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news News Thursday, February 6, 2020 Thursday, February 6, 2020 10:40 AM - Thursday, February 6, 2020 10:40 AM

Spotlight on plastics resident Jason Gardenier, M.D.

Spotlight on plastics resident Jason Gardenier, M.D.

We sat down with Jason Gardenier, M.D., who recently completed his residency at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston in plastic, reconstructive and laser surgery. He shared his background and reflected upon his time at the hospital.

Why did you choose to go into medicine?

I chose to go into medicine to directly help people. When I was a child, I saw my grandparents get sick and I remember feeling powerless, not knowing what was wrong with them or how to help. I was always a good science student and found myself motivated to apply this toward medicine. Medicine directly helps patients one-on-one, and surgery helps patients immediately in the course of a couple of hours on the operating table. You can see the results right before your eyes.

Please tell us about your background. Where did you attend undergraduate and medical school?

I grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. My father was born in Portland, Maine, and my mother was born in Istanbul, Turkey. Both of my parents became statisticians and moved to the D.C. area – a global center of number crunching. I stayed in-state and attended William and Mary for college, studying international relations alongside my pre-med classes, and then attended the University of Virginia for medical school.

How did you choose plastic surgery? Do you have any specialties?

I became interested in plastic surgery after my residency in general surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital at Cornell and took care of patients with deforming injuries. I worked with plastic surgeons as part of a multidisciplinary team to restore form and function and reestablish sense of self for these patients. Performing reconstructive surgeries allowed patients to recognize themselves in the mirror again, feel comfortable in a public space, or live their normal lives without chronic pain.

I conducted research in the plastic surgery laboratory of Babak Mehrara, M.D., at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a burn surgery fellowship at Cornell. My laboratory research was in lymphatic biology and focused on improving treatments for lymphedema. My burn surgery fellowship built upon my interest in plastic surgery by caring for severely burned people. It was enormously educational to care for patients in the biggest burn unit in NYC where we admitted approximately 900 patients during my fellowship.

Please share your experience of being a plastics resident here.

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, I gained extensive experience in complex reconstructive burn procedures, and procedures on children born with face and hand problems. To highlight my rotation at Shriners Hospitals for Children, I participated in restoring eyelid function from severely burned faces to prevent blindness, and I helped reconstruct severely burned ears and noses. I also took care of children with cleft lips and cleft palates, and children born with too many or too few fingers to let them lead normal lives. Working with the plastic surgery staff including Dr. Austen, Dr. Donelan, Dr. Bojovic, Dr. Liao, Dr. Driscoll, Dr. Ehrlichman and Dr. Upton was an amazing experience!

What are your most memorable experiences at the Boston Shriners Hospital?

My most memorable experience at Shriners Hospitals for Children has been working on patients with rare conditions requiring specialized care only available at a few centers in the world. It was inspiring to work at this hospital where many new and innovative surgeries for children were pioneered that now benefit children worldwide. The brave attitude of the kids at Shriners [Hospitals] is amazing too. They are so brave and tough, always keeping a positive attitude and a smile on their faces!

How would you describe Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston to someone not familiar with the hospital?

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston is a world leader in caring for severely burned children and children with congenital malformations of the face and hand. It is a charitable organization run by an extraordinary team who raise money to treat severely injured patients from across the U.S. and around the world. Many of these children have rare congenital problems which cannot be treated in most other places. During my time providing burn care in NYC, we sent some patients to get more advanced care at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston because it is one of the best places in the world to receive burn care and reconstruction, and it serves as a resource for advancement in medical treatments for children globally.

Doctors Driscoll and GardenierGardenier with OR nurses

Pictured: (top right) Dr. Gardenier with Dr. Donelan (left) and Dr. Bojovic, (bottom left) Dr. Gardenier with Dr. Driscoll, who recently became an Aleppo Shriner, (bottom right) Dr. Gardenier with operating room nurses.