Faculty Spotlight – Brad Ashman

Clinical Assistant Professor


Northern BC – Prince George

From pursuing a passion for baseball to ultimately finding his calling in medicine, Dr. Brad Ashman, an orthopaedic surgeon based in Prince George, BC, has embarked on a remarkable journey. With a love for the outdoors and a commitment to comprehensive patient care, he shares his inspiring story of how his diverse experiences have shaped his thriving career in orthopaedics, all while making a positive impact on his patients’ lives and the community at large.

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

Growing up in Trail, BC in the Kootenays, I later moved to Vancouver to follow my passion for playing baseball at the collegiate level. After a successful run in sports, I decided to pursue “plan B” and went on to study medicine, ultimately obtaining my MD degree from UBC. While considering various specialties during my clerkship, I found my true calling in orthopaedic surgery and decided to pursue it further. Thankfully, I matched to the residency program at UBC and thoroughly enjoyed the diverse range of orthopaedic subspecialty rotations during my training.

Throughout my residency, I developed a strong interest in sports medicine and arthroscopy, which led me to match with a fellowship program in Cincinnati, Ohio. My wife and I always knew that we wanted to return to BC, so after completing the fellowship, we moved back to start our family. We explored various opportunities around the province, and eventually, I accepted a position in Prince George, where we have lived for the past 5 years.

What inspired you to work in orthopaedics, specifically comprehensive orthopaedics?

Orthopaedics has always felt like the perfect fit for me due to its combination of anatomy, visual-spatial problem-solving, hands-on application of skills, and the satisfaction of helping patients overcome musculoskeletal issues and return to their beloved activities. I also adhered to the stereotype of an athlete turned orthopaedic surgeon, having experienced my own athletic orthopaedic injuries, which further fueled my passion for this field.

During my residency, I was drawn to the comprehensive nature of orthopaedics, finding it challenging to narrow down my interests to a specific subspecialty. It was during my comprehensive rotation and subsequent elective time in Prince George that I truly came to appreciate the benefits of being a “community surgeon.” The orthopaedic group in Prince George, with its talented general orthopods, served the diverse needs of the Northern population. When I joined the group, I embraced this role as well.

Being a comprehensive orthopaedic surgeon has been incredibly rewarding as it allows me to handle a wide variety of cases, keeping me constantly challenged and motivated to expand my skill set. I am always eager to learn and stay updated on the latest developments in the field. Our patients in the North greatly value the fact that we can address a broad range of orthopaedic problems locally, enabling them to receive care closer to home rather than being referred elsewhere. I have found immense fulfillment in practicing comprehensive orthopaedics, as it aligns with my diverse interests, provides me with continuous learning opportunities, and allows me to make a positive impact on the lives of our patients in Prince George and the surrounding areas.

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

As a clinician, my goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of my patients. I find great satisfaction in being able to address their problems and help them return to the activities they love. Seeing their improvement and well-being is truly rewarding.

Beyond my individual patients, I also aspire to contribute to the betterment of orthopaedic care for the community and society at large. Looking back at the end of my career, I want to feel content knowing that I played a role in improving orthopaedic care for all orthopaedic patients, not just those within my own practice. To achieve this, I plan to contribute in various ways including teaching, quality improvement, advocacy, and taking on leadership roles within the field. Ultimately, I hope to leave a lasting impact on orthopaedic care and contribute to a better future for orthopaedic patients everywhere.

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

I love being able to tackle challenging cases, devise a well-thought-out plan, and successfully execute it to ensure positive outcomes for my patients. Witnessing a happy patient with a successful recovery is truly fulfilling and reinforces my passion for orthopaedics.

What excites me the most about my work is the incredible team I have the privilege to work with. From my mentors and colleagues to the dedicated nurses, residents, and students, our collaborative effort is what makes our work truly impactful. I consider myself fortunate to be surrounded by such a talented and supportive group of individuals. One aspect that fills me with pride is how our division has managed to provide comprehensive care to patients in the North despite facing significant resource limitations. Through innovation and a strong spirit of collaboration, we have been able to find solutions and overcome challenges, ensuring that our patients receive the best possible care right here in our community.

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

During orthopaedic training, you’ll have numerous opportunities to witness, learn, and perform a wide range of procedures. However, as you progress into practice, you may encounter cases or pathologies that are unfamiliar or that you’ve only encountered briefly during your training. In such situations, it’s essential not to hesitate or let pride get in the way of seeking help.

One of the most valuable aspects of your time as a trainee is building a strong network of colleagues, including co-residents, co-fellows, and mentors, whom you can turn to for assistance or to discuss challenging cases. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them for guidance when needed. Embrace the opportunity to learn from your peers and mentors, and in turn, be ready to offer your knowledge and support when others come to you for help.

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

When I’m not at work, you’ll find me with my family, preferably engaging in some active outdoor activity. I love spending time in the mountains, whether it’s skiing during the winter or hiking during the warmer months, I always look forward to my next adventure.

My 4-year-old son has reached the age where he’s starting to participate in recreational activities, and I couldn’t be more excited to share these experiences with him!

Currently, you can find me packing up my house in Prince George as we are moving! Our family has decided to relocate to Nanaimo to move closer to family. Although I will miss my friends and colleagues in Prince George, I am very excited to join the group in Nanaimo with the plan to establish a comprehensive orthopaedic practice there at the end of the summer. I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my career!

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