Teaching hospitals are a vital part of medical education. Affiliated with medical schools, they allow for medical students to experience life as a “real doctor” and provide opportunities for residents to develop their skills and gain specialization in the discipline of their choice. They also often serve as research institutes.

Here are a few great teaching hospitals for future orthopedic surgeons.

The Hospital for Special Surgery

Located in New York City, the Hospital for Special Surgery enjoys worldwide renown for its focus on pediatric and adult orthopedics. For the seventh consecutive year, US News & World Report ranked it Number 1 in the nation for orthopedics. It is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College and Rockefeller University.

One patient treated at HSS was the daughter of Alex Crisses and his wife, Erica. “When my wife was 20 weeks pregnant, they told us that our daughter had a unilateral clubfoot,” said Alex. They “sort of freaked out and did all this research,” added Erica, “and we found out the person to go to was Dr. [David M.] Scher.” Dr. Scher is also the education director of the pediatric orthopedic service at HSS.

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic, located in Rochester, Minnesota, is ranked at Number 2 for orthopedics. Students who complete the five-year orthopedic residency are ready to begin their careers as orthopedic surgeons. In the last decade, 98 percent of its graduates have passed the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery certification exam.

One of the Mayo Clinic’s many orthopedic patients is Camden Christopherson, who, at age 13, was diagnosed with scoliosis, an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine. Surgeons at the Mayo Clinic corrected Christopherson’s curve with a new procedure called vertebral body tethering, which allowed her to maintain flexibility and continue her athletic career. “I am so very lucky to have had this surgery,” Camden said. “My mom and my doctors were so passionate about trying new things and being open-minded. They made it possible, and this surgery couldn’t have been done without them.”

UCSF Medical Center

UCSF Medical Center, located in San Francisco, California, is ranked nationally in 15 adult and nine pediatric specialties. It ranks #10 in adult orthopedics in the US News Best Hospitals report and #22 in pediatric orthopedics. The hospital is affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School.

UCSF Medical Center’s Orthopaedic Institute offers a wide variety of orthopedic specialties including a hand, elbow, and upper extremity surgery center. Reginald Cook was one of the lucky patients who got care through this program. Having been grievously injured in an accident, Cook was left with one arm frozen at a 90-degree angle and the other one essentially useless due to nerve damage. By performing an elbow transplant from the nonfunctional arm to the functional one, surgeons were able to restore Cook’s right arm to functionality. “I can’t wait to be independent and give my 14-year-old daughter a big hug,” said Cook. “This has been life changing for me.”

Teaching hospitals are crucial because they allow medical residents to get a high-quality practical education in all things that go into being a good doctor. The three fellowship and residency programs above are also paving the way for a generation of great orthopedic surgeons.