We often become acutely aware that there are no limits to the dreams that can be realized when just one positive outcome begins to build on another.
When Dr. Brian Kern and Dr. Brandon Strenge made the surprising decision to practice their orthopaedic skills in Western Kentucky, Greg Thompson, CEO of the Orthopaedic Institute of Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky, was astounded and at the same time invigorated. “To think that two young physicians with the training and skill of Brian Kern and Brandon Strenge would consider an undertaking of this caliber and this level of risk in this community was a moment in time that changed everything. Suddenly, the future of an orthopaedic center of excellence in Western Kentucky took on a very real potential.” ￼￼
“Successful medical groups are not made, they’re born. They are born of a collaboration among medical professionals who genuinely believe that the group is greater than the sum of its parts. Each of us builds upon the expertise of one another. And that’s a win/win for every patient who visits the Institute.” —Dr. Brian Kern
Thompson has been the CEO of the Orthopaedic Institute of Southern Illinois for ten years. Some time ago, the neighboring group began to consider the possibility of establishing a similar institute in Western Kentucky. Thompson surveyed the need in Paducah’s medical milieu for orthopaedic services. He met with local officials, medical leaders, hospital administrators , and para-health professionals. The answer to the question was a resounding, yes, the need existed.
“So when Brian and Brandon decided to take a look at the potential landscape here for the successful creation of an orthopaedic institute similar to the one we were operating in Southern Illinois, I was again a bit shocked that two such highly trained and sought-after physicians were willing to invest their futures in what was, at the time, a very bold new idea.” Soon after, fellow physician and friend of Brian's, Dr. Clint Hill, decided to leave his practice in eastern Tennessee to join the two. “The level of expertise possessed by Dr. Hill, and the enormous risk he, his wife, and five kids took to pick up and leave his hometown to become a part of this institute is probably the most amazing thing I have seen in all my years as an administrator.”
With the confidence of these three commitments, Thompson, Drs. Kern, Strenge, Hill and the Southern Illinois board of directors, began to believe that such an undertaking was indeed possible. The result, after years of planning and development, is the Orthopaedic Institute of Western Kentucky (OIWK).
The new 50,000-square-foot medical facility is state-of-the-art in design and function. Many aspects of the building and its infrastructure have never been used in this region. The Institute houses centers of excellence in the areas of sports medicine, total joint, and spine, as well as hand, foot, and ankle proce- dures. OIWK employs 87 full-time staff members and 27 mid-level health professionals such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. The Institute will inject more than $3.3 million annually into the local economy through its staff payroll.
“The really astounding thing is that the new physicians who have joined the Institute could literally have gone anywhere. They are just that good,” Thompson adds.“But thanks to their desire to build this center from the ground up, and to live in a community that offers the kind of quality of life that Paducah offers, we are all the beneficiaries of an absolutely amazing medical facility that is literally second to none.”
In a surprisingly short period of time, the enthusiasm these three visionaries had for the ensuing project swayed several other highly talented and nationally recognized local physicians as well as Rob Caturano, physical therapist and former owner of Biokinetics, to join the effort. Now eight orthopaedicspecialists along with Caturano make up the staff and the governing body of this trail-blazing new endeavor. “And this fall we’ll be welcoming Dr. Spencer Romine, another highly respected sports medicine specialist,” Thompson adds.
“Not only do the eight physicians here at the Institute work closely together every day, this team is digitally connected to the 11 experienced orthopaedic specialists at the Southern Illinois Institute so a consult on any case for either division is only a keystroke away.” —Greg Thompson
“This is simply a dream come true for all of us,” says Thompson. “Drs. Stodghill, Jackson, Patel and DeWeese all had visions of a medical center like the Institute, but it takes the collaborative effort of many people to bring a project of this size and complexity to fruition. As we have been joined by Dr. Adams and soon Dr. Romine we have systematically created an orthopaedic institute which seeks to offer every possible specialty so that now there is absolutely no reason for a patient to leave the area for orthopaedic surgery or musculoskeletal medical care. There is no doubt in my mind that the caliber of the physicians we have on staff at the Institue will quickly engender national attention for the level of expertise we have amassed here in Paducah,”Thompson says. ￼￼￼￼
Join the discussion