Provider Spotlight: Meet Dr. Craig Birch

Dr. Birch, orthopedic doctor, and a toddler smile at each other.

Dr. Craig Birch first moved to Boston for a fellowship with the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2019, he was appointed attending physician. He grew up in Dallas, Texas.

What drew you to pediatric medicine?

Getting to work with kids is a big privilege and an honor. When you have parents putting their trust and faith in you to help their kids, that’s a unique opportunity, and kind of a big responsibility, but one that I found appealing. We’re helping kids get back to being kids.

What is your primary focus as an orthopedic physician?

I do a lot of work with kids with spine conditions and orthopedic trauma. The spine is an area where we still have a lot of learning to do, which makes it a challenging area, but I like the complex problems and I like working with families to come up with a plan of care that they understand and will work for them.

Is there a case that stands out from your fellowship year?

As a fellow, you only see patients a couple of times over the course of a year, so you don’t get a chance to know people as well. However, there was one family I got to see more frequently during my fellowship year. The patient was a 17-year-old with chronic, complex spine issues. The family probably didn’t want to see me as often as they did. But for me, it was great to get to know them and discover things we shared. For instance, the patient’s mom and I are both huge Charles Dickens fans. I look forward to the chance to connect with more families like that in my new position.

Dr. Birch, orthopedic surgeon, consults with family of patient who had spinal fusion surgery.

Why did you choose to work at Boston Children’s?

That should be a really easy question to answer, but it’s actually hard to communicate the mission and atmosphere of the hospital with words. It’s the environment that the hospital creates. From the moment you walk in the door, you’re welcomed by the big interactive screen that’s geared to kids. And then just the fantastic support of all the different medical professionals who work here. They all want to be here at this hospital, working with kids. You have the best of the best across the board — it’s hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Ignoring the whole athlete thing? I always had an interest in medicine. It suits me — I like the fact that you’re interacting with people all the time. And it’s unique to have a skill that you’ve worked hard to develop and are constantly working to improve. It gives you an unusual opportunity to help people in a way that can be extremely helpful and life changing.

If you hadn’t been a physician, what kind of professional athlete would you have been?

Ideally, I would have loved to play professional soccer. And if that hadn’t worked out, I love working on bikes and building bicycles, so maybe working in a bike shop.

If you could be any animal, what would it be?

A red panda, I’ve always been fascinated by them. They look completely different from other pandas, but they’re smaller and more nimble. And I like the fact that they’re not as well known.

When you’ve got a day off, what are you likely doing?

Finding a new place, a new bike route or outdoor place to go, ideally somewhere outside of the city. A place that’s a little bit quiet, maybe with some rolling hills and a nice peak.

Dr. Birch, orthopedic physician, riding his bike on a day off.

Learn more about the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center.

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