Our History

San Diego Shoulder Institute (SDSI) began as an informal physician educational gathering in 1983.  Having a passion to educate and improve patient care, James C. Esch, M.D. brought together a small group of  San Diego, California- based orthopaedic surgeons.  The initial group assembled as peers interested in perfecting arthroscopy skills in a case study format.  The value of the sessions grew quickly in popularity and expressed interest.  Within a few years, Dr. Esch began hosting the meeting as an annual formal CME event.  The course continued to grow in reputation. A brief half -day session transitioned over the years to a four day course.   Course content and focus expanded to include comprehensive issues of shoulder care.  Research and practice feedback validated inclusion of arthroplasty, fracture management, state of the art surgical techniques, and rehabilitation. Educational format expanded to include lecture, model laboratories, cadaver laboratories, case study presentations, and workshops.   Attendees began to come from International settings, bringing course attendance from 10 to an annual average of 400.  In 2005, Dr. Esch formulated a Board of Directors and transitioned San Diego Shoulder Institute to a 501 (c)3 medical education organization.  In that same year, SDSI applied for and received authorization to be an accredited provider from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

Throughout the years, SDSI’s reputation as a stellar educational provider has continued to expand. Evaluative feedback consistently confirms that SDSI is “the best shoulder course in the world”. See testimonials. Because of the SDSI “brand” of excellence, Dr. Esch has been contacted to serve on task forces and performance improvement groups on a global level. The focus of these groups is to better understand and improve physician teaching and training methodologies and approach to patient care with the goal of improving surgical competence, performance, and patient outcomes. In 2011, Dr. Esch served as keynote speaker for a novel world-wide committee formed to address best methods to teach surgeons.