Board of Directors’ Thoughtful, Strategic Approach Bolsters Member Value Proposition

Academy simultaneously announces new and enhanced member benefits as well as an annual membership dues increase

As many of you already know, I’m deeply passionate about the Academy and am committed to the success of the organization, as well as all its members. And when it comes to serving on the AAOS Board of Directors, I naturally want to make decisions so that the Academy can be “everything for everyone.” It sounds good and noble, right? Realistically, though, it is impossible, and many organizations and businesses alike fail for that very reason.

It reminds me of the saying, “Nonprofit is a tax status, not a business strategy.” It’s overused, I know, but it rings true. It’s easy to say “yes” to every new idea, regardless of its merit, because it feels like the right thing to do. In the past, the board often said “yes” without stringent vetting. In doing so, it stretched the Academy’s resources—financially and in terms of volunteers and staff involvement. It was also counterproductive, limiting the organization’s ability to deliver relevant new member benefits at the consistent, high level that members deserve. The intent was admirable, but the board was actually limiting the value it provided members.

New strategic plan provides path to success

In the past 12 months, the board embraced a much more rigorous approach toward strategic planning, taking a fresh look at how it evaluates programming, how it functions (i.e., governance), and what benefits it provides members. The board’s goal is to maximize the potential of the Academy’s overall value and portfolio of member benefits.

Above all, we reengineered our multiyear strategic plan to better focus on areas that the Academy can and should pursue to help its members via more relevant and accessible means (e.g., platforms, channels, technology, etc.). Moving forward, the Academy seeks to drive a member-value approach that targets where we can effectively deliver education and other benefits and resources as well as when to identify partners (e.g., specialty societies and third parties).

David A. Halsey, MD

These efforts will ultimately enable the Academy to become a hub where members from all career stages and specialties can engage for their lifelong learning needs. If you recall, past-president William J. Maloney, MD, covered this topic in his president’s message published in the February issue of AAOS Now.

New and enhanced member benefits

With all the talk of strategic planning, vetting member benefits, maximizing value, and more, I want to be clear and very forthright: We want to improve and expand what we offer our members.

I do not have the physical space within AAOS Now to cover every member benefit the Academy currently offers—although the editors plan to regularly highlight member benefits in future issues—but I would like to emphasize a few of the Academy’s new and/or recently expanded benefits, including:

  • New: Microlearning experiences, including more than 200 surgical technique modules across all orthopaedic specialties at learn.aaos.org
  • New: AAOS’ national family of clinical data registries for a broad range of orthopaedic conditions and procedures, including the integration of the American Joint Replacement Registry
  • New/expanded: Print and online access to Journal of the AAOS—now publishing 24 issues annually—including the new Research and Global Access editions
  • Expanded: Access to the newly redesigned OrthoInfo website (www.orthoinfo.aaos.org), as well as other patient education resources
  • Expanded: AAOS Career Center services, including an online job search, Fellowship listings, CV reviews, and other resources

Looking ahead, the Academy also plans to announce expanded member benefits related to the Orthopaedic Video Theater, AAOS Now, and many more. I’m looking forward to sharing this information with you in the near future!

Membership dues adjustments

Circling back again to Dr. Maloney’s president’s message, he reported that the Academy created the Task Force on Education last summer to help the board with its new strategic approach. Although its specific charges included assessing the Academy’s role in providing orthopaedic education to its members and others, as well as identifying where, how, and for whom the Academy can optimally provide unique, competitive, and best-in-class education, the task force also recommended a modest annual membership dues increase.

First and foremost, the board wants to be able to consistently offer new and enhanced member benefits as the needs of members evolve while, at the same time, responsibly managing its financial resources and obligations, including operating expenses that naturally increase year over year. An annual increase also provides the board with a more reliable revenue picture and built-in flexibility so that it can react quickly when opportunities present themselves.

At the same time, an annual increase provides members with a more reliable expectation of the dues structure and avoids jarring jumps in dues every several years. Unexpectedly, the task force’s analysis showed that the dues increases over the past 20 years equated to an almost 3 percent annual increase (Fig. 1). However, the board is implementing an annual 2 percent increase. In 2019, that increase will translate to less than $20, depending on the membership category (Table 1).

Fig. 1 The infrequent membership dues increases over the last 20 years translate to an annual increase of 3 percent. Starting in 2019, the Academy will transition to an annual 2 percent increase.

The Academy’s commitment

The implementation of a dues increase rarely generates cheers and excitement, which is understandable. Fortunately, the value of membership far outweighs the cost of dues.

The Academy will continue to drive advancements in professional performance that lead to better orthopaedic patient care worldwide, helping members thrive at every stage of their careers.

Further, it will continue to achieve these goals through a focus on lifelong learning, quality, advocacy, research, and delivering exceptional member value.

Although the Academy cannot be everything to everyone, we can leverage the combined impact of our highest-value programs (clinical, quality, educational, and advocacy) to make orthopaedic practice more rewarding for our members.

The Academy’s future is bright, and I’m excited to take this journey with all of you.

David A. Halsey, MD, is president of the Academy.

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