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North Star Health Alliance Leads the Way in Localized Orthopedic Innovation and Excellence

North Star Health Alliance Leads the Way in Localized Orthopedic Innovation and Excellence

Keeping Healthcare Local: NCOG, CAH, and CHMC Unite Under NSHA for Community-Centric Care


Carthage Area Hospital (CAH), Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center (CHMC), and the North Country Orthopaedic Group (NCOG), all members of the North Star Health Alliance (NSHA), proudly stand at the forefront of orthopedic excellence, driven by our renowned orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Nata Parnes, Dr. Carolyn Hettrich, Dr. Baird, and Dr. Steven Mussett. With an unwavering commitment to advancing orthopedic medicine, they embody the pinnacle of clinical expertise, innovative research, and educational leadership. Their significant contributions have not only elevated our organizations but also help to reinforce our mission to keep healthcare local and accessible. By prioritizing pre-surgical, surgical, and post-operative care within the North Country, we offer a comprehensive and convenient healing journey. This localized approach not only enhances patient outcomes but also eliminates the need for long-distance travel to cities like Burlington, Syracuse, Utica, and Rochester, ensuring our community benefits from the best in the field, right here in the North Country.


Dr. Nata Parnes: A Pioneer in Orthopedic Care and Research


Dr. Parnes has been a key figure in the orthopedic community at Carthage Area Hospital (CAH), bringing over 15 years of experience since his clinical fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital. His advanced training includes the prestigious Harvard Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship and the Harvard Upper Extremity and Hand Fellowship. His significant contribution to the field is highlighted by his founding of the Department of Research and Clinical Investigation at Carthage and CHMC three years ago. This initiative underscores his dedication to enhancing orthopedic care and research, representing a significant milestone in his distinguished career.

In his role as an associate professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD, Dr. Parnes has been instrumental in molding the next generation of orthopedic surgeons. His participation in the American Shoulder and Elbow Society Leadership Development Program and active membership on the American Shoulder and Elbow Society Research Committee further highlight his dedication to the field and his influence in shaping the future of orthopedic medicine.


Dr. Parnes has an extensive publication record, with over 100 scientific papers and 15 book chapters to his credit. His research focuses on both non-surgical and surgical treatments for shoulder and upper extremity injuries, catering to athletes, civilians, and military personnel. This includes pioneering work in areas like impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tears, and shoulder preservation. His notable recent publications include "American Journal of Sports Medicine," January 2024, detailing the evaluation of success metrics following arthroscopic posterior labral repair, as well as the "American Journal of Sports Medicine," December 2023, presenting insights on the outcomes of combining biceps tenodesis with anterior glenohumeral stabilization. These contributions highlight Dr. Parnes's ongoing efforts to enhance orthopedic surgery and patient care through rigorous research.


Dr. Carolyn Hettrich: An Authority in Shoulder Arthroplasty and Sports Medicine


Dr. Hettrich's distinguished medical career at North Country Orthopaedic Group (NCOG) is highlighted by her significant contributions to orthopedics, with a focus on sports medicine and shoulder surgery. As the associate editor of JSES Techniques, she showcases extensive expertise and dedication to advancing this medical field. Leading the world's largest prospective shoulder instability study with the Multicenter Orthopaedic Outcomes Network Shoulder Group (MOON) highlights her influential role in the orthopedic community. Her involvement with NCOG further emphasizes a commitment to excellence in patient care and research.

Beginning her educational journey at Pomona College, progressing through the University of Washington School of Medicine, and culminating in a fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Hettrich laid a strong foundation for her career. This path enabled her to become the North Country region's leading high-volume shoulder arthroplasty surgeon, underlining the critical link between surgeon experience and patient outcomes.

Dr. Hettrich's commitment to research and patient care is evident in her preparations for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) annual meeting, where she will present six papers. With over 100 publications to her name and her role as co-editor for the AAOS ICL book and leadership in the upcoming American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) meeting, her contributions to orthopedics are extensive. Additionally, her co-editorship of the Clinics in Sports Medicine's April 2023 edition highlights her dedication to mentoring the next generation of medical professionals. Clinically, Dr. Hettrich is known for her innovative surgical techniques, contributing significantly to the fields of ACL reconstruction, meniscus surgery, and rotator cuff repair. Her role in orthopedics showcases her unwavering dedication to improving outcomes and fostering the development of patient-centered care.


Dr. Bruce L. Baird: A Visionary in Spine and Orthopedic Surgery


At the heart of North Star Health Alliance's orthopedic excellence is Dr. Bruce L. Baird, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and the esteemed President of the North Country Orthopaedic Group (NCOG). With a distinguished medical education from New Jersey Medical School in Newark, NJ, and comprehensive training in orthopedic surgery from Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, Dr. Baird has dedicated his career to the advancement of orthopedic care. His specialized fellowship in Spine Surgery, also at Upstate Medical University, has positioned him as a leading expert in the complexities of the spine, hip, neck, and carpal tunnel surgeries.

Dr. Baird's commitment to clinical excellence is evident in his staff appointments across several prestigious medical institutions in New York, including the North Country Orthopaedic Ambulatory Surgery Center in Watertown, Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, Carthage Area Hospital in Carthage, and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg. These roles underscore his versatility and breadth of expertise in orthopedic surgery, making him a pillar in the medical community.

An active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Medical Society of the State of New York, the Medical Society of Jefferson County, the Jefferson Physician Organization, and the North American Spine Society, Dr. Baird is deeply involved in the orthopedic surgery community. His specialization in hip, spine, neck, and carpal tunnel surgery not only showcases his surgical precision and innovation but also his dedication to providing patients with the most advanced care possible.

Dr. Steven Mussett: A Leader in Foot and Ankle Surgery


Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center (CHMC) is pleased to share that Dr. Steven Mussett, MD, is now open to new patients. His focus on foot and ankle surgery, complemented by his expertise in orthopedic surgery, orthopedics, and sports medicine, enables him to offer a broad spectrum of orthopedic care. Dr. Mussett's education at the University of Cape Town in South Africa has equipped him with a solid foundation in medicine. He is an active member of several key medical associations, such as the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, Canadian Medical Association, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. His involvement with these groups reflects his dedication to upholding quality standards in foot and ankle surgery.

In his practice, Dr. Mussett emphasizes a patient-first approach, tailoring treatments to meet individual needs and employing the latest techniques to achieve the best possible outcomes. He prioritizes both immediate and long-term health goals, aiming to improve his patients' well-being. Dr. Mussett also keeps up with current research and continues his professional education to ensure his methods are up-to-date. This commitment to continuous improvement and patient care makes Dr. Mussett a competent and reliable choice for those seeking orthopedic services.


The Essence of Localized Healthcare

The collective efforts of Drs. Parnes, Hettrich, Baird, and Mussett underscore the NSHA's mission to provide top-tier orthopedic care within the North Country. Their individual achievements, combined with a shared commitment to research, education, and innovative patient care, ensure that residents have access to the best orthopedic services without the need to travel far from home. This localized approach not only enhances patient outcomes but also strengthens the community's health infrastructure.

Envisioning a Future of Orthopedic Excellence

The NSHA's dedication to keeping healthcare local, spearheaded by these four distinguished surgeons, promises a future where the North Country is synonymous with orthopedic excellence. Their pioneering work in research, surgical innovation, and patient care is not just enhancing the quality of life for their patients today but is paving the way for future advancements in orthopedic medicine. As we celebrate their contributions, we also look forward to the continued evolution of orthopedic care in the North Country, ensuring it remains a beacon of hope and healing for the community.


About Carthage Area Hospital

Carthage Area Hospital (CAH) was established as a not-for-profit rural community hospital in 1965. It operates today as a fully accredited 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, serving approximately 83,000 residents in Jefferson, northern Lewis and southern St. Lawrence counties. With additional regional healthcare centers located in Ogdensburg, Heuvelton, Waddington, Hammond, Canton, and Madrid, as well as the Walk-in Clinic and School Based Clinics, CAH ensures all residents have convenient access to necessary services, alleviating the need for costly travel.


About North Country Orthopaedic Group

Since 1959, North Country Orthopaedic Group (NCOG) has been a leader in comprehensive orthopedic care, serving Jefferson, northern Lewis, and southern St. Lawrence counties. Specializing in orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, wound care, total joint replacement, foot and ankle care, and physical therapy, they provide expert, localized care throughout the North Country. Dedicated to excellence, the NCOG team offers personalized treatment to improve the health and well-being of our patients, right here at home.

About Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center

Established in 1855, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center (CHMC) holds the distinction of being the inaugural hospital in the North Country. The hospital operates as a not-for-profit, private community hospital and regional referral center, certified for 115 beds, ensuring that the approximately 40,000 inhabitants of Ogdensburg, NY, and the adjacent communities receive the crucial services they require in close proximity to their homes. Claxton-Hepburn is distinguished by its specialized centers in cancer, renal, and wound-healing care, as well as comprehensive inpatient and outpatient mental health care, emergency medicine, maternity care, pulmonary care, and diabetes education