UK HealthCare

UK Sports Medicine Welcomes New Shoulder Specialist


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 24, 2017) – The team at UK Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine has grown this summer. On May 15, Dr. Carolyn Hettrich became part of the staff that will see patients, take care of University of Kentucky athletes and conduct research.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Hettrich has studied and worked across the country. After completing undergraduate studies in Los Angeles at Pomona College, she went on to medical school at the University of Washington, completed a residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, a fellowship at Vanderbilt University, and spent the past six years working in Iowa.

One of the reasons Hettrich decided to make the change to move to Lexington is because of the emphasis the University of Kentucky places on research.  “The increased focus on research at UK means I’ll have the opportunity to do the research I’m interested in,” she said. Hettrich’s research interests focus on three areas: clinical outcomes after shoulder surgery, computer modeling for shoulder replacement, and tendon and bone healing. In fact, Hettrich is the principal investigator on the largest prospective study in the world for shoulder instability surgery. The study has 950 patients currently enrolled and is operating at 12 sites nationwide.

Her research expertise meshes well with work already being done at UK Sports Medicine, particularly the work of Dr. Christian Lattermann. Hettrich and Lattermann were well acquainted before Hettrich joined UK Sports Medicine and are part of the Multicenter Orthopaedic Outcomes Network (MOON) and share a mentor. “We are very proud Dr. Hettrich joined UK Sports Medicine, she brings an extraordinary expertise in shoulder related patient centered translational research which accelerates our efforts at UK to become a national leader in patient related outcomes research," Latterman said. Additionally, she is an outstanding shoulder surgeon, he said.

When she’s not conducting research, treating patients or working as a team physician for UK Football, Hettrich is looking forward to continuing her advocacy work. Her master's degree in public health focused in health policy gives her insight into how she can advocate for her patients and research funding. Each year, on Research Capitol Hill Days, Hettrich takes patients to meet with congressional leaders in Washington D.C. to show the direct impact of research funding. Hettrich is especially interested in musculoskeletal research because musculoskeletal conditions affect 50 percent of adults in the U.S., with expenditures accounting for 5.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

As a member of the team at UK Sports Medicine, Hettrich is looking forward to “continuing to improve care of patients suffering from disorders of the shoulder” and leading cutting edge research studies.