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With the beginning of a new year, many of us make (and perhaps have already broken) a list of resolutions. Even the cynics among us cast a hopeful eye toward the future. The AAOS has an exciting year ahead, and I want to share some of those plans.I also want to reflect on the accomplishments of 2006 and to thank our members for their support throughout the year.

AAOS Now

Published 1/1/2007
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Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE

Resolved: An even better 2007 for the AAOS

Karen L. Hackett,
FACHE, CAE

A shift in venue

The 2006 AAOS Annual Meeting met in Chicago, March 22-26. While normally not a newsworthy event (that’s why it’s called an Annual Meeting), 2006 was no ordinary year.

As you’ll recall, the 2006 Annual Meeting was originally scheduled for March 8-12, in New Orleans. But the crippling blow that Hurricane Katrina dealt to the Crescent City on August 29, 2005, also shattered the carefully laid plans the AAOS had made for that meeting. The entire nation watched helplessly, and with heavy hearts, the dire reports of the devastation and suffering wrought upon the Gulf Coast. The damage was so extensive that on September 6, 2005, the city of New Orleans cancelled all citywide conventions through March 31, 2006.

It took an extraordinary effort by the Presidential Line, the Executive Team, and the Convention and Meeting Services department staff to identify and select a new location. But less than a week later, on September 14, 2005, a new invitation—this time to the Windy City—went out to AAOS members. I am pleased to report that the 2006 meeting enjoyed tremendous success, thanks to all the AAOS members who supported the Academy and came to Chicago to participate in this valuable education experience.

A focus on unity

Immediately following the Annual Meeting, work began on two major initiatives. First, we focused our efforts on fostering unity within the entire orthopaedic family. Energized by President Richard F. Kyle, MD, and remembering his exhortation that “together we are one,” the AAOS worked closely with orthopaedic specialty societies to ensure that we are all striving toward the same goal and to eliminate waste and duplication in programs, products, or services.

A reorganized Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies (COMSS) became a reenergized Board of Specialty Societies (BOS). By the end of 2006, AAOS leaders had held 15 one-on-one meetings with specialty society leaders, listening to their issues and looking for ways to work together. Boosting advocacy efforts and supporting the orthopaedic presence on Capitol Hill, 11 specialty societies made contributions and are being represented by the AAOS Washington Office staff. At the 2007 Annual Meeting, you will find many co-branded instructional course lectures and symposia. A greater sense of unity is palpable, and the unity efforts will be extended to include both state and regional societies in the year ahead.

More than words

A second major initiative centered on the theme of communication. You are holding in your hands one of the most dramatic outcomes of those efforts. The AAOS Bulletin has been redesigned and re-named AAOS Now, and it will soon be appearing in your mailbox on a monthly basis. The Academy’s Web site, www.aaos.org, was completely renovated and redesigned to help you quickly and easily find the information that’s most important to you and your practice.

To communicate more effectively with those outside the AAOS, we also retooled Your Orthopaedic Connection, the Web site targeted toward patients and the public. A new editor and additional staff will ensure that this site (www.orthoinfo.org) remains a comprehensive, reliable source of easy-to-understand information on musculoskeletal health.

Finally, a high-level team of volunteers and staff took a critical look at the AAOS “brand.” They delved deeply into what the Academy represents to its members and to the public, and considered what values and ideals the AAOS brand should evoke. At the 2007 Annual Meeting, we proudly unveiled the new AAOS logo, which reflects the forward movement of the Academy with the implied motion of the stylized “O”, and is an open and welcoming design that supports the Academy’s outreach to members and other orthopaedic organizations.

Our Professional Compliance Program has exceeded our expectations, and we are grateful for the dedicated volunteers who serve on the Committee on Professionalism and the Judiciary Committee. The first two professional compliance cases to progress to the level of Board review were heard at this past December’s meeting.

Finally, 2006 saw the completion of the governance restructuring project that began in 2005. The Committee on Committees became known as the Committee Appointment Program Committee, and spent many hours assisting with the implementation of the new structure. To support the new governance structure, some volunteers transitioned into new or different roles. In addition, the charges for councils, committees, and project teams were updated and revised. And, ultimately, the AAOS staff assumed a new structure to better align with the new governance structure.

Ambitious plans

For 2007, we do not intend to rest on our laurels. Several new and important initiatives are already under way to add value to your AAOS membership:

  • A Board-level project team will examine the issue of technology assessment, a topic of ever-increasing importance.
  • A second Member Needs Assessment survey, shorter and more focused, will be sent to members to ensure that we have the data we need to continue providing you with the programs, products, and services you want.
  • The new Guidelines Development Oversight Committee will oversee the development of guidelines, performance measures, and utilization guidelines, which have taken on increased importance with the implementation of more pay-for-performance initiatives.

AAOS continues to be a vibrant, vital organization, and we are indeed fortunate to have dedicated volunteers, loyal members, and a hard-working staff. To all, I extend my heartfelt appreciation and admiration. Thank you for giving me the privilege of serving you as Chief Executive Officer. I am proud to be a part of your Academy.