Our community is full of heroes big and small – people who make a difference through the work they do and the choices they make each day. Each year, for the last nine years, the Thurston County Chamber and Thurston-Mason Medical Society honor those local heroes making a significant impact in the medical community, dedicated to caring for our health and that of our families.
This year, long-time Olympia Orthopaedic Associates surgeon Dr. Patrick Halpin was honored as a Healthcare Champion in the area of Professional Leadership. Awarded on June 16, Dr. Halpin, along with three others, were recognized for their “heroic acts, steadfast dedication, extraordinary service and professionalism that are seen every day in our community’s medical offices, clinics, hospitals, emergency services and related organization,” says the Thurston County Chamber who hosted a dinner on their behalf.
Dr. Halpin joined Oly Ortho in 1990 after 10 years practicing in Moses Lake. He raised his family of five children with his wife Wendy on Olympia’s west side and contributed greatly to the growth of Olympia Orthopaedics Associates over the last 25 years. He currently specializes in joint replacements of the hip and knee and logs over 400 joint replacements per year.
His 10-year experience with anterior approach hip replacement, with over 1,000 surgeries completed to date, is invaluable to patients and new surgeons alike. And his use of minimally invasive techniques and computer navigation during knee replacements aid speed of healing and overall success in his patients.
In addition to his leadership as a senior partner and mentor at Oly Ortho’s Westside Clinic, Dr. Halpin extends his professional leadership throughout the community and Washington State. He was elected first vice-president of the Washington State Orthopaedic Association, serves on the Inter-Specialty Council of the Washington State Medical Association, and is a member of the Board of Councilors for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Locally, he is recognized throughout the medical community for his collaboration and knowledge, working together with other physicians to best serve area patients. One such physician is Dr. Gary Goin, a family practice physician who has been seeing patients in Olympia for over 30 years. He shares how he met Dr. Halpin and his wife Wendy at a “Welcome to Olympia” dinner when the Halpin family first relocated to Thurston County. “Since then,” says Dr. Goin, “we’ve shared countless patients, served together on boards of directors, and shared many cups of coffee, too.”
Dr. Goin notes that Dr. Halpin has been at the forefront of new technologies and has been one of the first area doctors to bring those technologies to the Olympia community. “I think he is a person who is always looking for a better way to do things,” explains Dr. Goin about Dr. Halpin’s drive to advance his techniques and those of the doctors he works with. “He’s able to bring people together in a cooperative way and not competitive. It’s a real benefit,” he explains.
One of Dr. Halpin’s partners at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, Dr. Stephen Snow, shares how Dr. Halpin gave him the opportunity to come to Olympia after his residency in New York City and join Oly Ortho’s team with his foot and ankle expertise. “Dr. Halpin has always been a great source of leadership and it’s obvious why he’s being honored with this award,” shares Dr. Snow. “He really was the catalyst that brought the orthopaedic community together as one while in this city.”
Not only does Dr. Snow appreciate Dr. Halpin’s leadership within the group, but enjoys time with him outside the office. The two surgeons played on a Capital Medical Center basketball team when they were first in town together. “If he got even one finger on the ball, you were no longer holding the ball,” laughs Dr. Snow recalling their days on the court.
The Thurston County Healthcare Champion award for Professional Leadership is an honor Dr. Halpin takes seriously. He thanks those who were instrumental in bringing him back to western Washington after his time in Moses Lake and to his wife, Wendy, for her support over their 47 years together.
Dr. Halpin originally intended to be a family practice doctor and he has reflected with Dr. Goin on what it’s like to practice “small-town medicine.” Dr. Goin recalls, “…he once said, ‘well, after you’ve been in practice long enough, everyone is just your friend.’ And, he’s right. After you get to know Dr. Halpin and work with him, you do feel like he is a good friend.”