Published 2/1/2008
Timothy Lamar Beck, MD

What is the Board of Councilors?

Many AAOS Now readers may be familiar with the Board of Councilors (BOC), but more often than not, I hear, “What is the Board of Councilors and what do they do?”

Each state—as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, and the military—has a designated number of representatives who serve on the BOC, similar to the House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress. (On the BOC, however, there is no partisan politics and we hope to be more effective than Congress.) The individual states select their representatives to the BOC; councilors are expected to serve a 6-year commitment.

The three required meetings each year are the AAOS Annual Meeting, the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in Washington D.C., and a fall meeting. These meetings typically require each councilor to be away from his or her practice 2 to 3 weeks per year; most councilors are in private practice.

One of the BOC’s main functions is to bring members’ concerns to the AAOS leadership. Recent issues include pay for performance, the AAOS Professional Compliance program, support of individual state orthopaedic societies, Maintenance of Certification, and fixing the flawed Medicare payment formula, just to name a few.

The BOC works directly with the AAOS Board of Directors, councils, cabinet, and committees to identify critical issues of concern to the AAOS fellowship. It plays a crucial role in developing and promoting AAOS policies and programs. It serves as a conduit for communication from individual orthopaedists to the AAOS leadership, and from there to the larger community of other medical specialties, state and national legislators, other government officials, and the public.

How the BOC works
The BOC’s work begins by identifying issues, with input from councilors and individual fellows. The councilors discuss the issues and consider options or solutions. They develop and recommend amendments to the AAOS Bylaws. The BOC cooperates with the AAOS leadership during the resolution process to develop policies, position statements, and specific actions, which are communicated to the fellowship.

BOC members are also expected to become involved in political advocacy, both for musculoskeletal patients and the profession of orthopaedic surgery. At the NOLC, which was the brainchild of the BOC, members gather in Washington, D.C., for 2 to 3 days of meetings to discuss current important topics and meet with their respective senators and congressional representatives. The NOLC enables many councilors to get involved in the political process. By combining their interests with advocacy and activism, councilors form close working relationships with congressional representatives.

If you have a concern about health policies, or any other issues involving the AAOS, contact your councilor. Contact information is available on the BOC section of the AAOS Web site (www.aaos.org/boc).

Timothy Lamar Beck, MD, is a member of the BOC executive committee. He can be reached at bonebeck@suddenlink.net