U of M Department of Orthopaedic Surgery alumnus, Jefferson Brand, MD, specializes in sports medicine and arthroscopy at Heartland Orthopedics in Alexandria, MN, where he has practiced since 1990. Since completing his orthopaedic surgery residency at the U in 1989, Brand has been involved in innumerable facets of orthopaedic service — from being a team physician for area high schools and the University of Minnesota-Morris, serving as the assistant editor-in-chief of Arthroscopy, and conducting research — Brand exemplifies the values of the department’s residency program.

As a “triple Gopher,” Brand attended undergrad, medical school, and residency at the University of Minnesota.

“I was actually in RPAP, which is the Rural Physician Associate program,” Brand said. “As part of my third year in Cambridge, MN, I spent a lot of time with Dr. Tom Coleman, who was an orthopaedist. I really enjoyed it, so that was probably the thing that got me into orthopaedics.”

In the 80’s, the department’s orthopaedic surgery residency program was evolving into what residents today have come to expect. The program was top-rated and well-rounded, preparing future orthopaedists for a variety of cases. There were also some familiar faces training Brand and his contemporaries.

“I think all of us felt that we came out of residency well prepared,” Brand recalls. “We had a good total joint experience, shoulder experience, and we did lots of spine! We had great sports medicine training with Dr. Arendt and Dr. Rob Hunter, and obviously learned from Dr. House in hand.”

The sites that Brand rotated at have also changed with time.

“The pediatric hospitals were Shriners and Gillette. For trauma, we were at St. Paul Ramsey and Hennepin County, and then adult orthopaedics was at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. We also had a private practice rotation at Fairview St. Mary’s,” Brand explained.

From 1997-1998, Brand completed a sports medicine fellowship at the University of Kentucky, and then returned to Minnesota, where he has continued to be involved in numerous aspects of orthopaedic practice and research. About 20 years ago, Brand started reviewing manuscripts for the journal Arthroscopy, and was promoted to their editorial board, which required him to review 12 manuscripts per year.

“Then I was promoted to an associate editor, and in that position, I reviewed about one manuscript a week,” Brand said. “I also served as deputy editor, and then I was promoted to assistant editor-in-chief. I review about 500 manuscripts a year.”

500 manuscripts a year is a roughly one-and-a-half per day!

“It is a lot,” Brand acknowledged. “However, you see so much research, and you see the cutting-edge findings, which definitely keeps you current.”

Arthroscopy accepts about 40 percent of submitted manuscripts for publication. Heartland Orthopedic Specialists has a research coordinator, which has enabled Brand to publish papers in Arthroscopy and other journals. To enhance his academic endeavors, Brand was one of three candidates from across the nation selected as an American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Traveling Fellow. The AOSSM fellowship was a pan-pacific tour, including visits to Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

“The fellowship is a way for people from across the world to exchange ideas regarding the issues that orthopaedists face,” Brand explained.

“We would typically present on a series of topics, attend presentations in our host country, tour facilities, and observe surgery. If there was a social event happening, we would also attend that,” he said.

For instance, there was a karaoke contest in Hong Kong that Brand attended.

“We did poorly,” Brand joked. “There weren’t a lot of cell phones around in those days, so I don’t think any video exists.”

Among Brand’s many accomplishments, his daughter Emily Monroe, MD, joined Brand’s practice in September, 2018.

“It has been great having her at our practice and working with her. She’s very well trained, and she makes good decisions,” Brand said. “As one of the members of the journal’s board of trustees told me: ‘It’s recognition that you are living your life in the correct way, because someone who is close to you, who knows you, feels like orthopaedics is a worthwhile thing to do.’”