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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena has the most extensive fortifications in Latin America. Pictured is the town square outside of the Church of San Pedro Claver.


Published 1/1/2008
Lisa Cohen

First AAOS Colombian program was ‘fantastic’

2007 marked initial venture with SCCOT; set stage for a repeat visit in 2009

The AAOS held its first international education program with the Sociedad Colombiana de Cirugía Ortopédica y Traumatología (SCCOT) in Cartagena, Colombia, Aug. 16-18, 2007. The program was attended by 245 orthopaedic surgeons and residents; although 95 percent of attendees were SCCOT members, 30 participants came from other Latin American countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Venezuela.

The 3-day program included 19 lectures on hip and knee, under the direction of AAOS program course director Douglas E. Padgett, MD, and SCCOT program course director Adolfo Llinás, MD. Additional faculty members included Bryan J. Nestor, MD; Rafael J. Sierra, MD; and Robert T. Trousdale, MD, of the AAOS and 14 members of SCCOT.

Topics ranged from high tibial osteotomy and patellofemoral replacement to implant options, the role of arthroscopy, and impact grafting in revision total hip replacement.

On time with a mime
Keeping the program on track was a priority for the SCCOT leadership, who used a unique approach to ensuring that lecturers held to the schedule. Instead of a ringing bell or blinking light when a speaker went overtime, a mime or dancer would appear before the podium to perform until the talk concluded.

Dr. Llinás explained that all SCCOT meetings used this nonconfrontational approach to keeping programs running smoothly. Despite some minor technical difficulties, the faculty was diligent in keeping on time.

Another innovation of this meeting was the “happy education hour.” Following the instructional lectures, six stations were set up in a large hall, each with two presenters who covered a specified topic. Attendees were able to share patient radiographs and speak one-on-one with the faculty. The social setting—including service of appetizers and beverages—provided a nonintimidating atmosphere that enabled attendees to talk to the faculty and provided a platform for more focused discussions.

Meeting learning objectives
The program scored high marks among the 245 participants (80 percent of attendees completed course evaluations). Nearly all stated that the AAOS program was relevant and applicable to their practices, met their learning objectives, and provided them with new knowledge that would benefit their patients and practices.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena has the most extensive fortifications in Latin America. Pictured is the town square outside of the Church of San Pedro Claver.
The AAOS faculty and SCCOT leadership exchanged “national” hats at the closing ceremony. Left to right: Drs. Adolfo Llinás, Ruben Mateus, Robert T. Trousdale, Douglas E. Padgett, Nicolás Restrepo, Rafael J. Sierra, and Rodrigo López. (Not shown: Dr. Bryan J. Nestor)

In addition, nearly two thirds reported participating in one or more previous AAOS events and 97 percent indicated they would attend another AAOS/SCCOT program in the future.

The most frequently suggested improvement was to hold more interactive sessions, such as “meet the professor” events and small workshops.

Faculty assessments were also positive. “Excellent organization” noted Dr. Sierra. “The SCCOT faculty provided outstanding presentations and were well versed and thorough with their material. Audience participation and questions were excellent.”

“The attendance at the sessions was fantastic!” agreed Dr. Trousdale. “Even after a lunch break and a torrential downpour, our session rooms were standing room only!”

Increasing international membership
The AAOS shared exhibit space with Libreria Medica Celsus, which distributes AAOS publications in Colombia. In addition to the lucky lottery winner, who received a free year of membership to the AAOS, 21 attendees joined as international affiliate members. The exhibit space also enabled distribution of Spanish language editions of the Journal of the AAOS, product catalogs, promotional brochures for Global Orthopaedic Opportunities (www.aaos.org/global), and AAOS course calendars.

Based on the success of this initial cooperative venture between AAOS and SCCOT, the International Committee recently approved a joint AAOS-SCCOT program in 2009.

If you are interested in participating in an international program as a faculty member, please contact Lisa Cohen, manager, international education programs, at cohen@aaos.org or call (847) 384-4168.

Lisa Cohen is manager of AAOS international education programs. She can be reached at cohen@aaos.org