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Robert F. Kepley, M.D. Orthopaedic Fellowship

Michael Askew, Ph.D.  Director, Walter A. Hoyt Jr. Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedics, Orthopaedic Focus Winter 2010

The department of orthopaedic surgery at summa health system formally announced the establishment of the Robert F. Kepley, M.D. orthopaedic fellowship at the 2010 annual graduating senior resident recognition dinner held June 19, 2010.

This fellowship has been made possible by a $1 million donation by the Rice family. They established this fellowship to honor Robert F. Kepley, M.D., Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Summa Health System, for the orthopaedic care he provided to Mr. Rice’s mother, Hanna Rice.

“We got to know him and then became gigantic fans and respected his talent and his compassion of the individual,” Mr. Rice said. “This opportunity came along, and we felt it was a great way to honor him for his dedication to the patients and his skill level and, secondly, to help with the research possibilities and to hopefully encourage young physicians to do research here.”

Members of the Rice family were honored guests at the dinner and received the acknowledgement and thanks of the entire Summa orthopaedic community for their extreme generosity and dedication to the people of Akron by making this outstanding donation.

On behalf of the entire Summa family, Thomas J. Strauss, president and CEO, Summa Health System, said: “We are so grateful to the Rice family for their generosity. Dr. Kepley is a very technically gifted surgeon who embodies the humanistic approach to healing. This is a very befitting honor for him and will have a remarkable impact on orthopaedic training and research at Summa – and thousands of patients – for many years to come.”

The Kepley Fellowship will be administered by the Summa Foundation with an advisory board consisting of Robert F. Kepley, M.D.; Scott D. Weiner, M.D.; Jeffrey Junko, M.D.; Michael J. Askew, Ph.D.; and Leann M. Speering, MS, CCRP, representing orthopaedic clinical practice and orthopaedic research and education.

The fellowship will provide one year of research support for resident-initiated projects. The resident and project receiving the fellowship each year will be selected in an annual competition based on submission of a detailed, written research proposal.

The proposal may be on any orthopaedic-related subject but preference will be given to those associated with joint replacement surgery, an area of special clinical and research interest of Dr. Kepley.

The fellowship will be awarded based on: the clinical value of the outcomes of the planned project; the feasibility of the project and its probability of success; the appropriateness of the project and budget for a one-year period; and the possibility of it leading to further externally funded extensions of the research area.

The Kepley Fellowship will have lasting impact on the careers of the residents selected to be Kepley fellows. It will be a much sought-after award not only because of the acclaim it will bestow upon its recipient but also by the allowance of residents to tackle more complex projects that require sophisticated expertise and equipment.

The fellowship will allow the establishment of collaborations with university faculty with access to advanced techniques and graduate student assistance or the formation of alliances with local biomedical industries under the auspices of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron.

Residents will seek these advantages from the Kepley Fellowship and use them as stepping stones to highly desirable and highly competitive post-residency fellowship positions that have become almost essential in the training of today’s orthopaedic surgeon.

The existence of the Robert F. Kepley, M.D. Orthopaedic Fellowship and its attendant opportunities may act as an attraction for medical students looking for an orthopaedic residency and a future career in orthopaedic research.