Summer Research Program Produces More Data

As a patient at Shelbourne Knee Center, Jacob Bailey saw first-hand how research enabled orthopedic surgeon K. Donald Shelbourne, MD, to provide optimal treatment for his torn ACL and meniscus and answer his questions about return to competitive swimming. As a research intern at Shelbourne Knee Center, Bailey is helping to produce the data for research-driven patient care.

Six weeks after ACL reconstruction during his freshman year in high school, Bailey was back to swimming competitively. Now age 21, Bailey is a pre-medicine major at the University of Evansville, where he competes on the swim team. He has spent the last three summers at Shelbourne Knee Center as a research intern and plans to specialize in orthopedics.

Patient Becomes Research Intern

Shelbourne Knee Center has been tracking patient outcomes and studying factors related to those outcomes for 38+ years. Bailey has been a research participant since completing rehab, taking the annual patient survey and coming back to the clinic for research follow-up visits periodically.

During one of these research visits, Bailey expressed interest in orthopedic surgery. Dr. Shelbourne invited him to learn more as a research intern at Shelbourne Knee Center. “You don’t know what is optimal care if you aren’t conducting research,” says Bailey.

Data for Optimal Care

This summer, Bailey is working with orthopedic surgeon Rodney Benner, MD, to develop a classification system for patellofemoral instability, abstracting medical records for pain medication taken by total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients and assisting with other research tasks.

The classification system, based on X-rays of about 273 patients who underwent patellar realignment surgery at Shelbourne Knee Center, will help orthopedic surgeons identify the optimal treatment for each patient with patellofemoral instability. Each cause of instability and anatomical abnormality is matched with the appropriate surgical procedure.

Post-TKA Pain Medication

In the abstracting project, Jacob is converting pain medication taken by Shelbourne Knee Center TKA patients into mixed morphine equivalents for sub-group analyses and comparison with national data. Sub-group analyses may include the amount of pain medication taken by men versus women for unilateral versus bilateral TKA, and when different surgical techniques are used.

Shelbourne Knee Center also will use the data to compare the amount of pain medication taken by its patients to other patients based on the literature.

A Results-Driven Approach

The summer research program usually includes two or three research interns from high schools, colleges or medical schools in Indiana. The interns gain valuable experience while enabling Shelbourne Knee Center to conduct more research. Due to the pandemic, Bailey was the only intern in the 2020 summer research program. Before starting work on research in mid-June, he helped perform COVID-19 screening for patients and guests at Community Hospital.

“Dr. Benner and Dr. Shelbourne take a very results-driven approach to medicine,” says Bailey. “Seeing first-hand how they can do more for their patients using research results makes this an invaluable experience for me.”

For more information about the Shelbourne Knee Center Research Program, call 888-FIX-KNEE or email