Q&A With Dr. Jason Koh

We recently sat down with Dr. Jason Koh, one of the ACE 2017 funding recipients. Dr. Koh pursues research in stem cells, growth factors, and innovative scaffolds to treat cartilage, bone, and soft tissue injuries at the NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute. Read on to find out more about Dr. Koh’s work and what it means to be an ACE recipient.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you enjoy your work at the NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute?

A: I’m a Chicago native who grew up on Chicago’s North Shore. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to train and work at some of the great medical institutions of our country, such as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and the Cleveland Clinic, and it’s very meaningful to me to be part of NorthShore University HealthSystem and to make sure that we have great care in the community that I live in. Through the Institute we’ve developed multiple outstanding programs that allow us to take the best possible care of our patients and restore them to an active lifestyle.

Q: What sets the NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute apart from other medical facilities offering orthopaedic care?

A: There are several factors that really set the NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute apart in offering orthopaedic care. We have exceptional clinicians that can provide incredibly high quality subspecialized care for the most complex needs across a variety of disciplines. This is combined with powerful analytics and continuous attention to processes and detail that have resulted in being recognized nationally as the Chicagoland center of excellence by insurance companies and Medicare. We have state-of-the art technology and resources, such as 3D printing, robotics, and regenerative medicine. Most of all, we have a wonderfully compassionate team that is always seeking the best possible care for our patients. Although we’re the major academic affiliate of the University of Chicago, we always want to make sure we have the personal touch, which reflects our mission to “preserve and improve human life.”

Q: What does it mean to you to be one of the recipients of ACE’s fundraising this year?

A: It’s a tremendous honor to be one of the recipients of the ACE fundraiser. It’s exciting to be associated with a nationally known event that brings the finest craftspeople in the country to our community, and knowing that this will help raise valuable funds to bring state-of-the art regenerative research and techniques to NorthShore is equally exciting.

Q: How will the NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute use the money received from ACE?

A: The NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute will use the gift to help fund innovative regenerative medicine research, basic science, and clinical trials. Regenerative medicine techniques harness and enhance the body’s own healing capabilities to alleviate pain and restore function. Support from ACE has already allowed us to help attract outstanding clinicians who have brought new regenerative medicine techniques to our community. These funds help support our research into stem cells for spine disorders, plasma treatment for arthritis, and innovative materials that can help regrow bone and soft tissue that can help patients in the community, as well as wounded veterans or other victims of trauma.

Q: What do you want the public to know about the NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute?

A: The NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute is actually the busiest orthopaedic program in the Chicago area, with thousands of patients coming from all over Chicagoland. It provides comprehensive state-of-the-art care in almost every subspecialty. Our quality is the best in the state, as determined by the federal government in terms of low readmissions after hip and knee surgery. Most of all, we have wonderfully compassionate care that helps return our patients back to function as quickly as possible.

Q: Is there one patient success story that stands out that you would like to share?

A: We have many wonderful patient stories happening every day, where we restore pain-free motion and activity to everyone from young athletes to vigorous seniors. On the regenerative medicine front, I cared for a young man who dislocated his kneecap and damaged half of the cartilage when engaged in a medieval sword fighting reenactment, a la the “Renaissance Faire.” We successfully regrew the cartilage cells and transplanted them back into his knee, and he’s returned to his sword fighting activity. Another story is of a teenage boy with a rapidly progressive and deforming scoliosis with a 55 degree curve to his spine. We made a 3-D print of the spine so that Dr. David Roberts, one of our pediatric orthopaedic surgeons, could plan the surgery in 3 dimensions prior to the procedure. He successfully straightened the spine and the young man gained over an inch of height, which has helped him with his favorite sport, basketball.

Q: What do you like most about the ACE experience?

A: The American Craft Exposition is a really wonderful opportunity to see and purchase some amazing work by some of the finest craftspeople in the nation, while supporting a great cause. I’ve personally attended the Exposition annually for nearly a decade, and always have come home with some unique and beautiful find. The Chicago Botanic Garden is a wonderful venue and it’s great to see such arts and crafts in a beautiful setting.

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