Christian Gerber, MD, FRCSEd(hon) received the 2007 OREF Clinical Research Award for his work on rotator cuff disease.


Published 5/1/2007
Carolyn Rogers

AAOS supports research on many fronts

Musculoskeletal research lies at the heart of the AAOS mission to “serve the profession, champion the interests of patients, and advance the highest quality musculoskeletal health.” The AAOS devotes both time and resources to support and encourage cutting-edge musculoskeletal research in the following ways:

  • Advocating for increased funding for musculoskeletal research from Congress and other research funding organizations
  • Sponsoring research symposia and scientific meetings, and producing subsequent publications
  • Supporting research grants and fellowships and partnering with other musculoskeletal organizations to advance shared goals
  • Keeping researchers informed of available grants
  • Participating in major initiatives aimed at furthering research and improving musculoskeletal health, such as the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade

Research Capitol Hill Days
One of the Academy’s key advocacy programs is Research Capitol Hill (RCH) Days. Each spring, the RCH program gives physicians, researchers, and patients the opportunity to meet with targeted senators and representatives to personally advocate for the future of musculoskeletal care. At these meetings, participants raise awareness of the chronic, debilitating, and costly musculoskeletal diseases and disorders affecting our nation, and request continued support for research.

“Our orthopaedic patients are a dedicated group who have truly moving stories,” says Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, chair of the AAOS Council on Research, Quality Assessment and Technology. “They are an inspiration to us all and it is a privilege to be among such expressive and caring individuals.” (For more on the 2007 RCH program, see cover story.)

Research awards and fellowships
To encourage the research efforts of young orthopaedic investigators, AAOS and the Orthopaedic Research and Educating Foundation (OREF) cosponsor the Clinical Research Training Fellowship and the Clinician Scientist Traveling Fellowship. AAOS jointly sponsors the Clinician Scientist Development Program with OREF and the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS). The AAOS also administers the OREF Clinician Scientist Awards, the OREF Clinical Research Award, and the Kappa Delta research awards.

Advancing research on extremity war injuries
AAOS support for research on extremity war injuries dates to 2004, when the AAOS secured language in the fiscal year 2005 Defense Appropriations bill to make “orthopaedic extremity trauma research” one of the 21 priorities in the Peer Review Medical Research Program.

“This language was the first step in laying the foundation to work with key members of the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to ensure that the need for expanded orthopaedic trauma research would be recognized and addressed in future years,” says Kathryn M. Pontzer, JD, deputy director of the AAOS office of government affairs.

During the past three years, the AAOS has continued to successfully lobby Congress and secure funding for orthopaedic research.

Research symposia and scientific meetings
The AAOS Research Symposia (formerly the AAOS/NIH workshops) represent a long history of collaboration between the Academy, governmental agencies, industry, specialty societies, OREF, ORS, leading researchers, and clinicians. The symposia are designed to define the knowledge base in a chosen topic area based on scientific evidence; identify gaps in the knowledge base; and outline future research opportunities.

Recent and upcoming symposia include:

  • Extremity War Injuries II Symposium (January 2007)
  • Fracture Repair: Challenges and Opportunities (April 2007)
  • Osteolysis and Implant Wear (November 2007)
  • Musculoskeletal Imaging and Computer Assisted Surgery (2008)
  • Orthopaedic Randomized Clinical Trials (2009)
  • Musculoskeletal Health Care Disparities (2010)

Unified Research Agenda
The “Unified Research Agenda” (URA), established in 2003, seeks to advance the quality and quantity of musculoskeletal research by increasing the size of the musculoskeletal research funding “pie.”

The URA is a “living document,” which is intended to change over time. It gives organizations such as AAOS, the Board of Councilors, ORS, OREF, and individual researchers the ability to speak with one voice about research priorities when discussing the burden of musculoskeletal conditions with policymakers, legislators, patient advocacy groups, foundations, and other potential donors.

The U.S. Bone and Joint Decade
The United Nations declared the years 2000-2010 the “Bone and Joint Decade” to draw attention to the increasing impact orthopedic conditions will have on world health as life expectancy increases, and to the potential for eliminating these problems through current and future research advances.

The AAOS took a leadership role in establishing the “U.S. Bone and Joint Decade” (2002-2011). All 50 states also have issued proclamations to support the decade’s focus on musculoskeletal conditions.

AAOS Research Funding Bulletin Board
To keep researchers informed of available grants, the AAOS Research Development Committee posts governmental and private funding opportunities on the AAOS Web site as they become available. Additional information about applying for grants is also included. Visit the online bulletin board at: