Building the Future of Orthopaedics in Texas: San Antonio

As the Texas population continues to grow and age, musculoskeletal injuries, conditions and diseases will only increase. TSAOG Orthopaedics & Spine recognized that now is the time to develop the pipeline to ensure that Texas features an adequate pool of orthopaedic surgeons and musculoskeletal clinicians to address the future demand. In response, TSAOG partners with two San Antonio-area high schools to expose students to potential future careers in medicine.

Cast Med High School Partnership

TSAOG’s partnership with Cast Med High School began in 2022 with a paid internship for one of Cast Med’s students at a TSAOG clinic. Fast forward to 2023, and TSAOG now has two interns from Cast Med performing rotations in the TSAOG clinic.

Cast Med’s intent “is to provide high school students a strong foundation, especially in mathematics and science, so that they can be successful once they enroll in college and achieve their medical career aspirations.”

College coursework is featured in Cast Tech’s high school curriculum, and it allows students to graduate with a high school diploma and a minimum of 30 hours of college coursework.

The school also features partnerships with UT Health, UTSA and hospitals.

P-TECH High School Partnership

The P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) allows high school students to earn college tuition credits while in high school, and these credits can be applied to health care education at higher education institutions in the San Antonio area. Some P-TECH students earn associate degrees in health care fields while in high school.

P-TECH’s partnership with TSAOG began in 2022 when members of the TSAOG team began going to campus to interview 48 of P-TECH’s juniors and graduating seniors. TSAOG hired two P-TECH students who completed their certified nurse assistant (CAN) certificate while at P-TECH.

TSAOG’s partnership with P-TECH is only growing. In 2023, TSAOG hosted 76 incoming freshmen at TSAOG’s Ridgewood Orthopaedic Center. The students toured the ambulatory surgery center and clinic, participated in a saw bones lab and, most important, met orthopaedic surgeons and other clinicians, who will serve as future mentors.

TSAOG is now talking to P-TECH about the possibility of creating a surgical technologist program at the school due to the growing demand for surgical technologists.

What Orthopaedic Surgeons Are Saying:

We hope by bringing these young people into our practice at an early age, we can inspire a vision for what a medical career would look like. We hope they can develop relationships that can serve as mentorships as they move forward in the medical field. We already see this in our practice where some young people initially start with us as medical assistants and progress to nursing school, PA school, and at least one of them that I know is applying to medical school. If we can increase the diversity in the medical field at all levels, by both demographic and life experiences, it will only serve to improve medical care in the future.

– Stephen Drukker, MD

We are committed to helping solve the physician shortage within our community and our musculoskeletal practices. The partnerships with the schools are helping to develop the future medical professionals with the hopes they remain in San Antonio and Texas to serve our community for years to come.

– Kevin Kirk, DO