UTHSCSA Faculty Profiles v1.0

Fajardo, Roberto Jose PhD

School of Medicine

My research focuses on two important topics that are clinically relevant to our community and the university?s research mission: diabetic skeletal fragility and orthopaedic health disparities in total knee arthroplasty. My projects are extramurally funded by the NIH and foundation grants.

My diabetic skeletal fragility research focuses on the factors underlying increased fracture risk in diabetes, an outcome that disproportionately impacts Latinos in the United States. Specifically, my lab has been investigating whether microvascular complications in human diabetic bone are associated with altered bone metabolism and bone material properties. I have authored three publications on diabetic skeletal fragility and have another manuscript in preparation. I have received several invitations for guest seminars on campus and at other universities, served as an ad hoc reviewer for journals and external grants, written expert reviews, and served as one of the session moderators for the first NIH/ASBMR Symposium on The Effects of Diabetes and Disordered Energy Metabolism on Skeletal Health. I was also invited to represent the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research at the 2015 annual meeting of the Network of Minority Health Research Investigators, a network sponsored by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

I use a comparative framework to investigate relative racial and ethnicity-based performance outcomes in total knee arthroplasty. This funded work is critical to understanding the success rates of TKA procedures in Latinos, a group that has historically been ignored in orthopaedic clinical trials. Our data show that the Latino revision rate is approximately two times greater than in non-Latinos in our study population and two and a half times higher than the national average for TKA revisions. Initial analyses suggest that the high revision rate in Latinos occurs more in men, is associated with post-operative infection, and has moderate associations with implant type (metal or all-polyethylene) and type 2 diabetes. Our results also strongly suggest that fibrotic stiffening of the joint, a complication of TKA, occurs more frequently in patients with publicly-funded health insurance (e.g., Medicare, Carelink) than those with private insurance plans. This work was awarded a top poster prize at an Orthopaedic Research Society symposium held in Houston, Texas during August 2016. This is a critical addition to healthcare research given the demographics of San Antonio, projected trends in population growth in the United States, the nature of current discussions on public health care policy, and the fact that revisions impose greater financial burden on our healthcare system than primary joint replacements.

I have a long-term commitment to charitable international medicine. I am the co-director of a large medical mission to Neiva, Colombia that is sponsored by Healing the Children (HTC) and funded by the Smile Train. I have served as the logistical director for this program for eight years, overseeing a program that provided approximately 1,360 free surgeries (cleft palate/lip, plastics, and orthopaedics) during my time as co-director. My efforts directly led to the expansion of our orthopaedic program, a move that now includes volunteers from Harvard Medical School/Boston Children?s and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Moreover, over the last three years I have raised over $30,000 for this humanitarian work. Finally, our good work has been noticed by news outlets on several occasions in the United States and abroad. I was named a person of the day by the leading newspaper (El Tiempo) in Colombia on June 8, 2011. I was interviewed on San Antonio TV by WOAI Channel 4 (04/04/2014) and Univision (04/03/2014). Recently, I was interviewed for a national TV program in Colombia titled Los Informantes, that aired in October 2016 on the largest TV network in Colombia. That report was broadcast in prime time to millions of households in Colombia and around the world. Over the last three years I have taken one resident, four medical students and one undergraduate student to Colombia.

1/2011 - Present Director, RAYO, Carlisle Center for Bone and Mineral Imaging UTHSCSA, Orthopaedics, San Antonio, TX
6/2009 - Present Assistant Professor UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, Orthopaedics, San Antonio, TX