About OTRF

The Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Teaching and Research Foundation (OTRF) is an 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to support, foster and direct teaching and research in the field of orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine to achieve the most positive patient experiences and treatment outcomes. OTRF represents the membership with a continuous effort to provide high quality and cost-effective orthopaedic health care. Dr. Steven Chudik, OTRF founder and president, works through OTRF to provide unbiased and reliable orthopaedic information.


Dr Chudik

Steven C. Chudik, MD

Curriculum Vitae

In 2007, Dr. Steven Chudik created the 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation, Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Teaching and Research Foundation (OTRF), to keep people active and healthy and serve as a reliable, unbiased source for information and research—especially for the treatment and prevention of shoulder, knee and sports injuries to the musculoskeletal system (joints, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, etc.).

As a pioneering orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine physician, Dr. Chudik knows firsthand the lack of up to date and trustworthy orthopaedic information for the general public, athletic trainers and coaches, and even healthcare clinicians and surgeons. Therefore, it is OTRF’s mission to be a reliable resource and educator. The Foundation accomplishes this ambitious goal by producing the e-newsletter Active Bones, hosting athletic trainer educational and career development programs, conducting seminars for healthcare providers and the community, and most important, funding unbiased research in emerging areas such as arthroscopic and minimally invasive surgery to find better surgical alternatives and outcomes for shoulder, knee and sports injuries.

Through OTRF’s funding, several new surgical procedures and instruments were researched, tested and now in use by orthopaedic surgeons worldwide. One of the most significant and life changing new arthroscopic procedures spares the growth plate in children needing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery. Another is an arthroscopic procedure to rebuild a broken glenoid (shoulder socket) damaged from one or more dislocations. Dr. Chudik also developed a procedure and instruments to resurface a shoulder joint arthroscopically instead of replacing the joint. These are but a few of the arthroscopic orthopaedic advances made possible by OTRF research grants. Many new advances are in the pipeline for arthroscopic shoulder and knee techniques.

Dr. Chudik’s research interests extend beyond OTRF. He serves as a research mentor for students participating OTRF’s SOAR Program and he conducts research at Argonne National Laboratory, Batavia, Ill., and at the Hines VA Hospital Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratory, Hines, Ill. He also collaborates with clinicians and businesses to support the research and development required to bring new methods and technology to patients.

With funding from OTRF, Dr. Chudik hosts a physician extender training program for athletic trainers. This innovative educational opportunity provides athletic trainers the necessary skills and training needed to move from the athletic field to a clinical setting. Only a handful of institutions around the country provide physician extender training, so the demand exceeds OTRF’s funding ability. OTRF also offers career development opportunities for high school scholars, undergraduate collegians, and medical students.

Board certified in orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine, and a US News & World Report Top Doctor in orthopaedics, Dr. Chudik earned his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his residency in orthopaedics from the University of North Carolina Hospitals and was a fellow in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, an affiliate of Cornell University.

Dr. Chudik is an author of many papers and journal articles and is an expert reviewer for the American Journal of Sports Medicine and the Journal of Arthroscopic Surgery and Related Research. He is a consultant for Arthrex, Inc., a global medical device company and leader in new product development and medical education in orthopaedics. He also is the medical director at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, a legal consultant for the benefit of patient care and research mentor and advisor for honors medical school students. Dr. Chudik serves as a team physician for USA Swimming Medicine and Science Network High Performance Team, as well as many local teams and clubs. A partner at Hinsdale Orthopaedics, Dr. Chudik has been practicing at the Sports Performance Institute, Westmont, Illinois, since 2002.

As a nonprofit organization, OTRF programs and research rely solely on the support and generosity of individuals and organizations. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in making a contribution to help continue the educational programs in place and further orthopaedic research, OTRF has several charitable options you and your family might consider. Regardless the amount, every donation is appreciated and will help make the difference in the lives of others for generations to come.

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OTRF Board of Directors

The role of the Board of Directors for a nonprofit foundation is similar to a for-profit organization. Each has one or more individuals to provide leadership, vision, financial oversight, community relations, mission fulfillment and legal compliance.

The OTRF Board of Directors is comprised of professionals from clinical and nonclinical backgrounds who volunteer their time and energies to ensure the work and mission of OTRF are achieved. Their contributions, talents and insight are instrumental to the future of OTRF. The OTRF Board of Directors do not receive any financial compensation or remuneration.

Blair Ciecko

Blair Ciecko


With more than 20 years of corporate and non-profit integrated marketing communications and public relations experience, Blair Ciecko is the director of public relations and social media for Celtic Chicago, Inc., an advertising, marketing, public relations and event management agency in Niles, IL. Blair’s expertise in healthcare and nonprofit promotions helps further OTRF’s mission to educate and promote unbiased orthopaedic information to keep people active and healthy. Blair holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, news and editorial from University of Wisconsin.

John McClary

John McClary, CPA


John R. McClary is a principal at Somerset CPAs, a full-service certified public accounting and professional services firm comprised of CPAs, business advisors and financial analysts for more than ten industry specialties. John is the head principle for the healthcare division working with physician groups, hospitals, surgery and imaging centers and nonprofits on everything from tax planning and compliance, to C and S Corporations and individual estates/ trusts. John has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and is a member of the Indiana CPA Society, American Institute of CPAs and Medical Group Management Association.

Brent Smith

Brent Smith, DHSc, LAT, ATC

A bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Athletic Training and Health & Physical Education launched Brent Smith on an educational and career path that would take him from treating patients at ATI Physical Therapy to teaching athletic training at Penn State University for the Department of Kinesiology. Along the way, Brent earned a master’s degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Athletic Training from Indiana University and a doctorate in Health Sciences from A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences in Mesa. Brent’s research interests in the evaluation, management and outcome assessments for therapeutic interventions of ankle instability are an outgrowth of his education and career pursuits.

Brent Smith

Lark Welch, MS, ATC, CSCS

An assistant professor of athletic training education in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND, Lark Welch holds bachelor of science degrees in athletic training and biology from the University of Mary. She earned a master’s degree in exercise science from Northeastern University, Chicago. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Athletic Training from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, UT. Lark’s research interests include injury prevention and therapeutic modalities.

Kurt Gengenbacher

Kurt Gengenbacher, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Working as a board-certified physical therapist the past seven years for ATI Physical Therapy, Kurt Gengenbacher has been using his education and experience to combine therapy treatments and tests to best suit patients and athletes. Kurt earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami University and a doctor of physical therapy from the University of Iowa. He also completed a sports residency program at the University of Delaware, published articles in professional journals, and lectured on topics ranging from sports-related hip injuries and the management of Achilles tendinopathy, to pre-participation athlete screening and return to play criteria. Kurt serves on ATI’s advisory board for the clinical education committees and the research team. He also is an active mentor for Evidence in Motion’s (EIM) residency program.

Keith Tesch

Keith Tesch, CSCS, CNT

For the past 15 years, Keith Tesch has been helping people regain their strength, mobility and function using non-traditional exercises, yoga, and nutrition education, as well as research-based programs and techniques. Keith is the Fitness Director for PT-Solutions and helps OTRF develop in-season strength and conditioning programs for athletes of all ages and abilities. Keith has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. He also is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a strength and conditioning specialist and certified natural trainer.