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Dr. Jennifer Winell, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Dr. Jennifer Winell
Dr. Jennifer Winell

1. Where are you from and where did you go to medical school and do your residency/fellowship?

I grew up in Somerset County in NJ.
I went to medical school at NYU.
I did my residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and my fellowship at Hospital for Special Surgery.

2. What inspired you to be a doctor?

I grew up with a father who was a general orthopaedic surgeon and I saw the satisfaction he had with his job. The joy he received from helping people was something that I wanted for myself.

3. What do you like most about specializing in sports medicine and pediatric orthopedics?

I love kids. They are not just “little adults”. I enjoy the challenge of treating their unique problems not only currently, but also preparing them for the future when they are true adults.

4. Scoliosis seems to be a underserved area in pediatrics and is one of your specialties, what are some of the key pieces of information you could share with a parent who has a child who has been recently diagnosed?

For a child that has recently been diagnosed with scoliosis by either a school nurse or a primary care provider, I would tell the parents that before they start to worry, they should be seen by an orthopedist, preferably a pediatric orthopedist. There are many cases of mild scoliosis that do not ever need any treatment other than observation. It is important that they meet with an expert who will discuss the factors at play for their individual child before worrying about all the “what ifs”.

5. What is your philosophy on the role of conservative treatment and physical therapy?

I cannot emphasize enough how important physical therapists are for my personal practice. So many of the children that I see with both acute and chronic injuries are returned to full activities by the dedication of good therapists. They are the key players as far as I am concerned.

6. What is your approach to getting athletes back on the field safely after they have had an injury? Coaches generally want to have the athlete back as soon as possible.

I am extremely conservative in returning players to sports. I try to emphasize that returning too early may result in further injury and in the worse case scenario could possibly prevent the child from ever playing their sport again. I do not return child back to full play until they are pain free, have full range of motion of the affected area and full strength as well.

7.Is there anything that can be done to improve the rates of childhood obesity?

I think things like Healthy Weight Programs can be very helpful in childhood obesity. I also think it is important for all physicians, not just primary care MDs, to be ok with discussing weight issues with patients. Many times children will see me for an orthopedic problem that may or may not be related to obesity. While it may be uncomfortable, I think we as physicians need to broach the subject and try to connect patients with programs that can help them. I do this routinely in my practice.

8. What are your hobbies outside of the office?

My 4 year old and 6 year old daughters keep me pretty busy outside of the office. However, I do enjoy cooking, playing the piano and skiing.