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Published 3/1/2007
Alan S. Hilibrand, MD

Become an active AAOS member—Right now!

In 2006, almost 2,200 AAOS fellows volunteered for the Academy through their work on committees, educational endeavors, and advocacy.

They represented almost 15 percent of the 16,828 active fellows, and their participation illustrates how many opportunities exist within our Academy for individual contributions. The AAOS is a leader among medical specialty societies, primarily due to the direct participation of so many fellows.

As residents, many of us took advantage of the Academy’s excellent educational resources, and most of us attended at least one Annual Meeting. I remember wandering through the convention center and being amazed at the breadth and scope of the Academy’s activities. After residency, though, the Academy and its activities seemed more distant, as the immediacy of building a practice and obtaining board certification became a primary focus.

Candidate membership in the Academy is available for the first four years in practice, while awaiting board certification. Then, after receiving board certification, most orthopaedic surgeons become fellows of the AAOS. Many take advantage of the Academy’s continuing medical education courses and timely materials on practice management.

This is also an ideal time for us to become involved in our Academy by contributing educational material to the Academy’s publications and Orthopaedic Knowledge Online, becoming active in local and state orthopaedic society advocacy efforts, or applying for one of the 775 AAOS Committee positions. Unfortunately, by this time, many orthopaedic surgeons are no longer willing or able to make such commitments, and an opportunity to become involved in AAOS activities and in guiding the direction of our profession is often lost.

It’s not too late

One of the primary roles of the AAOS Communications Cabinet is to communicate the variety of projects being undertaken by our Academy and our Association on our behalf and to promote increased involvement by fellows in AAOS.

It has never been easier to find out about opportunities to volunteer within AAOS. If you check the redesigned AAOS Web site (www.aaos.org), you will find a direct link under “Member Services” to the Committee Appointment Program, where vacancies are routinely listed. The Academy’s e-mail newsletter, Headline News, includes regular announcements and reminders about committee openings and application deadlines. In addition, our Academy has special programs to foster leadership among younger orthopaedic surgeons, including the Leadership Fellows Program, open to AAOS fellows younger than age 45, and the Washington Health Policy Fellowship Program, open to orthopaedic surgeons in training.

With so many critical issues evolving in medical practice, medical technology, and patient care, our Academy needs our strength and service to remain a leader in physician advocacy, research, and education. Most of the 775 orthopaedic surgeons currently participating on AAOS committees have busy clinical practices. No matter your background or practice arrangement, there is still room for you! Join us today by becoming a volunteer for your Academy. Visit the “News and Journals” section of the AAOS Web site and subscribe to Headline News so you can keep up with committee openings and volunteer opportunities.

Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, is vice chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet.

Readers react to team Concept

To make AAOS Now more responsive and interactive, the “On the Horizon” column will review and include excerpts from your letters about the prior month’s article.

We received several comments in response to last month’s issue, which discussed building a multidisciplinary team as part of the musculoskeletal institute. One comment came from a chiropractor who highlighted the potential for relationships between chiropractors and orthopaedists, and several comments came from both physicians and physician assistants (PAs) who advocated the use of PAs as part of the musculoskeletal team.

In particular, Tricia Marriott, PA-C, who is the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ medical liaison to AAOS, noted that “…more than 3,000 PAs work in orthopaedics, where they perform histories and physicals, order and interpret diagnostic studies, draft treatment plans, assist at surgery, prescribe medications, perform bedside procedures such as joint aspiration and injections, and counsel patients…”

Thanks to Ms. Marriott and all the others who shared their thoughts.

Each month, On the Horizon will explore a specific topic of emerging interest to orthopaedic surgeons and AAOS. Although initially based on topics from the AAOS Communications Cabinet with input from the Councils on Advocacy, Education, and Research, Quality Assessment and Technology, this column will be driven by reader interest. Readers are encouraged to submit comments and topic ideas to aaoscomm@aaos.org