2018 ABC Travelling Fellowship Report


Luke J Johnson

Luke J Johnson took part in the ABC Travelling Fellowship in 2018. Here he writes on the places he visited and valuable experience gained from visiting a range of hospitals, universities and scientific meetings across North America.


Luke with previous ABC Fellows and BJJ Board in London

The ‘West Coast’ Tour of 2018 was extremely well organised and each host institution was well prepared for the tour. There were, of course, particular highlights along the way, and certain institutions stood out in regards to the programme that they envisioned to run.



 Outside the Cancer Research Centre in New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Our hosts were extremely welcoming and the extra day in this centre, being the first of the tour, really allowed the fellows to get to know each other and for us to ‘acclimatise’ to a degree. We were involved in their larger yearly academic meeting and were also invited to attend the graduation of their chief residents – this really allowed an insight into the culture of the centre and also into the leadership styles, teaching capacity and academia of Albuquerque as a centre. We all found this extremely valuable and insightful and for all the fellows, we really took a lot away from this place. We all had a little trepidation regarding staying in our hosts homes – but we all agreed in debriefing later, that this was actually an excellent experience and we felt that we knew our hosts far better than any other centre. An excellent centre for this Fellowship.




In front of the Orthopaedic Hospital Research Centre at UCLA, California

Phoenix, Arizona

The experience here was relatively short, but still packed with value. The CORE Institute displayed a very different healthcare model for all of us from a more socialist healthcare-delivery region. We were able to have in-depth discussions regarding delivery models and were also exposed to excellent research facilities and made good connections for home institutions in Australia.

Los Angeles, California

Once again – excellent experience, centred around clinical care and research. Being a little biased, as our host was an orthopaedic oncologist, I found this centre valuable in regards to seeing a ‘gold standard’ centre for tumour care in the US – so it was good to see how it was run, both in regards to care delivery, but also research and fellowship opportunities. Good research ties are able to be built, once again. Right balance of down time and academic time.


San Francisco, California

Again, very welcoming hosts – a definite theme of this entire ABC experience. There was good capacity here to shadow clinicians from our own craft areas and this was again insightful to see how things were run from the inside and allowed plenty of opportunity to connect with the clinicians in your own area to build relationships for collaborative research and teaching exchange.

San Diego, California

Not so much of a clinical experience here, but excellent bench research capacity and extremely warm hosts. The ability to experience some of the military healthcare delivery was a definite plus.

...a good balance of downtime and academia.
Salt Lake City, Utah

Excellent clinical experience and had the pleasure of shadowing Lor Randall (eminent Ortho Onc surgeon) on his last clinical day at the institution. Good to hear his perspective as a very successful researcher and clinical lead outgoing from a position he had been in for about 20 years – very valuable discussions. Again, a good balance of downtime and academia.


Denver, Colorado

Once again, hosts were very welcoming and inclusive – good academic and clinical programme and valuable, targeted experiences for the fellows and our particular craft interests. Good combined academic meeting. Very good centre and experience – another excellent centre for the Fellowship.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Big change of pace – some free time to begin with actually enabled some ‘alone’ time and also to get laundry done! No real clinical/OT exposure in Canada, secondary to law constraints, but plenty of capacity to learn about healthcare provision and systems structures and research. Edmonton had very good teaching programmes and this was a real plus in this centre.

Victoria, COA Meeting

Excellent opportunity to meet the carousel presidents and discuss all matter of subjects, but also great to see a sister country’s annual meeting and the work being done in Canada. Very welcomed by the COA staff, who had gone to great efforts to organise our tour.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

This was our last academic stop and was well integrated in regards to ‘winding up’. Our hosts were recent fellows who wanted to make sure that we were not burning out – well balanced programme of research and teaching as well as insights into care delivery. Excellent.

Boston, AmOA Leadership Meeting

Another excellent chance to meet the carousel presidents. The lecture series that was presented at the meeting was interesting: not a standard academic orthopaedic meeting, but looked at leadership and had speakers from differing fields talking. An excellent experience and very welcomed by the AmOA staff, who had gone to huge effort co-ordinating the tour.

...the entire experience was extremely valuable.


In Bob Schenck's backyard in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Overall – the entire experience was extremely valuable and each centre really went to a lot of effort to make things interesting for us and to facilitate contact with the key clinicians in our craft areas and also time with their trainees, which was excellent, as it really allowed them to see our respective intuitions and systems as viable areas for them to consider visiting – and in which, perhaps, to undergo fellowship training or exchange.

This entire strategy of the ABC Fellowship is so immensely important still in this day, as you definitely become blinkered in your own system of healthcare delivery. Having worked here at home and in the UK, seeing how care is delivered and the challenges surrounding it in the US and Canada was immensely enlightening. The relationships that are derived from this can only strengthen all of or societies and also our communities.

Thank you for the privilege.