“I’ve always loved a challenge,” says Dr. Sommer Hammoud.
A soccer player for UCLA and part of the Olympic Development Program for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, Hammoud brings that same competitive edge to her work in sports medicine. “I liked the idea of taking care of athletes,” says Hammoud, who focuses on knees, shoulders and elbows at various local Rothman Orthopaedic outposts. “Being an orthopedic surgeon really is like being a carpenter for the human body.”
Hammoud has worked with a number of collegiate and pro teams, serving as an assistant team physician for the Boston Red Sox, the New England Revolution and the Boston Bruins. These days, she’s one of the head team physicians at St. Joseph’s University, working in preventative medicine for ACL injuries. She also helps out at Phillies games.
Hammoud has also committed herself to battling a national crisis through her involvement with the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Foundation for Opioid Research and Education. She and other surgeons are working to determine multi-modal methods of controlling post-operative pain that don’t involve—or minimize the use of—narcotics.
The only woman currently serving on Rothman’s board of directors, Hammoud is also tackling gender equality in her field. “My main task is to always bring forward the voices of the women in the group,” she says.
Hammoud also serves on the board of the Perry Outreach Program, which encourages young women to seek careers in orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering. In the 2016-17 academic year, the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that only 14 percent of female residents were specializing in the field. So far, 25 percent of the participants in the Medical Student Outreach Program have gone on to an orthopedic surgery residency. “If women are exposed to potential mentors and other people like them early on, they may be more inclined to try it,” Hammoud says.