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In recognition of the contributions and achievements of the global orthopaedic community, the AAOS instituted a Guest Nation Program in 2005. During each Annual Meeting, a series of activities focuses on the Guest Nation and the issues confronting the practice of orthopaedics and orthopaedic patient care in that country.

AAOS Now

Published 6/1/2008
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Carolyn Rogers

Brazil: Guest Nation 2009

AAOS to honor Brazilian orthopaedists at 2009 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas

The AAOS is pleased to announce that Brazil will be honored as the Guest Nation at the 2009 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

“Dynamic, modern, forward-looking”
Brazil has an estimated 10,000 orthopaedic surgeons; 9,500 belong to the Brazilian Orthopaedic Society (Sociedade Brasileira de Ortopedia e Traumatologia, or SBOT)—the largest orthopaedic association in Latin America.

Founded in 1935, SBOT is highly regarded by the Brazilian medical community and is a recognized leader among the country’s medical associations.

“Over the past 10 years, SBOT has become a dynamic, modern, and forward-looking group,” says Miguel E. Cabanela, MD, chair of the AAOS International Committee.

The 2007 annual congress (CBOT)—held in Sao Paulo, Brazil—was deemed the “best scientific meeting” of the year by the Brazilian Medical Association. Attended by more than 8,000 orthopaedists, CBOT is Latin America’s largest industry and scientific orthopaedic program.

But the honors don’t stop there. Last year, SBOT was also named “most active” of Brazil’s 52 specialty societies.

Setting the standard
“We’re very involved in improving the quality of orthopaedic care as well as the quality of life for the patient,” says Marcos Musafir, MD, 2007 SBOT president.

The society’s primary mission—education—extends beyond its membership to the general public. Through their influential public health campaigns and advocacy efforts, SBOT sets the standard for other medical societies.

“Our society is very active politically, lobbying politicians and developing relationships with senators, deputies [representatives], and ministers of transportation, health, and justice,” Dr. Musafir explains.

SBOT’s successful public health campaigns cover osteoporosis prevention, scoliosis testing and awareness, fall prevention, and identifying abused and neglected children.

“All of our campaigns are based on research,” says to Dr. Musafir, and include television and radio ads, billboards, brochures, and word of mouth.

The campaigns change the public’s perception about important health concerns, and “they show the public that orthopaedic surgeons care,” he adds.

Road safety campaign saves lives
SBOT’s road traffic safety campaign is especially noteworthy. The campaign’s origins go back to a 1989 car crash involving

Dr. Musafir’s sister, whose fatal head injuries could have been avoided if she had been wearing a seatbelt. Dr. Musafir vowed to do whatever he could to prevent such unnecessary deaths in the future.

“Our goal in medicine is to prevent the loss of life,” he says. “Why not work to prevent traffic injuries?”

In 1990, SBOT began its lifesaving efforts by spreading the word about buckling up.

Dr. Musafir and his colleagues also began pressuring the government to enact a seatbelt law, which passed in 1995. As a result, fatalities resulting from high-energy crashes have decreased by 48 percent; injuries are down 28 percent.

Changing attitudes, behavior
In 1997, the society stepped up its road safety efforts with an ambitious, long-term campaign to change the attitudes and behavior of Brazilian drivers.

First, SBOT broadened its seatbelt campaign to include the use of proper seat restraints for children. They also advocated for “electronic guards” at thousands of intersections to catch speeders and red-light scofflaws.

Despite these efforts, road travel remains hazardous, with nearly 35,000 deaths and 200,000 traffic injuries each year in Brazil—a country of 188 million.

“The problem is a lack of public awareness, as well as too few police to enforce the laws,” Dr. Musafir explains.

During the 2007 Christmas holidays, a record 200 people were killed and 1,870 injured in just 3 days. SBOT and other organizations reacted quickly to the grim news, by flooding the media with warnings against reckless driving and alcohol abuse.

By New Year’s Eve, the ad blitz managed to reduce the fatality rate by 50 percent, Dr. Musafir reports.

The fight against drunk driving
Drunk driving is an increasingly hot-button issue for Brazilians.

SBOT works closely with Health Minister José Gomes Temporao, who is leading a crackdown on drunk driving and alcohol advertising. Recently, the society strongly supported the enactment of a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol at all restaurants and service stations located along Brazil’s federal highways.

“This was a huge move,” Dr. Musafir says. “Many people fought the measure, but SBOT was very much involved in the effort to get it passed.”

The ban went into effect on Feb. 1, 2008—the first day of the Carnival holiday, when the number of traffic accidents typically soars. But “road traffic injuries were reduced by 40 percent compared to 2007,” Dr. Musafir reports.

The creation of motorcycle routes—similar to bike routes—is next on SBOT’s road traffic safety agenda.

“100 courses” event
Although public health efforts get attention, member education is essential. On April 4-5, 2008, SBOT hosted “100 Courses”—simultaneously conducting 100 courses in 46 Brazilian cities.

The program focused on traumatic injuries resulting from an increasing number of traffic accidents, falls, stabbings, and shootings. The event enabled SBOT to update more than 3,000 physicians, orthopaedic residents, and other providers on the latest advances in emergency care.

SBOT also used this national “orthopaedic weekend” to promote road traffic safety—both to course participants and to the public at large through TV ads.

“Education and prevention are key,” says Dr. Musafir.

Industry support enabled SBOT to provide participants with free educational materials—including a high-quality text and DVD. An online course allows those who couldn’t participate to access the information via computer.

Guest Nation 2009
These impressive accomplishments are just one of many factors that led the Academy to choose Brazil as the 2009 Guest Nation.

“SBOT and AAOS have cooperated for many years,” says Dr. Cabanela. “We felt that this long-standing relationship could only be enhanced by naming Brazil the Guest Nation for 2009.”

The distinction is a “big honor” for the society, according to Tarcisio Barros, MD, SBOT’s 2008 president, who also cites the cooperative ventures between the two societies.

For example, AAOS leaders have presented instructional courses in Brazil, and nearly 350 Brazilian orthopaedists are AAOS International Affiliate Members. In addition, SBOT translates the Journal of the AAOS into Portuguese and makes it available to its members. Several other AAOS books and materials have also been translated into Portuguese, including Orthopaedic Knowledge Update.

“The influence of American orthopaedics is strong,” Dr. Barros says. “We read your texts and your scientific papers, and hundreds of our members attend the AAOS Annual Meeting.”

Approximately 300 SBOT members attended the 2008 meeting in San Francisco. With Brazil serving as the 2009 Guest Nation, “We expect to see about 600 members in Las Vegas,” Dr. Barros reports.