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Sydney Shoulder Research Institute - Past Fellows 2011
2011 Fellow

Denise Mackey


Denise Mackey

2011 Fellow


I was born on the east coast of Canada in Stephenville, Newfoundland, and grew up with a keen interest in sport and outdoor activities. After relocating to the province of Ontario, I completed an undergraduate degree in Human Biology and Bioethics at the University of Toronto. My love of the outdoors then took me to the Canadian Rocky Mountains where I took a short hiatus from my education to seek adventure with a backpack and a snowboard. I then returned to Ontario to pursue a Doctorate of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, graduating with the class of 2006.

With my interest in sport and human movement coupled with a growing attraction to surgery and trauma, orthopaedic surgery felt like the natural next step in my medical education. I entered residency training in orthopaedic surgery at the University of British Columbia in beautiful Vancouver, Canada in 2006.

During my training I had an opportunity to travel to Kampala, Uganda with UBC’s Uganda Sustainable Trauma Orthopaedic Program, as well as to Manipal, India for a month of paediatric orthopedic education.   During residency I developed an interest in trauma and subspecialized upper limb surgery. I also met my husband, Joe, who was in the training program with me. As luck would have it, he developed an interest in hip and knee surgery so we made a good team. We completed residency in 2011 and were fortunate to pursue fellowship training together in Sydney, with Joe commencing a knee fellowship while I started with the Sydney Shoulder Specialists.

After a wonderful and enlightening year in Sydney we returned to Canada and settled in Prince George, British Columbia. We have a joint orthopaedic practice through the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia. I practice general orthopaedic surgery with an interest in disorders and surgery of the shoulder and elbow. My practice includes medical student and resident education, and specialist clinics in surrounding communities. We have recently welcomed our first child, and are finding a new work-life balance as a result!

My Fellowship Story

My fellowship year was an incredible experience, with an excellent balance of clinical opportunity and surgical exposure. Drs Sonnabend, Cass, Young, and Hughes were supportive, collegial, and intent on teaching.

I was involved in a wide variety of cases including trauma and elective procedures of the shoulder and elbow in both the public and private hospitals. My fellowship experience gave me considerable exposure to arthroscopy and arthroplasty of the shoulder and improved my understanding of several soft tissue procedures and arthroplasty of the elbow.

During my fellowship I commenced a research project on survivorship of cemented pegged glenoid components in total shoulder arthroplasty. The study was ongoing at completion of my fellowship. During my fellowship I also had an opportunity to provide locum trauma coverage in a community hospital in Dubbo, which gave me ongoing exposure to general orthopaedic trauma.

The year was a valuable educational experience and living in Sydney was equally as memorable. On many winter mornings back home in Canada I reminisce about my morning run in Sydney across the Harbour Bridge and around the Opera House!

Denise Mackey