Dr. Steichen’s professional career began at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He graduated with an MD degree in June 1967. He then went on to complete an internship at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke in Chicago, Illinois; and ultimately, completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. Concurrent with his final 6 months of orthopedic residency, Dr. Steichen completed a fellowship in hand surgery with Dr. Jim Strickland at The Indiana University School of Medicine and St. Vincent Hospital. Dr. Steichen was certainly a pioneer as subspecialty orthopedic fellowships were not routinely completed in the early 1970s. Following his residency and fellowship, Dr. Steichen served 2 years in the United States Army at Reynolds Army Hospital in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he was the chief on the orthopedic service with a rank of Major.
Following military service, Dr. Steichen’s interest in microvascular surgery was evident as he sought additional training at a time when microvascular upper extremity reconstruction was in its infancy. Dr. Steichen was a research fellow in microsurgery with Mr. Bernie O’Brien at the St. Vincent Hospital Microsurgery Research Center in Melbourne, Australia. He spent time with Dr. Tsuge and Dr. Ikuta at Hiroshima University School of Medicine Department of Orthopedic Surgery in Hiroshima, Japan, and with Dr. Harry Buncke at The Ralph Davies Medical Center Franklin Hospital in San Francisco, California.
Dr. Steichen then returned back to Indiana where he started his clinical practice solely devoted to hand and upper extremity reconstruction with an emphasis on microvascular reconstruction. He and Dr. Jim Strickland cofounded the Indiana Hand Center (now known as Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center).
Dr. Steichen was the first vice president of The Indiana Hand Center from 1975 to 2000, member of the board of directors from 1975 to 2006, and the managing partner from 1988 to 1992. Dr. Steichen held hospital appointments at St. Vincent Hospital, Indiana University School of Medicine Hospitals including University Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children, Robert W. Long Hospital, Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center and Wishard Memorial Hospital. He also had appointments at Methodist Hospital of Indiana, Community Hospital of Indianapolis, Winona Memorial Hospital, Decatur County Memorial Hospital and at The Surgery Center of Hand Surgery Associates of Indiana. He held academic appointments at the Indiana University School of Medicine and was a clinical assistant professor from June of 1975 to 1982, a clinical associate professor from 1982 to 1989, and achieved the rank of clinical professor of orthopedic surgery in July 1989. He also held academic appointments at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky eventually achieving the rank of associate professor of plastic surgery on the voluntary faculty.