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Penn State Health names Armstrong vice president and physician leader for orthopedic services

Penn State Health has named Dr. April Armstrong to the position of vice president for orthopedic services for Penn State Health Medical Group.

Armstrong will oversee orthopedic services across the Medical Group, in addition to maintaining her current responsibilities as C. McCollister Evarts Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation for Penn State College of Medicine and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Armstrong will partner with Dr. Safa Farzin, senior vice president and physician leader for Penn State Health Medical Group, to oversee orthopedic workforce planning efforts, including recruitment and retention of employed orthopedic care team members at Penn State Health practices. She will also work collaboratively with the vice presidents of medical affairs at each of Penn State Health’s five adult acute care hospitals on matters related to credentialing and privileging of private practice orthopedic medical staff and will coordinate outreach and collaboration with other regional physicians and care providers related to orthopedic services.

She will help drive the system’s patient care strategy for orthopedics, including making recommendations to hospital and health system senior leadership regarding scope and site of clinical services, key technology investments, capital investments in facilities, as well as quality of care measures and clinical standards of care.

The health system created the position to ensure the coordinated delivery of superior orthopedic care across all of its hospitals and outpatient practices, ensuring that no patient needs to leave the region for primary, specialty or sub-specialty services.

“Dr. Armstrong is an accomplished clinician, researcher, educator and administrator with a history of focusing on the best outcomes and experience for patients,” said Dr. Peter Dillon, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of Penn State Health. “Her collaborative, patient-focused approach will guide Penn State Health’s efforts to extend the highest level of care and support to orthopedic patients across our continuum of care.”

Armstrong is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) and has held leadership positions in education, research and clinical service. In addition to her department chair role, she currently serves as chief of the shoulder and elbow service. Previously, she served as vice chair of clinical affairs and quality for the department and associate chief medical officer for outpatient surgical care for Penn State Health Medical Group.

Her leadership experience in medical education includes associate designated institutional officer and director of health systems science for graduate medical education in the GME Office and national course director for the Orthopaedic Educators Course for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. She is in her seventh year of a 10-year term as a director of the ABOS and currently serves as its president.

A nationally recognized scholar, she currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. She also holds national leadership positions in the American Society of Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Association.

“I look forward to the important work of extending Penn State Health’s orthopedic offerings across our region and ensuring that the care we provide is well-coordinated, accessible and of the highest value,” Armstrong said. “That includes growing our clinical and academic missions within our nationally ranked department as well as partnering with our community and private practice physicians within the region.”

Armstrong earned her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, where she also completed her orthopedic surgery residency. She completed two clinical fellowships—one in upper extremity orthopedic surgery at St. Joseph’s Health Care London in London, Ontario, and the other in shoulder and elbow orthopedic surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University Medical Center. Armstrong also holds a Master of Science in medical biophysics from the Bioengineering Research Lab of the Lawson Health Research Institute, University of Western Ontario. She has led the department at Penn State College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center as interim chair since July 2019 and chair since July 2021.

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