About North Country Orthopaedic Group
Our mission is to provide northern New York with the highest quality of medical care and to satisfy our patient's health care needs in a prompt and efficient manner with warm and caring professional service. We continually strive to ensure an ethical, compassionate, and enabling approach to patient services and to the professionals who deliver these services.
Our growth and success is due to the hard work and professionalism of our employees. In sum, we strive to provide employees with a rewarding place to work. Working together provides us with a promising future and our most important commodity—a good reputation in the community. We want to ensure that our excellent reputation continues by always giving the best patient service possible.
It was the summer of 1959, a time best remembered in the North Country for the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, when a young Yale School of Medicine graduate, Walker R. Heap, MD, introduced the practice of orthopaedic surgery to northern New York.
Dr. Heap arrived in Watertown in July of that year, having just completed his orthopaedic training at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He wasted no time starting his new practice. Within a few weeks of his arrival, he saw his first orthopaedic patient in his new office at 161 Clinton Street.
Dr. Heap's reputation as a skilled surgeon grew quickly, and within a few short years, he found himself unable to keep up with the growing demand for his services. Turning to his orthopaedic training program, Dr. Heap persuaded fellow alumnus James B. Fish, MD, to join him in his work.
The surgeons' practice continued to grow through the 1960s. By 1970, the practice had recruited a third Michigan-trained orthopaedist, David O. Van Eenenaam, MD, and moved its offices to a new 11, 000-square-foot facility at 622 Washington Street. It also formally incorporated its business, adopting the name North Country Orthopaedic Group, PC, or NCOG.
The field of orthopaedics continued to change rapidly over the next few decades and NCOG responded accordingly. The practice systematically recruited newly trained orthopaedic surgeons to the group to ensure it always offered the latest surgical techniques and medical advances to its patients – a philosophy we still follow today.
The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) establishes educational standards for orthopaedic residents and also evaluates the initial and continuing qualifications and knowledge of orthopaedic surgeons. When an orthopaedic surgeon has been board-certified, he/she has completed all necessary training to be a well-qualified surgeon. The surgeon has been evaluated by surgical peers and rigorously tested to ensure that he/she follows the appropriate standards of practice.
All five North Country Orthopaedic Group surgeons are board-certified or actively engaged in the two year certification process (board-eligible). Some hospitals in Jefferson County have hired non-board-certified surgeons. We believe board certification matters.
Click here to find out if your surgeon is board-certified.
For more information about the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery certification, click the links below:
In the News
Join us in congratulating Dr. Natalie Nielsen in becoming Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery!
ABOS Board Certification “is yet one more assurance for patients and their families — before and after surgery. Studies point to better outcomes, decreased infection rates and reduced time away from home when surgery is performed by a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon”1.
Board certification is voluntary process beyond medical licensure. A Board Certified physician must meet certain educational requirements. Certification first consists of two phases. The first phase is a timed exam of approximately 320 multiple choice questions covering all of orthopaedics. After passing this exam, the physician is considered Board Eligible. The second phase is an oral exam, for which all surgical cases performed during a six-month period are submitted for review by the volunteer Board Certified orthopaedic surgeons. Twelve cases are selected for the oral exam presentation. The cases are independently graded and scrutinized by examiners on many levels. Once a physician passes the second phase, they are Board Certified for a period of 10 years.