers, Atlantic Visiting Nurse and Atlantic Anywhere Virtual Visits. Facilitating the connection between these services on both land and air is the transportation fleet of Atlantic Mobile Health.

Atlantic Health System leads the Healthcare Transformation Consortium, a partnership of six regional hospitals and health systems dedicated to improving access and affordability and is a founding member of the PIER Consortium – Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research – a streamlined clinical trial system that will expand access to groundbreaking research across five health systems in the region.

Atlantic Health System has a medical school affiliation with Thomas Jefferson University and is home to the regional campus of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Morristown and Overlook.