Weiss Memorial Hospital Sponsors Joffrey Ballet

October 13, 2010

Weiss Memorial Hospital and its orthopedic and sports medicine physicians will sponsor Chicago's premiere dance company-Joffrey Ballet-meeting the medical needs of its dancers. From pre-season physical examinations to emergency or scheduled consultations, X-rays and other imaging, Weiss will make healthcare available to the troupe at the North Side hospital as well as the ballet's studio, located in the heart of Chicago's Loop. The agreement also provides dancers a "Game Ready" machine, an innovative ice compression system that speeds recovery.

"We are here to prevent serious injury to these prestigious performers," said Craig Westin, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Weiss Memorial Hospital and troupe physician for the Joffrey. Westin has extensive experience working with professional performers and other high-performing athletes.
He started covering the Boston Ballet as a resident at Harvard Orthopedics and continued with Ballet West in Salt Lake City where he served as medical director of the Snowbird Ski Clinic. He has been a physician to the U.S. and Olympic Figure Skating team for 15 years. He specializes in sports medicine-focusing in particular on the knee and shoulder. He performs arthroscopic knee and shoulder repairs, as well as cartilage repair and restoration.

"These classically trained dancers are particularly susceptible to injuries to their hips, knees and feet. For the men, we are also concerned with their shoulders because of the lifting they do of their partners," Dr. Westin said. "When these performers, or any athlete, have pain, they will lose strength; so the idea is to identify and correct the problem, reduce the pain, and regain strength and range of motion."

The Joffrey Ballet sponsorship is part of Weiss' overall commitment to improving the health of the community by caring for all types of sports enthusiasts-from the professional dancer to the amateur athlete. The Joffrey Ballet agreement follows Weiss partnering with two other professional teams in the city this spring-the WNBA's Chicago Sky and the women's soccer Chicago Red Stars.

"All of these special relationships not only show the depth of orthopedics and sports medicine experience at Weiss, but also the measure of confidence in our hospital and our physicians," said Frank Molinaro, chief executive officer for Weiss. "Caring for professional dancers, in addition to professional basketball and soccer players, help us carry out our commitment to educate the community about healthy lifestyles and fitness. The experience gained from treating these athletes will only benefit Weiss' other sports medicine patients, many of whom are weekend warriors."

Weiss orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine physicians-with affiliations at Chicago's academic and research facilities, including the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois and Loyola University Chicago-will treat Joffrey Ballet athletes to ensure their long-term health and viability on and off the dance floor. The orthopedic unit at Weiss brings a balance of preventive care, individual athlete/patient understanding and leading-edge techniques. It already boasts high patient, physician and employee satisfaction scores-among the highest in the nation-illustrating the dedication behind the expertise.

"Having Weiss Memorial Hospital as a sponsor of the Joffrey gives us peace of mind that our dancers' healthcare needs will be met," said Christopher Clinton Conway, executive director of the Joffrey. "In this highly competitive world of dance, it's reassuring to know we have access to a team of recognized orthopedic physicians with a high level of experience and expertise at a moment's notice to address our dancers' needs."

Weiss' two-year sponsorship with the Joffrey begins with the 2010-2011 season.