Published 3/1/2008
A. Alex Jahangir, MD

Resident status no reason not to get involved

Resident recalls impressions of 2007 NOLC

Editor’s note: The National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) is held annually in Washington, D.C. The 2008 NOLC will be April 30-May 2.

Every year, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) holds the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) meeting in Washington, D.C. In my final year of residency at the Campbell Clinic, and as a 2007 Washington Health Policy Fellow, I had the good fortune of attending this meeting last year. I found it inspiring, informative, and energizing.

More than 250 orthopaedic surgeons from state orthopaedic societies and orthopaedic specialty societies participated in the 2007 NOLC. Many were leaders in our field—including members of the AAOS Board of Directors, Board of Specialties Societies, Board of Councilors, AAOS Council on Advocacy, the Orthopaedic Political Action Committee, Leadership Fellows Program, and Washington Health Policy Fellows Program.

During this three-day meeting, we visited Capitol Hill and spoke with members of Congress and their staff about many of the issues important to the orthopaedic community. We discussed the need to fix the flawed Medicare payment formula; establish a more realistic timeline for the development, implementation, and reporting of quality measures; and support the care—specifically the orthopaedic care—of our military troops by increasing funding for research.

In addition, we heard from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and staffers from two congressional committees with jurisdiction over healthcare-related issues.

War injuries and award-winning reporting
A war extremity injury symposium was also held during the NOLC, featuring Capt. Dana C. Covey, MD, and his colleagues in the military, who discussed the levels of care that injured troops receive. Kimberly Dozier, a CBS news correspondent, shared her experiences. She had been injured by an improvised explosive device, and she discussed the treatment she received from her orthopaedic surgeons in Iraq and stateside. Finally, participants heard updates from AAOS President James H. Beaty, MD, and other Academy leaders.

A special presentation involved the AAOS Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence (MORE) awards. MORE awards were presented in several categories to members of the media who contributed orthopaedic-related stories that were positive and informative to the public.

Lessons to take home
As a resident, I found the opportunity to attend this important meeting and really see how AAOS members are involved in advocacy and policy making for our patients and our profession was very inspiring. It enabled me to see how the different groups within the AAOS work together to establish policy—not only for the AAOS and its members, but for national healthcare issues as well.

Attending the NOLC solidified my understanding that as an orthopaedic surgeon, it is not enough to care just for my patients and my practice. It is imperative to be involved in guiding and directing the healthcare policy decisions that will affect every orthopaedist and, more importantly, each one of our patients.

A. Alex Jahangir, MD, is a resident member of the AAOS and a Washington Health Policy Fellow.