Founded by Dr. Larry Hull in 1973, Washington Orthopedic Center has a strong history of giving back to the community. “Dr. Hull set the standard for community participation,” explains Dr. Keith Birchard, orthopaedist at Washington Orthopaedic Center. “There was nothing he was not willing to look at and support.” Dr. Hull was so committed to giving of his talents and time wherever he could that he was given the distinguished recognition as Humanitarian of the Year by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2010.
The four doctors currently practicing at Washington Orthopaedic Center are orthopaedists Scott Slattery, Keith Birchard, Keith Anderson, and foot and ankle specialist Michael Dujela. Every single one of them is involved in community and global outreach. Dr. Dujela has traveled the world to help train foot and ankle specialists. He currently serves on the Surgical Executive Committee for the Global Foot and Ankle Society.
While Dr. Anderson has traveled to Papua New Guinea, Dominican Republic and Kenya, he most recently traveled to Bhutan for a month with Health Volunteers Overseas, teaching at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital. Dr. Slattery and Dr. Anderson traveled to Nicaragua with a team from Washington Orthopaedic Center to perform total joint replacements. Dr. Birchard has been to India, to Papua New Guinea three times, and to Dominican Republic, helping out on medical mission projects. He really enjoys working in a mission hospital providing orthopaedic services. “It’s always a very interesting experience,” he says.
In addition, over the years the group has sent money as well as supplies to needy areas. “We provided things like orthopaedic plates and screws to clinics in New Guinea, and femur rods to Nicaragua. Wherever we can help, we do our best,” says Dr. Birchard.
But their outreach work is greatest in their home community. “We support a lot of sports teams. Soccer, baseball, softball – it’s basically year-round,” explains Dr. Birchard. Washington Orthopaedic Center typically gives donations to the organization that provides the uniforms. “We often have multiple teams supported at the same time. They can be different sports, or different levels within the sport,” says Dr. Birchard.
“One year my son was playing on a team in Chehalis against another team that we were also sponsoring. I thought, ‘Hey, either way, I’m going to win,’” he laughs. While admittedly it is good advertising for their business since their logo goes onto team uniforms, the doctors’ main goal is for kids to be able to participate in sports, and to keep kids active.
The doctors support United Way through their annual employee drive. “We encourage our staff to give to United Way if at all possible,” explains Dr. Birchard. And like so many other community members who love kids, animals, and the fair, they have a great time backing kids in 4-H at the Southwest Washington Fair. “Last year we helped sponsor a couple of pigs,” smiles Dr. Birchard. “That’s a really fun thing to support.”
Washington Orthopaedic Center also contributes major donations for large projects in the community. When the Centralia College gym (now called the Michael Smith Gymnasium) was remodeled a few years back, they helped support the project. When Centralia Providence Hospital built a new wing and the larger, remodeled Emergency Room, Washington Orthopaedic Center was right there making sure they could be of assistance with financial support. “We also really enjoy being a part of their annual fundraiser, the Festival of Trees,” says Dr. Birchard.
Washington Orthopaedic Center has an ongoing commitment to the community. “We think of it a bit like the Shop Local idea,” says Birchard. “We really appreciate our local community and their support of us. We want to give that support back to the local community as well. We hope they know that we’re here for them. When they have an emergency like grandma breaks a hip, or a son or daughter is injured on the sports field, we get them in right away.”
Washington Orthopaedic Center is committed to helping all ages have the best possible health, in ways that do not always involve surgery. An MRI Diagnostic Center is on-site to help diagnose issues. Non-surgical treatments can be used for arthritis, osteoporosis, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Of course, providers are experts at setting broken bones, replacing joints, and repairing feet and ankles. And the center has an excellent reputation for addressing all kinds of sports injuries, working to educate athletes about injury prevention as well as providing rehabilitative services to get your favorite player quickly and safely back out on the field.
Dr. Birchard finishes, “We hope that if someone needs a hip replacement or shoulder surgery that they will also think about us. We really love this community we are in and enjoy giving back to it whenever and wherever we can.”
Washington Orthopaedic Center
1900 Cooks Hill Road