Jun 30, 2012 - By Randy Tucker, Staff WriterThe Riverton alumnus is in his final year of residency and hopes to specialize in children's hand surgery.
Riverton's Spencer Stanbury has been studying medicine for a long time. The 2000 graduate of Riverton High School is in his "Chief" or final year of residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., and has accepted a prestigious surgical fellowship at Harvard University to begin in the fall of 2013.
His focus at Harvard will be surgery of the hand.
"Ideally I'd like to practice comprehensive care of the entire upper extremity from shoulder to fingertip," Stanbury said. "My main area of interest is in children's hand surgery with a sub-specialty of pediatric orthopedic surgery."
Stanbury majored in biology at Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma as an undergraduate and competed as a hurdler and decathlete on the Golden Eagles track team.
"I ran the 110's and the 400-meter hurdles at first, but they gradually moved me to the decathlon," Stanbury said.
The competitive level of collegiate track and field added to his experience as a student at Oral Roberts.
"Varsity athletics helped me focus," Stanbury said. "It kept me on a tight schedule and focused my efforts."
After graduating from Oral Roberts, Stanbury was accepted to the University of Oklahoma. For the next four years he worked toward his medical degree and graduated in 2008.
"I enjoyed preparation the most, challenging myself and being stimulated by my peers," Stanbury said. "It is competitive, but OU is a friendly place, competitive but congenial."
He took residency at the University of Rochester and began the arduous journey through medical residency as an orthopedic surgeon.
"The biggest challenge is the long hours required in residency," Stanbury said.
Now about to enter his final year of residency, Stanbury looks forward to the opportunities offered through his fellowship at Harvard.
To receive a fellowship, an applicant must complete a comprehensive survey, and the participating universities do the same.
"I applied at 13 different hospitals, all across the nation," Stanbury said. "It is a match system. The computer identifies your preferences and the teaching hospitals' and finds the best match."
Harvard was the computer's choice and Stanbury's hope as well.
The interview with Harvard was an interesting one.
"We talked about being a decathlete and getting malaria in Africa," he said.
Stanbury contracted a particularly virulent strain of the tropical disease while working on a medical mission there.
"It is the kind that is very lethal, but only passes once through your liver, and if you survive you don't get it again. " Stanbury said. He was flown to Amsterdam for treatment before returning home.
"It gave me something to talk about," Stanbury said. "It makes you more memorable."
While at Oklahoma, Stanbury was class president of the medical school and served as a liaison between the class and the dean.
Stanbury's tenure at Harvard will be spent in three of the university's four teaching hospitals. He will spend seven months at Brigham and Women's Hospital, three months at Boston's Children Hospital and the final two months at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Upon completion of the fellowship, Stanbury will enter the medical profession somewhere in the United States.
"My goal is to get a job. I don't know where we'll end up," Stanbury said. "We'd prefer to go west to Denver or Phoenix, but we'll have to see."
Stanbury's wife, Megan, is a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
Stanbury is the son of Joe and Rose Stanbury, of Riverton, and Janice Stanbury, of Rochester, N.Y.
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