Col. James Ficke to head orthopaedic surgery

Col. James Ficke, a nationally renowned expert on the treatment of complex foot and ankle patients, lower extremity trauma patients, and amputees, has been named director of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, effective in September.

Ficke, who was selected after a two-year nationwide search, is a 1983 West Point graduate who received his medical degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences' F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine in 1987.

He currently is chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, as well as the orthopedic surgery consultant to the U.S. Army surgeon general at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

During his deployment as deputy commander of clinical services at the 228th Combat Support Hospital in Mosul, Iraq, from 2004 to 2005, he was the senior orthopedic surgeon, treating more than 600 U.S. soldiers and Iraqi patients for war injuries. His service there and elsewhere subsequently earned him the Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons' prestigious 2010 Col. Brian Allgood Memorial Leadership Award, as well as the surgeon general's 2010 Maj. Gen. Lewis Aspey Mologne Award for excellence in military academics, education, and clinical care.

As orthopedics consultant to the Army surgeon general, Ficke has mentored dozens of Army orthopedic surgeons and has helped train a substantial number of the Army's current orthopedic surgeons in what has become, under his leadership, the largest medical department in the Department of Defense and the fifth largest orthopedic residency program in the nation.

In addition to the awards he has received for his skills as a surgeon, educator, and leader of men and women, he has received some two dozen military decorations and awards, including a Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medals.

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