August 01, 2015

Brian Hallstrom, MD: Surgeon, rower, outdoorsman

Brian Hallstrom, MD
What do you do at UMHS?

I’m an orthopaedic surgeon in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. I perform hip and knee replacements. I’m also the Associate Chair for Quality and Safety which means I lead our department’s peer review activity and quality improvement projects. And I’m the Co-director of the Michigan Arthroplasty Registry Collaborative Quality Initiative (MARCQI). The registry is a consortium of providers dedicated to improving quality of care for patients undergoing hip and knee replacement in Michigan. For example, we recently successfully reduced the number of blood transfusions associated with these surgeries across the state.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy helping individual patients get back on their feet through joint replacement. At the same time, with the MARCQI joints registry, I have the opportunity to impact thousands of patients through statewide quality improvement initiatives for joint replacement.

What is one of your most memorable moments in the clinic?

Every Thursday in our clinic is a real joy. Patients return for follow-up visits with great stories to tell about the impact of their joint replacement. They tell me what they’re able to do again now that they’re recovered from their surgery. Recently, a patient shared a photo of herself hiking a Machu Picchu trail in Peru after her surgery.

What do you value most in your colleagues?

Honesty and reliability. My relationships with my patients are paramount. I need to be able to (and I do!) rely on my colleagues to be there for me as partners in taking care of my patients who are almost like family to me.

When you’re not working, what do you do?

I hang out with my wife and two children, ages 17 and 15. My wife and I are rowers and in the summer we try to get our double scull out as often as possible. In the winter, my family also enjoys cross country skiing and racing.

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

We do a lot of back packing. We seek out places where our cell phones and pagers don’t reach. A few years ago, we hiked to the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Mountain Range, Wyoming, where you can find some of the best hiking in the country. We were lucky – we had llamas to carry our packs on that trip.

What is one destination you dream of but haven’t gotten to yet?

We’d like to visit Alaska for hiking and skiing.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Being on or near the water. We have a cottage on a lake in Brighton, Michigan, and we move there every summer so we can spend as much time as possible by the water.