AAOS First Vice President Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, who chaired the Unity Summit, models the commemorative t-shirt presented to attendees.
Courtesy of Mark Wieting

AAOS Now

Published 11/1/2008
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Mary Ann Porucznik

Unity Summit succeeds on several levels

“Together, we are one” is truer than ever

Four years ago, the first Unity Summit confirmed that the house of orthopaedics was anything but united. Last month in Dallas, however, the second summit found a sea change in the relationships among the AAOS and orthopaedic specialty societies.

“The specialty of orthopaedics is stronger when we create real partnerships, particularly in the areas of education, health policy, research, and communications,” said AAOS President Tony Rankin, MD, in welcoming summit attendees, a mix of officers, and others from the specialty societies and the Academy.

The day-long session focused on ways that the AAOS could work collaboratively with members of the Board of Orthopaedic Specialty Societies (BOS). Recognizing that three out of four AAOS fellows consider themselves specialists or general orthopaedic surgeons with a specialty interest, the unity effort initiated by past president Richard F. Kyle, MD, is an attempt to prevent fragmentation, integrate specialty society interests into the overall AAOS structure, and strengthen ties between the Academy and orthopaedic specialty societies.

According to James P. Tasto, MD, BOS chair, the results can be seen in increased specialty participation in education efforts, including the cobranding of courses with specialty societies and a greater involvement of specialty society representatives in planning the Annual Meeting. Advocacy efforts have been supported with additional staff in the AAOS office of government relations, focused on specialty society issues, and funded in part by the societies themselves.

Future plans include reorganizing the BOS to leverage the expertise, talent, and diversity of society members in advocacy, communications, education, and research. Under the new structure, each of the 22 BOS member societies would have up to six representatives, including their executive director. Societies will continue to select their own representatives and determine which BOS meetings each would attend. The BOS will continue to have representation on the AAOS Board of Directors, as well as on the Advocacy, Education, and Research Councils and the Communications Cabinet.

Efforts to improve relations have been successful, reported First Vice President Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, according to a recent survey of BOS society presidents and executive directors. With a nearly 90 percent response rate, societies expressed strong satisfaction with both the role they have and the recognition they receive. More than 90 percent of respondents reported that the “AAOS attitude toward orthopaedic unity” was better in 2008 than in 2004 and that the programs are meeting or exceeding their expectations.

The program also included a panel of BOS representatives discussing progress and ongoing challenges and break-out groups focusing on specific areas of cooperation.

Mary Ann Porucznik is managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at porucznik@aaos.org