Wilkerson '73 Returning to Iraq as Guest Professor
Dr. Rick Wilkerson, a highly regarded orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine practitioner, will be traveling to Basra, Iraq on February 25th as a guest lecturer and teaching professor for nine days as part of Iraq's International Orthopedic Conference. In addition to his lecturing schedule, Dr. Wilkerson will be heavily involved in an on-going training program for Iraqi orthopedic residents.
Rick has made annual trips to Iraq where among many things, he created a total knee replacement (TKA) program for Iraqi orthopedic residents. So far, this has led to more than 1,500 TKAs performed. He also sponsored eight Iraqi orthopedic surgeons in his private practice for postgraduate training. During their time in the U.S., these surgeons lived with Rick and his family. For this type of work involving significant improvements to the Iraqi orthopedic infrastructure for well over a decade, Rick was named an honorary professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Basra in Iraq.
Patterned after the Iraqi resident sponsorship program, Rick recently created an orthopedic residency rotation for Haitian orthopedic residents to spend three months in their second or third year of four years training to do an orthopedic rotation with him and other American volunteer surgeons starting September 19th, 2019. In preparation for the rotations, he's busy travelling to Haiti to train hospital staff surgeons to be able to thoroughly prepare the residents for the U.S. rotations.
Haiti is also where Rick led an effort to create an orphanage from the rubble of the 2010 earthquake that totally devastated an already deeply impoverished nation. Today the orphanage is thriving and well on the way to becoming self-sustaining.