We are excited to announce that Ann Van Heest, MD, professor, residency program director, and vice chair of education, has been inducted into the University of Minnesota Academy for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. The Academies for Excellence recognizes outstanding faculty in the areas of scientific research, educational scholarship, clinical practice, and team science. Dr. Van Heest was nominated by Professor Elizabeth Arendt, MD, and is the first from our department to receive this award. Dr. Van Heest has made significant contributions to the department, University, and state of Minnesota throughout her tenure, and we are honored to have her on our faculty.

Dr. Van Heest completed medical school and orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Minnesota and went on to the Harvard Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery and Pediatric Hand Surgery Fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital / Children's Hospital in Boston, MA. In 1993, she returned to the University of Minnesota Department of Orthopedic Surgery as faculty. Since then, the treatment of children with hand and upper extremity disorders, clinical research, and education of future orthopedic surgeons have been the pillars of her work. As the department’s residency program director for 17 years, one of her core initiatives has been to increase gender diversity in orthopedic surgery, since just 14 percent of orthopedic surgery residents are female, the lowest of any surgical specialty.

With leadership from Dr. Van Heest and a growing number of female faculty, the department has had 25 percent female residency graduates over the last decade. Dr. Van Heest has also been active in the Perry Initiative, a program that exposes young women to careers in orthopedic surgery and biomechanics. She has served on its board of directors since 2015 and hosts annual events in the department. She was also elected President of the Ruth Jackson Society in 2009, an organization dedicated to promoting the professional development of women in orthopedics throughout all stages of their careers.

Another major initiative at the beginning of her tenure as residency program director was to increase the residency complement from six to eight positions per year and expand rotations to include TRIA Orthopedic Center and Regions Hospital. As two residents were phased in annually over the span of five years, the curriculum was completely restructured to what it encompasses today. The additional rotation sites also added to the breadth and depth of resident education. Dr. Van Heest earned the Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award in 2011, the highest recognition for an ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) program director for her work advancing all aspects of orthopedic education. She also received the American Orthopaedic Association's (AOA) Distinguished Clinician Educator Award in 2018. 

Dr. Van Heest has also been a leader in national orthopedic organizations. She is serving on the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) from 2016-2026, and is currently secretary of the ABOS. She also serves as secretary on the Executive Committee of the AOA. She was recently appointed to the ACGME Residency Review Committee (RRC), which is responsible for accreditation of orthopedic surgery residency and fellowships in the United States. She also served as President of the Twin Cities Orthopaedic Society in 1995 and the Wallace Cole Society in 2008.

We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Van Heest as a leader and educator within our department and extend our congratulations for this achievement!