Gene Shafer, MA, ATC, leads “booming seniors” guests in a balance exercise.


Published 1/1/2007
Nicholas A. DiNubile, MD

Media efforts spotlight ‘Booming Seniors,’ war injuries, musculoskeletal conditions

AAOS, National Athletic Trainers’ Association partner for New York event

The Internet is changing the way people communicate, and AAOS is taking advantage of new outreach techniques to take the story of orthopaedic surgery and surgeons to the media, while not abandoning standard approaches. By matching our approach to media needs, we garnered considerable coverage.

Booming Seniors AAOS/NATA press event

On Nov. 14, 2006, the AAOS and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) cosponsored a Booming Seniors press event at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City. Visit to see highlights and photos. Post-event coverage included:

  • Two syndicated columns by New York Times reporter Jane Brody on December 19 and 26. The first column, “Avoid Boomeritis: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise,” featured Vonda Wright, MD, Laura L. Tosi, MD, and me.
  • A Fox TV interview with Dr. Wright. Segments ran nationally on 16 Fox, NBC and independent stations in December.
  • A terrific article (and photos) on the importance of strength, flexibility and balance as we age in the Bergen, N.J. Record. The reporter’s mother attended the event with her.
  • Coverage and links in E-newsletters such as AMA Health.
  • An upcoming segment on HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumble. Watch for a Boomeritis story, including an interview with me, in February or March.
  • An upcoming “Live Longer Better” column in Prevention, with input from Dr. Wright and one of her patients who just experienced a fall.
  • A planned segment on “wear, tear and repair” with Seniors Lifestyles syndicated radio host Ron Kaufmann and Dr. Wright.

Journal Coverage

Extremity War Injuries (EWI) Symposium—The Journal of the AAOS (JAAOS) special edition based on the EWI Symposium held in Washington, D.C. in January 2006 continues to attract attention. A radio media tour touting the findings of the symposium featured organizers Andrew N. Pollak, MD, and Jason H. Calhoun, MD. The two have held 20 radio interviews, reaching more than 3.3 million listeners. The doctors discuss the efforts of orthopaedic surgeons to overcome the horrific injuries inflicted on American soldiers. The 5- to 30-minute interviews have run on a variety of networks—from Clear Channel to country western, news, golden oldies and talk radio stations.

Nearly 65,000 individuals and media representatives read the EWI online press release, which appeared in more than 300 outlets. As an example, a Google search for “orthopaedic surgery military amputee” returned two JAAOS articles and the press release among the top five listings (search conducted Jan. 15, 2007). The AAOS is working diligently to increase the Web presence of all our media outreach.

Back Pain in Athletes—A release on a study in the December JAAOS, “Is sports activity a pre-existing condition for back pain?” by Jonathan N. Grauer, MD, resulted in an article in Life Science Weekly and several radio interviews.

Plantar Fasciitis: Healing the Heel—A study by Benedict F. DiGiovanni, MD, in August’s Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery put media coverage on its toes. The study, a two-year follow-up on 82 patients with plantar fasciitis, includes an exercise stretch that encourages healing. The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune were among the papers that ran illustrated features in November. The enthusiastic media response prompted the AAOS to develop a Video News Highlight package available to broadcast outlets around the country. You may soon be able to watch Dr. DiGiovanni’s stretch on your local news; more than 1.2 million viewers already have had the opportunity.

Eminently quotable

AAOS media spokespersons continue to do an outstanding job of delivering the message of the value of orthopaedic care and the contributions orthopaedic surgeons make to reducing the burden of musculoskeletal disease in the United States.

Our thanks go out to the members mentioned above, as well as to Richard F. Kyle, MD, interviewed in AARP Magazine (September/October) on pain-free exercise; Frank B. Kelly, MD, the expert in USA Today on inactive seniors as “sitting ducks” for future injuries; James H. Beaty, MD, who spoke to the Chico Enterprise Record on emergency on-call issues; Melvyn A. Harrington, MD, the medical source for an article on gender-specific joints in the St. Augustine Record; Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, the Academy’s spokesman on the SPORT trial on surgical vs. non-operative treatment for lumbar disc herniation that appeared in the Journal of the AMA; Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, whose previous Today appearance on surgical follow-up in a story on medical tourism continues to stimulate media inquiries; Marc E. Rankin, MD, who discussed back pain on WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C.; Mark. W. Pagnano, MD, and Robert E. Booth Jr., MD, who were featured in the November M.D. News Orthopaedic Update; Noah S. Finkel, MD, interviewed in the Sacramento Bee after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger broke his femur. I remain busy doing interviews and being featured in national publications, such as Parade; Your Body’s FrameWork ran nationwide on PBS stations during December and will be rebroadcast during pledge drives in 2007.

Radio presentations

William L. Healy, MD, recorded a radio presentation on joint replacements that aired in early Jan. 8, 2007, on XM Satellite Radio, Wal-Mart Radio, the Voice of America, American Forces Radio, at least nine NPR stations, CNN, ESPN News, Sporting News, Fox News and ABC News & Talk.

Surgeons of 16 orthopaedic specialty societies recorded radio presentations that ran the week of January 8 on Radio America Network. Each spot will also run on more than 500 stations and XM Sirius Satellite Radio.

Preventing injuries

Prevent Injuries America! (PIA) press releases continue to generate nationwide coverage for months after their distribution. The AAOS recently multiplied their effects by releasing two—ladder safety and winter sports—through a new distribution system that makes final articles and photos available for downloading at no cost to publications. The release on ladder safety tips appeared in 72 publications, representing a circulation of 1.75 million readers. The winter sports release has appeared in 32 publications and still is being downloaded by editors.

Other PIA releases have appeared in more than 100 outlets. Among the AAOS fellows quoted in the releases are Drs. Kyle, Beaty and Kelly as well as Lori A. Karol, MD and Jeffrey M. Smith, MD. included the AAOS yoga PIA information in its recent “Perils of Posing” article, including a question-and-answer with Johnny C. Benjamin Jr., MD.

Nicholas DiNubile, MD, is chair of the Public Relations Oversight Group.