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Stepping Strong: Making Strides in Trauma Care

2PM – 3PM | Brigham Building for Transformative Medicine

About the Session

Each year, trauma accounts for more than 40 million emergency room visits carrying a healthcare burden of $671 billion. The Boston marathon bombing and other recent incidents in the U.S and around the world point to the unfortunate reality of an era where excellent trauma care is critical. BWH which has been a leader in this field is now even more strengthened by the creation of The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund whose goal is to help future patients with traumatic, athletic, military, and disease-related limb injuries regain their strength and step strong once again. This session will focus on the collaborative nature of both the clinical services currently provided and now the innovative research initiatives championed by the SSTIC ( Stepping Strong Trauma Innovation Center).   We will start by  discussing  the clinical challenges experienced by one  of our  BWH trauma patients.



  • Heather Unruh



  • Natalie Artzi, PhD
    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School


  • Matthew Carty, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Surgery
    Brigham & Women’s Hospital Division of Plastic Surgery, Harvard Medical School


  • Mitchel B. Harris, MD
    Chief, Orthopedic Trauma Service, BWH
    Professor, Harvard Medical School



  • Carl Bouckaert


Matthew Carty, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Brigham & Women’s Hospital Division of Plastic Surgery, Harvard Medical School 

Dr. Carty is a Staff Surgeon in the BWH Division of Plastic Surgery, an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and a Visiting Scientist in the Center for Extreme Bionics in the MIT Media Lab. He joined the BWH faculty in 2009, and has since had a clinical focus in complex reconstructive surgery of the trunk and extremities. He was intimately involved in the care of multiple victims in the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings, and was the recipient of the first Stepping Strong Innovator Award for his work on improving body-machine interfaces in the setting of limb amputation. Dr. Carty is Co-Director of the BWH Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction Program and Director of the BWH Lower Extremity Transplant Program. His research interests are focused primarily on limb restoration, both through transplantation and complex reconstruction.


Mitchel B. Harris, MD
Chief, Orthopedic Trauma Service, BWH
Professor, Harvard Medical School

Mitchel B. Harris, MD, is an orthopedic spine surgeon and the chief of orthopedic trauma service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s department of orthopedic surgery in Boston. He is also a professor at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Mass.

His clinical specialties are spine and trauma, and his clinical interests are spinal tumors, spinal arthritis, spinal trauma, general orthopedic trauma, peri-articular fractures and infections of the bone.

Dr. Harris is also an active researcher. He is investigating several topics, including outcomes of the management of spinal disorders, operative and non-operative fracture management and outcomes, outcomes of geriatric spinal fracture management, osteomyelitis at the cellular level and stem cell augmentation of fracture healing.

Dr. Harris received his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. He also completed two fellowships, one in orthopedic spine and trauma at the University of Toronto Sunnybrook Health Science Center in Canada and a second in orthopedic surgery at the Queen’s Medical Centre in England.


Natalie Artzi,
Assistant Professor of Medicine,
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Assistant Professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She is a principal Research Scientist at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science at MIT, and is an Associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

Leveraging material science, chemistry, imaging and biology, Dr. Artzi’s group is dedicated to designing smart material platforms and medical devices to improve human health.

Dr. Artzi pioneered basic understanding of tissue:biomaterial interactions and concepts learned have changed the way we view materials. Materials and devices are now being ‘personalized’ by considering specific tissue microenvironments that are altered in the face of disease. Her multidisciplinary team works on developing materials for diagnosis and therapy, and exploit the toolkit available for material scientists to create multifaceted medical devices.  Dr. Artzi graduate thesis work at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) under the direction of Prof. Moshe Narkis defined how polymer:nano-filler interactions dictate structure:function relationships.

Her postdoctoral training with Prof. Elazer Edelman at MIT focused on studying tissue:biomaterial interactions to rationally design materials with optimal therapeutic outcome.She served as part of the scientific advisory board of Science Translational Medicine, and as a dedicated mentor she initiated student exchange program between Ort Braude College in Israel and MIT that provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to perform a year of internship under her supervision.


Heather Unruh

Heather Unruh is a four time EMMY award winning Journalist with 27 years of experience as an Anchor and Medical Reporter.  She has anchored breaking news coverage for nearly every major event from the Boston Marathon Bombing and Watertown Capture, to the conviction of Boston Mobster James Whitey Bulger, the Papal Conclave in Rome, the resignation of Cardinal Law, and every sports championship since 2001.

Some of her accomplishments include multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, the American Cancer Society’s Sword of Hope Award, the Clarion Award from Women in Communications, Inc., and the top national recognition from the American Women in Radio and Television, the “Grand Gracie,” for excellence in reporting.

Prior to her 15 years with WCVB, Unruh was the early evening anchor and medical reporter at KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.  The DePauw University graduate also worked at WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama.  Unruh served as an anchor and reporter for WBNG-TV in Binghamton, NY in the early 1990’s.  She also hosted and produced a public affairs series at WVEU-TV in Atlanta, GA.

Throughout her career, Unruh has been actively involved with many charitable organizations including Boston Medical Center, Go Red For Women, and the MSPCA.  She sits on an advisory board to the Lung Cancer Alliance and has served on the Regional Board of Directors for the American Heart Association.

Unruh’s interest in broadcast journalism began early; as a student, she interned at WCVB.  Spending many summers on Nantucket and eventually holding her wedding on the island, she fell in love with New England.  Unruh resides in a Boston suburb with her husband and two teenage children.

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