Faculty Spotlight – Alexandra Brooks-Hill

Clinical Assistant Professor


Vancouver – Whistler Healthcare Centre

Alexandra Brooks-Hill, a dedicated UBC Orthopaedics Clinical Assistant Professor based at the picturesque Whistler Healthcare Centre, is on a mission to empower patients and keep them actively participating in the sports they love for as long as possible, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Can you share a little bit about your educational background and journey, and how you got to where you are today?

After growing up and completing high school in Vancouver, field hockey led me to the University of Toronto (UofT) for my BPHE, MD and orthopaedic residency training. I returned to UBC for an upper extremity & arthroscopy fellowship followed by a sports knee fellowship in Geneva, Switzerland, where the focus was on ski injuries. When I initially joined JP McConkey at Squamish General Hospital (SGH), the local health care foundations purchased surgical equipment so that I could introduce new shoulder, knee and extremity trauma surgeries to the hospital. SGH had one operational OR that ran from 8am-3pm, often ending before 1pm, 3 days weekly.

To start, I only had 1-2 OR days per month so I did trauma locums around the province. When I lobbied to start a fracture clinic, the health authority only agreed to one location and they had me sign an agreement stating they could cancel some of my limited OR days to recoup costs, if necessary. Now, 19 years later, I am part of a Sea to Sky Orthopaedics sports knee & shoulder surgeon partnership team with Dr. Sally Clark. We run consistent fracture clinics in Whistler and ORs in Squamish. We have offices in both locations with our sports medicine, physiatry, physiotherapy, and kinesiology team to serve the corridor.

What inspired you to work in orthopaedics, specifically arthroscopy?

I was initially inspired by the UBC Allan McGavin and UofT David L. MacIntosh sport medicine teams that looked after me as a high school and university athlete.  A Sports Illustrated magazine article about the high volume of ACL injuries in women’s sport influenced my undergraduate research in biomechanics. I subsequently went to medical school with a plan to become a sports medicine physician. Mentors guided me towards orthopaedics and the ultimate selection of arthroscopy was easy, due to my passion for sports.

What impact would you like to see your work have on patients, communities and society at large?

My goal is to keep patients active and engaged in the sports that they love for as long as possible through local appropriately timed access to musculoskeletal care, despite socioeconomic status. I set up a fracture clinic in Whistler with a physiotherapist cast technician to create an infrastructure for local orthopaedic trauma care. We have also created both Intake and Rapid Access Shoulder & Knee clinics so that young meniscus, cartilage and acute rotator cuff tears can be identified and treated urgently. We have implemented musculoskeletal education and ACL injury prevention programs throughout the Sea to Sky community. In conjunction with the Whistler Health Care Foundation and Whistler Community Socially Services, we have created access to subsidized physiotherapy for patients with financial struggles. Ideally, our larger society will recognize the importance of and ensure patients have access to local orthopaedic care in their home communities.

What excites you most about your work? What are you most proud of?

I love helping patients overcome their injuries and seeing them return to their activities and sports. I find it rewarding to team up with health care practitioners who have similar goals and I am very proud of the partnership that Sally Clark and I have created. We have a Central Intake Referral System to ensure our patients have rapid access for urgent sports medicine injuries. We also have a Shared Surgical Waitlist and regularly collaborate intra-operatively. We contribute to local injury prevention, education, and sport medicine/therapy team collaboration. I am particularly proud of our maintained focus on our patients’ wellbeing.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give to current trainees?

I have two!

  1. We are in a privileged position where people trust us to surgically repair their injuries. To balance the huge responsibility that accompanies this privilege, be deliberate about enjoying your successes along the way! 
  2. Recognize and appreciate the mentors in your life. Their support is invaluable and a ton of fun!

When you’re not working, where can we find you?

With my family and friends outdoors! I love skiing, paddling, playing tennis, kiting, and sports in general. I also enjoy playing cards and reading historical fiction.

Share this story:

Latest News