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The Three Core Components of Mass General's Women's Sports Medicine Program

In This Video

  • The Women's Sports Medicine Program at Massachusetts General Hospital is a multidisciplinary clinical program combining expertise in orthopedics, endocrinology, obstetrics, physiatry, neurology and cardiology in order to address the care and recovery of female athletes
  • In addition to an interdisciplinary clinical focus, the program takes a multivariate approach to orthopedic research, with experts from other fields of medicine contributing to a holistic study of women in sport that takes into account related biofactors
  • Along with its interdisciplinary clinical and research foci, a key component of the program is education: sharing insights with colleagues and students globally to build institutional knowledge around treating female athletes now and in the future

Miho J. Tanaka, MD, orthopedic surgeon and director of the Women's Sports Medicine Program in the Department of Orthopaedics at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses her program's unique three-pronged approach to studying and treating female athletes. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach to clinical care, research and education in order to elucidate and expand knowledge in a historically undervalued area within sports medicine.


The Women's Sports Medicine Program is a multidisciplinary program that's designed to address the clinical gaps in the care of the female athlete.

Obviously, there's a lot of overlap when it comes to injuries and injury management with standard sports medicine. But we also know that men and women are different and we don't quite understand how those differences contribute to differences in orthopedic outcomes after treatment. So, for example, the influence of hormones or the influence of pregnancy or the differences in nutritional patterns—all of these things have not really been studied with regards to how they affect the outcomes after any type of orthopedic surgery or how they might even influence the risk of sustaining an orthopedic injury.

This program is designed to study those further and to address those clinical gaps. It is comprised of three different areas, one with a clinical focus, so that entails a multidisciplinary clinical program where we have experts from other fields including endocrine, obstetrics, physical therapy, concussion specialists, even sports cardiologists, to weigh in on the different aspects of care that might affect a female athlete and might affect their recovery from injury.

The second component is a research component where we do and perform multidisciplinary research. And this entails not just looking at an orthopedic injury from an orthopedic perspective, but having experts from outside the field weigh in on how certain elements of being a female such as the hormones or such as the other physical differences in morphology might affect some of the conditions that we see.

And lastly, there is a component of education that I think is one of the most important aspects of this program.

Currently, the program is comprised of about 26 different physicians and providers representing about 11 divisions from across Mass General. Each provider or physician is an expert in their respective fields and so being able to have their input on conditions that are orthopedic in nature but have other elements such as nutritional elements or hormonal aspects, and being able to study this with them is a way that we can really contribute to advance the knowledge in this area.

Learn more about the Women's Sports Medicine Program at Mass General

Refer a patient to the Sports Medicine Service at Mass General

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