OU Medicine Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon Elected President of North American Organization
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
OU Medicine orthopedic surgeon David C. Teague, M.D., is serving as president of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, an organization that advances research, education and patient care for orthopedic trauma surgeons in the United States and Canada.
At OU Medicine, Teague treats injured patients at the Level 1 Trauma Center, Oklahoma’s only comprehensive trauma facility, and in the post-trauma reconstructive setting. He also serves as professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation in the OU College of Medicine, helping to train the orthopedic surgeons of tomorrow. Teague brings that experience to the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, which has 2,500 members, including about 350 members from Europe, South America and Asia.
“The Orthopaedic Trauma Association is a wonderful story of collaboration,” Teague said. “Our founding members were visionaries who established an organization dedicated to supporting the field and nurturing young orthopedic trauma surgeons in their research and clinical careers.”
One of Teague’s initiatives while president of OTA is improving the process for orthopedic trauma surgeons to cross state lines to help their colleagues in the aftermath of a disaster. Because of states’ differing credentialing, licensing and liability laws, it is difficult for surgeons to travel to other states and help in the wake of a tornado, for example, Teague said.
“We’re trying to make that process more straightforward so that, if Oklahoma has another F-5 tornado, then we have a mechanism in place for our colleagues from Dallas to be on a pre-cleared list so they can come help if we need it,” he said. “States need to have a plan in place so they don’t have to address it in the aftermath of a horrible event.”
Under Teague’s leadership, the OTA has established an “association of associations” called IOTA, the International Orthopaedic Trauma Association. The OTA joins about 16 similar groups from around the world to promote trauma education and resources. As a global group, they meet every three years.
For its research focus, the OTA awards $750,000 a year to surgeons and residents to conduct research that moves the field forward. Those grants have been leveraged to attract millions of dollars in extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations. Teague also recently represented OTA and OU Medicine at the Extremity War Symposium in Washington, D.C. Along with similar groups, the OTA is taking on an advocacy role on behalf of military veterans, who face distinct injuries from their time on the battlefield.
“This year, we’ve been talking to Congress about the need for continued funding for wounded warriors and research-related gaps in our understanding of how to help them improve,” he said.
The OTA also oversees orthopedic trauma fellowship programs around the United States, working with the American College of Surgeons to verify that each program is offering quality education and training.
Orthopedic trauma surgery is a challenging yet gratifying subspecialty of medicine, Teague said, because no surgery is ever the same and surgeons must expect the unexpected. Teague said he is thankful for the opportunity to represent the field and work toward improved treatments for patients.
“I’m fortunate to be engaged in national and international trauma work,” he said. “It speaks to the level of support from the OU College of Medicine, the OU Medical Center and especially from my partners in the department.”