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First State Orthopaedics is the home of Delaware’s first and second Black adult orthopaedic surgeons.

Eric T. Johnson, M.D.

It is truly and honor and privilege to be an orthopaedic surgeon. The practice of Orthopaedics has evolved over time as a highly specialized, technical and sought-after practice. Talented medical students, most often the tops of their classes, aspire to become orthopaedic surgeons and match into 5 or 6 year residency programs geared to make them the next generation of surgeons charged with taking care of the bones of joints of the young and old alike. It is a highly competitive field and we draw from “the best of the best.”

But there is a secret of orthopaedic surgery that is hidden in plain sight. Recent articles have highlighted the fact that while our country is becoming more diverse, while medicine in general is becoming more diverse, orthopaedic surgery is lagging behind and remains one of the least diverse medical or surgical specialties around. We lack the talent or expertise of both women surgeons and of surgeons of color. And while many medical and surgical specialties are actively trying to increase their numbers of underrepresented physician groups, sadly Orthopaedics is not as much on the cutting edge. But, we are getting better.

First State Orthopaedics is the home of Delaware’s first and second Black adult orthopaedic surgeons. Dr. Eric Johnson attended college at Penn State University, where he competed in both wrestling and cheerleading. He then graduated from the Milton Hershey School of Medicine at Penn State in Hershey Pennsylvania. Interested in helping those suffering from the most severe traumatic orthopaedic injuries, Dr. Johnson travelled to Camden, NJ to complete an orthopaedic trauma fellowship under the direction of Drs. Chris Born and William Delong. These men are among the modern pioneers of US (and international) orthopaedic trauma surgery.

After his training, Dr. Johnson settled in Wilmington, DE where he became the first fellowship trained orthopaedic trauma surgeon. He has been instrumental in improving the quality of trauma care in Delaware. Dr. Johnson established the first orthopaedic trauma service at Delaware’s only Level 1 Trauma center, ChristianaCare. In doing so he enabled consistency in the care of the orthopaedic trauma patients and helped to develop and entrench the idea of “fracture block” in our local healthcare system, thereby ensuring timely access to operating rooms for patients needing urgent orthopaedic care. His leadership skills expand outside of Orthopaedics. He serves on the Boards and advisory committees of several local organizations. He is a past president of the Medical-Dental Staff of ChristianaCare, the current leader of the section of Orthopaedic surgery and Board Chairman at the TowerHill School. And with all of these outside commitments, he continues to be a dedicated resource for patients with musculoskeletal needs and a mentor and advisor to the orthopaedic surgeons in town.

Dr. Drew Brady is a a Wilmington native. He graduated from the Tatnall School and went on to Dartmouth College where he majored in biochemistry and molecular biology and competed on the men’s gymnastics team, qualifying individually for national competition all four years. Dr. Brady graduated from Harvard Medical School, and then went on to the University of Pittsburgh’s world-renowned orthopaedic residency program. The University of Pittsburgh orthopaedic residency program is now known as a leader in orthopaedic diversity, graduating many surgeons of color and women orthopaedic surgeons. They have a legacy of creating chairs and program directors across the country and is the alma mater of First State Orthopaedic founders Drs. William Newcomb and Michael Axe. After Harvard, Dr. Brady completed an orthopaedic trauma fellowship at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, OH, a teaching hospital of Case Western Reserve University, where he held a clinical instructor status in their department of orthopaedic surgery.

After fellowship training, Dr. Brady and his family returned home to Delaware and joined First State Orthopaedics as the second African American and fellowship trained orthopaedic trauma surgeon in the state. Dr. Brady has a passion for education, serving on the teaching faculty for AO North America and other entities, teaching the next generation of surgeons, orthopaedic trauma and joint replacement skills. Dr. Brady has served as the physician president of First State Orthopaedics, and currently is the Chief of Orthopaedic Trauma at ChristianaCare. He is a member of several local and statewide committees dealing with the advancement of trauma care. He maintains a busy clinical practice, focused on the treatment of orthopaedic trauma and joint replacements, specializing in the popular anterior hip replacement surgery.

At First State Orthopaedics we are proud to be changing the face of orthopaedic surgery in Delaware, and we have physicians who represent the communities that we serve, including women and Black and Brown doctors.

So, during Black History month, First State Orthopaedics is happy to continue our commitment to excellence and to serving our full community from the bridge to the beach and beyond. Our physicians and surgeons are here for all of your orthopaedic needs and will serve our diverse population of patients with diverse and highly skilled physicians, ready to address your musculoskeletal needs.