Christopher Camp, M.D.: Drawn in by the Mayo culture, he says he’d teach all day if he could
Christopher Camp, M.D. (MED ’10, OR ’15), Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, is only four years out of training and received his second Teacher of the Year award from the Mayo Fellows’ Association. The first was in 2019.
“It’s humbling to receive the award again — truly an honor.”
He says the second award may be even more meaningful than the first. “As my career has advanced and I’ve become more involved in research, administration and team coverage, I feel like I haven’t had as much time for education as I’d like. It’s humbling to receive the award again — truly an honor.”
Dr. Camp says he knows he’s done a good job at teaching when a learner has a breakthrough they didn’t expect. “Arthroscopy is a difficult surgical skill to learn, and residents often start by saying they can’t do it. We develop a plan, they practice it and come to like it. Many of them decide to make it their career.”
“I’d teach all day every day if I had the time.”
Being involved in education was part of Dr. Camp’s plan since medical school. “Since I was a student at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgery resident, I’ve been interested in teaching,” he says. “I’d teach all day every day if I had the time. Being responsible for patient care, research and team coverage sometimes makes finding the little moments to teach challenging. It is very rewarding to know the residents and fellows appreciate the efforts I’ve made.”
Dr. Camp says he only planned to stay at Mayo long enough to complete medical school. He’s a Tennessee native and attended college there. He got married after college, and he and his wife thought they’d only be in Minnesota for four years.
“The Mayo culture drew me in — putting patients first, having a shared expectation of excellence and the collegiality among staff members.”
After residency at Mayo Clinic, he completed a two-year combined clinical research and orthopedic surgery sports medicine fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City — as a Mayo Clinic Scholar. He joined the Mayo Clinic staff afterward.
Dr. Camp says he didn’t feel as smart as his medical school or residency classmates and worked hard to keep up. That struggle helps him identify with trainees who struggle. “All of us are good at some things and need to improve in other areas. I try to make a point to delineate between which areas a trainee is excelling in and which need work. This helps keep them motivated and focused. I’m rewarded when I see their growth, especially in areas they didn’t think they could master.”
Dr. Camp mentions his own early Mayo Clinic mentors from medical school: David Farley, M.D. (S ’94), Emeriti Staff; Eddie Greene, M.D. (NEPH ’00), Division of Nephrology and Hypertension; and Aaron Krych, M.D. (MED ’05, OR ’10), co-chair, Division of Sports Medicine. “Dr. Krych is incredibly busy and active but still finds a way to do the teaching that residents and fellows need. He balances the three shields plus administration better than anyone. He inspires me on a daily basis.”
To enhance resident education, Dr. Camp has worked with Jonathan Barlow, M.D. (OR ’13), Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program director, to design a curriculum they have titled “Leadership Principals” for the residents. “This was an idea that evolved over several years to fill an identified void in our training,” says Dr. Camp. “We teach how to operate and learn orthopedics but not how to be good leaders and people. It’s nontraditional in terms of training but valuable to our residents, I think.”
“I’ve learned so much from the others who have received it. I’m honored to be in their company.”
With two Teacher of the Year awards under his belt early in his career, Dr. Camp says everyone in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery is supportive of each other and loves to see colleagues get the award. “We value this award. I’ve learned so much from the others who have received it. I’m honored to be in their company.”
Comments from trainees
- “Dr. Camp is all in on resident education. He takes the time away from his busy schedule to outline goals and ways we can improve as residents. He’s an ideal role model in the clinic, in the OR and in his professional development, advocacy and community involvement.”
- “Dr. Camp has taken the time to focus on developing a leadership curriculum with interns. He personally joins us for these sessions and has very good discussion topics that he curates beforehand. He spends a lot of time to make these sessions meaningful, and they directly correlate to our growth as physician leaders.”
- “Dr. Camp actively ensures that residents on his service reach their potential by helping set and follow up on relevant goals. He is an excellent teacher and constantly comes up with innovative ways of making material understandable and accessible.”
- “He pushes me to be better. Despite my limited intern skill set, he made sure to get me involved in surgeries and provided me with opportunities to demonstrate the things I had been practicing over the course of the rotation.”
- “We are lucky to have Dr. Camp on our faculty. It’s exciting to know that he trained here at Mayo.”