AAOS USBJD Committee shares information, urges support
“Unintentional trauma is the number one cause of death among children,” Jonathon I. Groner, MD, medical director of the pediatric trauma program in Columbus, Ohio, told Congressional staffers during a Capitol Hill Briefing held in May. “More children die from injury than the nine next leading causes of death combined.”
Dr. Groner joined the Academy’s US Bone and Joint Decade (USBJD) Committee as they sought support from the House of Representatives in preventing pediatric traumas and raising awareness of the burden of musculoskeletal diseases.
The delegation included AAOS President Tony Rankin, MD; USBJD Committee Chair Kimberly Templeton, MD, and committee members Eric D. Farrell, MD, and Jose A. Morcuende, MD, PhD, as well as Laura L. Tosi, MD, pediatric orthopaedist and director of the bone and health program at Children’s National Medical Center; Kristy B. Arbogast, PhD, associate director of the Field Engineering Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, and orthopaedic patient Katherine (Katrina) Alexandra Bache.
Statistics such as those cited by Dr. Groner are both startling and effective. Congressional staffers, who are key in drawing attention to issues, listened intently as Dr. Arbogast outlined research priorities to reduce these numbers. Among the suggestions were the following:
- developing regional and national pediatric trauma databases
- investigating injury patterns and epidemiology on a regional or national basis
- developing and implementing injury prevention strategies and measuring outcomes
“Preventing pediatric trauma is important,” noted Dr. Templeton. “Even though children account for just 25 percent of the U.S. population, they represent 100 percent of our future.”
Urge support for the AAOS Act
The participants also asked for support for the “Access to America’s Orthopaedic Services (AAOS) Act of 2008,” which is being sponsored by Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Burgess, MD, R-Texas.
The AAOS Act of 2008 includes the following specific provisions relating to pediatric orthopaedics:
- Requiring the Office of the Surgeon General to issue a report on childhood musculoskeletal diseases within 2 years
- Requiring the Government Accountability Office to issue a report to Congress on beneficiary access to orthopaedic services under the Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program with attention to disproportionate impact of access barriers on children
- Requesting the Department of Education to coordinate its efforts with the Department of Transportation and Public Safety, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports on education campaigns about healthy lifestyles and practices
The impact of musculoskeletal disorders
In addition, the AAOS delegation stressed that musculoskeletal disorders and disease are the leading cause of disability in the United States; more than 1 in 4 Americans has a musculoskeletal condition requiring medical attention.
Congressional staff members also learned that women have more osteoporotic fractures annually than heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer combined. The committee presented educational tools used by the USBJD to educate the public, including programs such as “Fit to a T” for the elderly, “PB&J—Protect Your Bones and Joints,” a high school education program, and the Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis. These programs focus on basic health education and lifestyles changes for better bone health and injury prevention.
The AAOS and other partners of the USBJD (2002-2011) have made significant strides to improve the health-related quality of life for people with musculoskeletal disorders by working in partnership with stakeholders to raise awareness, identify needs, empower patients, promote cost-effective prevention and treatment, and advance understanding through research to improve prevention and treatment.
The AAOS USBJD Committee is part of the AAOS Council on Research, Quality Assessment and Technology. For more information about the USBJD committee, contact staff liaison Fareeha Shuttari-Khan at email@example.com or visit the Web page in the research section of the AAOS Web site, www.aaos.org/research
For more information about the AAOS bill, contact Lindsay Law, communications manager for the AAOS office of government relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org