PM&R Sports Medicine: An Interview with Leda Ghannad, MD
Leda Ghannad, MD
2014 – 2015 Pediatric Sports Medicine Fellow
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago/McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University
How did you become interested in pediatric sports medicine?
Dr. Ghannad: I became interested in pediatric sports medicine during an elective I did during my PM&R PGY3 at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, department of orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine. I found that I was seeing far more true sports-related injuries in kids than I had in the past with adults in my clinics. It was also a fun patient population to work with. The majority of patients I saw were high school athletes who were very motivated to get better and get back to their sports.
How many pediatric sports medicine fellowships are in the country?
Dr. Ghannad: There are about 14 ACGME-accredited primary care sports medicine fellowships that are sponsored by pediatric departments. What this usually means is that these programs have a special focus on treating pediatric patients with sports injuries, while still meeting the requirements of an ACGME primary care sports medicine fellowship.
How is the curriculum of your pediatric sports medicine fellowship structured?
Dr. Ghannad: The curriculum is structured similar to primary care sports medicine programs. I spend half of my week in pediatric-focused clinics, including pediatric orthopedic sports medicine, pediatric primary care sports medicine (including concussion clinic), pediatric orthopedic spine (scoliosis) clinic, and pediatric orthopedic hand clinic. The other half of my week is spent in adult clinics, including a university student health musculoskeletal clinic, PM&R sports and spine clinic, and adult orthopedic sports medicine clinic.
Besides the age of the patient, what are some of the differences between a traditional sports medicine fellowship and a pediatric sports medicine fellowship?
Dr. Ghannad: Pediatric sports medicine fellowships tend to be less procedure and/or injection heavy. Our patients have more injuries directly related to sports participation, as opposed to degenerative conditions seen more often in adult populations. Our treatment plans primarily involve conservative management or surgical intervention, if needed. We also deal with more psychosocial issues at times, coordinating care between the patient, parents, coaches, and schools, and focus more on community outreach projects to educate parents and kids on injury prevention.
Is there game coverage during your fellowship?
Dr. Ghannad: There are ample opportunities for game coverage during my fellowship, including varsity division I sports, university club sports, high school football, Olympic level ice skating, and local running competitions.
What job opportunities does a pediatric fellowship create for you?
Dr. Ghannad: I was able to apply to primary care sports medicine jobs and PM&R general rehabilitation and musculoskeletal jobs. My fellowship made me more marketable toward primary care sports medicine jobs because of the extra training in treating pediatric patients.
What have you enjoyed most during your fellowship?
Dr. Ghannad: The best part of my fellowship has been working as part of the sports medicine team at Lurie Children’s Hospital, including our attending physicians, athletic trainers, nurses, and administrative assistants. It has been a very positive team to work with. Our entire department is dedicated and enthusiastic about keeping kids healthy and active.
Where do you see the field of pediatric sports medicine in 10 years?
Dr. Ghannad: I think there will be an even greater need for pediatric-focused sports medicine physicians in the future as more and more kids are involved in competitive sports at a younger age. I also anticipate more research on injury prevention, especially when it comes to ACL injuries and concussions.
What recommendations do you have for residents that may be interested in a pediatric sports medicine fellowship?
Dr. Ghannad: I would recommend researching the different program options by searching pediatric sports medicine on the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). You can apply to most fellowships through ERAS as well. The deadlines are similar to other primary care sports medicine fellowships. Another great resource is the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) website or AMSSM fellowship fair held at their national conference each spring.