BWH Harvard Shoulder Service

The mission of the Harvard Shoulder Service is to provide regional, national, and international leadership in the advancement of care for problems affecting the shoulder. This mission is based on advancement of knowledge through research, improvement of care through education of physicians, and clinical management of all problems affecting the shoulder.

The Harvard Shoulder Service at Partners was formally organized in the Spring of 1998. It is based at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). At BWH, the service is led by Laurence Higgins, MD. The goal is to be the preeminent shoulder center in the world. This mission is built on a three point foundation.

Clinical Mission

The Harvard Shoulder Service is a regional, national, and international resource for all physicians who have patients with difficult shoulder problems, including those with failed prior treatment. All patients will be cared for without consideration as to means for payment, and with the greatest concern for a careful, thoughtful, and compassionate solution to their problem. Our goal is also to function as a resource for orthopaedic specialists, non-orthopaedic physicians, therapists, and other health care providers who have questions regarding the care of patients with shoulder problems.

Academic Teaching Mission

The Harvard Shoulder Service is committed to advancing the education on management of shoulder problems for residents in training, post-graduate fellows, and practicing orthopaedic specialists. This commitment crosses all national boarders. In addition to the training of residents, postgraduate fellows are selected from applicants who apply from all over the world to participate in the Intercontinental Shoulder Fellowship based at Brigham and Women's and Massachusetts General Hospitals. This is the only international shoulder fellowship in the world, and it involves a collaboration between the orthopaedic departments of MGH and BWH and the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

A Visiting Shoulder Surgeon Scholar Program is also available and this program provides training of up to one year for orthopaedic surgeons from around the world who wish to learn advanced techniques for the care of patients with shoulder problems. To date, physicians from over 30 countries have visited and participated in this program.

The Harvard Shoulder Service is also committed to providing a resource to all questions about shoulder pathology. Biomechanical studies performed in our laboratory have been very important to health care providers by answering commonly asked questions regarding care of the shoulder.

Research Mission

The Harvard Shoulder Service has a strong commitment to both clinical and basic research aimed at the development of new techniques for the management of shoulder instability, rotator cuff tears, and joint reconstruction for arthritis and fractures.

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery acknowledges OMeGA Medical Grants Association for its generous grant in support of the following Fellowship Programs: Total Joint Arthroplasty, Orthopaedic Trauma, and Shoulder.


For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH