Juggling Clinical Care with Research

By: Lisa Applegate

Lisa Applegate

Joseph A. Abboud, MD, dreams of reducing—perhaps even predicting—tendon disease. He balances his clinical practice treating patients with shoulder and elbow disorders with his passion forresearch.

Joseph A. Abboud, MD

Together with his mentor Louis J. Soslowsky, PhD, Dr. Abboud received a 2008 Research Grant from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) to explore the correlation between high cholesterol and tendon composition and biomechanics. He hopes his work will help reduce the extent of tendon damage in patients and clarify the role cholesterol-lowering drugs may play in healing after tendon injury.

A byproduct of his research may enable orthopaedists to help improve the overall health of their patients by identifying the presence of high cholesterol before any other signs become apparent and encouraging patients to get screened.

Such practical applications to research couldn’t have been possible without the support of OREF, noted Dr. Abboud. If he hadn’t received funding, “I probably would have said, ‘Okay, well, that was interesting but practically speaking, I really can’t pursue that question any further.’”

Dr. Abboud’s interest in research began during his residency, as he noted the increasing numbers of patients who had high cholesterol or took cholesterol-lowering drugs. He began searching databases and asking questions. He promised himself that even when he went into private practice at Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, he would carve out time to conduct research regularly.

“Research is very enjoyable,” said Dr. Abboud. “I like the idea that you’re able to go out, ask the questions, design studies, answer a question, and really make a contribution to our orthopaedic realm.”

For more information on how the OREF supports research to improve clinical care, visit the OREF exhibit, located in Moscone South, exhibit level concourse, or visit

Lisa Applegate is a contributing writer for OREF and can be reached at

©2011 Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation. Adapted with permission from Impact, Volume XVI (fall 2011).