After 38 years as an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Roy Beebe is ready to enjoy retirement.
Beebe has been a fixture in the Farmington Valley since 1982, when he joined a private practice in Avon, partnering with the late Dr. Herbert Pasternak, who a decade earlier had performed the first total hip replacement surgery in Connecticut.
Beebe also had an academic appointment in the UConn School of Medicine since then. In 2012 his Avon office became part of UConn Health and he joined the faculty as a full-time attending physician, caring for patients while also training the next generation of orthopedic surgeons.
“It’s been the best move of my life,” Beebe says. “When you’re dealing with medical students and residents, you have to be at the top of your game. These residents are always questioning us. Our job is to teach them and make them exceptional doctors and surgeons.”
“I think I’ve gotten more out of them then they’ve gotten out of me. It’s been a phenomenal experience.”
Dr. Roy Beebe
For the last eight years, while continuing to see is patients in Avon, he’s been treating a wide variety of orthopedic conditions, which includes performing hip and knee replacements at the UConn John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington.
“It’s going to be a transition. I know I’m going to miss the patients, I’m going to miss the staff I work with every day,” Beebe says. “I’ll miss working with the residents most. I love seeing a chief resident teaching a first-year resident how to do a total hip or total knee, and some of the subtleties that are there. I think I’ve gotten more out of them then they’ve gotten out of me. It’s been a phenomenal experience.”
Ten years before joining the UConn Health faculty, Beebe received his medical degree from the UConn School of Medicine as part of the Class of 1972, the school’s first graduating class. After an internal medicine internship at Hartford Hospital, two years in Germany with the U.S. Army as a commanding officer and acting division surgeon, an emergency medicine residency at the University of Kentucky, and two years of private practice, he returned in 1979 to join UConn’s orthopedic surgery residency program. He followed that with a knee and hip replacement mini-fellowship at M.A.R. Freeman in London.
“I think by 1982 it had become apparent that hip and knee replacement operations really do work,” Beebe says. “What we do today with knee replacements is probably 20% different. The basic science had been there, there’s no question. We perfected it with better imaging, better techniques, better sizing. Hip replacement and knee replacement has been a progressive continuum.”
For many of Beebe’s patients, that continuum leads to Dr. Olga Solovyova, an orthopedic surgeon with elite training in total joint replacement who joined the UConn Health faculty last year.
“She was an incredible medical student at the UConn School of Medicine, and they did everything in their power to have her do her residency here,” Beebe says. “She decided to go on to NYU and did a residency in New York with Dr. Nachum Levin, who’s a very premiere orthopedic surgeon. She’s an extremely nice person. She’s exceptionally well trained. She’s very factual. She’s very calm.”
Solovyova fellowship trained in adult reconstruction and hip and knee arthroplasty at the University of Western Ontario. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from the UConn School of Allied Health.
“We are all very sad to see Dr. Beebe go, but I look forward to working in Avon with the wonderful staff out there and continuing to serve the community,” Solovyova says. “I know I have big shoes to fill and I hope I can provide as good of care as he has over the years.”
Another provider UConn Health’s Avon patients will get to know better is nurse practitioner Jill Arcari-Couture, who will provide care across a wide range of orthopedic problems including general assessments, nonoperative care, joint injections, and postoperative care in conjunction with Solovyova and other UConn Health surgeons. Other care specialties available in Avon include foot and ankle, hand, and spine.
“Dr. Beebe has been a pillar of orthopedic surgery in our area for years, literally treating generations of patients over four decades,” says Dr. Isaac Moss, chair of the UConn Health Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “While we are sad to say goodbye to an incredible colleague, I am very excited about the future of our arthroplasty program at UConn Health. With the addition of Dr. Solovyova to our team, we have a core group of superb surgeons who practice with the most up-to-date procedures and techniques, allowing for faster recovery and often alleviates the need for a hospital stay.”
Beebe and his wife, Arlene, are celebrating their 50th anniversary this month. For the last 30 of those years they lived in a house on Main Street in Farmington, where they raised four adopted children. They’re moving to Alexandria, Virginia, to be closer to their oldest daughter, Jenna, and their granddaughter, Saige, who turns 3 later this year.
“The timing is right,” Beebe says.