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Learn about the first year of orthopaedic surgery residency from resident Mack Padgett, MD.

Mack Padgett 1st Year Residency

Several medical residents and physicians stand around an operating room table holding surgery tools. Each individual is wearing a surgery gown, gloves, caps, and glasses.

Mack Padgett, MD, earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine. When applying to residency programs, Padgett knew the IU orthopaedic surgery program was prestigious. “I chose the IU orthopaedic surgery residency because of the program’s track record of success,” he said. 

He also knew the applicant pool would be competitive—but to be a strong candidate for an orthopaedic fellowship, Padgett understood how crucial a competitive residency was. “I knew that I would receive excellent training and be a competitive fellowship applicant in the subspecialty of my choice, as well as a competent general orthopaedist.”  

Fortunately, Padgett was matched to the program. Although he anticipated the intense, challenging and rewarding experiences associated with IU’s orthopaedic surgery residency, he has been pleasantly surprised by the freedom he has had so far.  

“I have enjoyed the level of autonomy granted to me by both the faculty and senior residents,” he explained. “Our program grants interns outstanding exposure to closed reductions, casting and other orthopaedic procedures. Interns are exceedingly well-prepared to begin handling independent orthopaedic call as second-year residents.” 

But for Padgett, the value of the IU School of Medicine orthopaedic surgery residency goes far beyond the technical and clinical surgery skills he is gaining.  


“A culture of support” 

Now with a year of residency under his belt, Padgett understands first-hand how crucial a supportive environment is for resident interns. “The orthopaedic surgery program at IU is built on a culture of support,” Padgett said. That culture of support begins with the renowned faculty in the program. “The faculty are very invested in our education and success. Despite their busy clinical, academic and administrative schedules, they always go out of their way to teach.” 

Faculty support is far-reaching in the department. “It is very evident that the faculty genuinely want to see us reach our full potential as orthopaedic surgeons.” Beyond teaching and clinical guidance, faculty support includes professional guidance and a department-level focus on wellness and mental health. All these supportive elements ensure residents’ success. 

“The faculty, residents and staff all want you to attain your career goals as an orthopaedic surgeon. Regardless of subspecialty of interest and desired future practice model, the entire department wants you to succeed.”  

That success looks different for each resident, but that sets the program apart. For Padgett, who chose the six-year research-track residency, the research infrastructure at IU has been especially worthwhile. He has access to multiple research centers and research-focused faculty who cultivate his research skills and portfolio. This is just one of many benefits he’s taken advantage of while living and learning in Indianapolis. 


“The perfect-sized city” 

The orthopaedic surgery residency is based in Indianapolis, IN, the largest city in the state and the second-largest city in the Midwest. Located just three hours from Chicago and home to five major health systems, Indianapolis is ideally situated for researchers and clinicians like Padgett.  

It’s also the state’s most diverse city. It houses several major sporting teams and hosts countless national and international events yearly. And Padgett has taken full advantage of what the cultural center of Indiana has to offer. 

“Indianapolis is the perfect-sized city with excellent outdoor recreation, food and cultural options,” he said. From hiking at one of the country’s largest city parks, Eagle Creek, to dining at the Bottleworks District Garage Food Hall, there is always something fun to do. “There are activities that can be enjoyed year-round. Whatever your interests outside of work are, you can find those in Indianapolis.” 

It’s easy for Padgett to enjoy the Indy festivities because of the resident atmosphere. “The residents in the program frequently meet and do things together outside of the hospital,” he explained.  

He has been especially impressed by the community and culture that residents have created in the program. He expected to grow close with other first-year residents, but even upper-level residents are always available to help, hang out or provide guidance. 

“I have gone to several Pacers games with co-residents. Many of us play golf together. You can always find someone who wants to try a new restaurant or get drinks at one of the many breweries or bars around the city.” 

Padgett has five years left of his research-track residency in orthopaedic surgery, but he is already confident he made the right decision. “When reflecting on my educational journey, I have experienced the greatest amount of personal and professional growth during my first year of residency.” 

If you’re considering the IU School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery residency and want to learn more from a current resident, Padgett is happy to connect. “To any prospective applicants, I sincerely hope you strongly consider IU for your residency training. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at We look forward to meeting you!” 
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Keeley Higley

Keeley Higley is the communications generalist for the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.