A section of the volunteer wall at the 2007 Annual Meeting in San Diego.


Published 11/1/2008
Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD

Improve your appointment odds

Suggestions when applying for CAP positions

Did you know that the AAOS has more than 400 volunteer positions on Councils/Cabinet, committees, subcommittees, oversight groups, and advisory boards? With that many slots available, the goal of the AAOS leadership is to involve as many members in the governance structure as possible.

Each time the Committee Appointment Program (CAP) Committee meets to review the applications from fellows seeking to fill open positions, we have the following two goals:

  • To appoint as many individuals as possible who have not been previously involved
  • To match the most qualified individuals with the specific positions available

To help you decide which position to apply for—and to increase your chances of getting that appointment—the members of the CAP Committee have put together a few tips that we hope you will find helpful.

Apply for a position in your area of interest
The most important factor is to apply for a position in your area(s) of interest. If you are interested in the committee’s activities, you will be able to maintain a high level of involvement. In addition, your energy and enthusiasm will be best utilized.

But your experience and expertise should be consistent with the position as well. For example, if you have a strong background in clinical research, apply for a position on one of the committees within the Council on Research, Quality Assessment, and Technology. The same approach extends throughout the other areas of education, advocacy, and communications.

Work your way up
If this is the first time that you are applying for a position or if you are early in your career, consider applying for membership on a subcommittee of a committee. The subcommittees involved in preparing different examinations (such as the Orthopaedic In-Training Exam or one of the Self-Assessment Exams) would be reasonable choices.

Individuals interested in committee chair positions should have previously served on that committee or on a committee in a related area (within the same Council or Cabinet). This will indicate that you have the experience and expertise to assume a more important leadership position.

Council and Cabinet positions are generally filled by individuals who have served on or chaired a committee or other subgroup within that Council or Cabinet. Council and Cabinet chairs are selected by the presidential line (president, first vice president, and second vice president).

Although members can apply for any position of interest, the most qualified individuals for Council or Cabinet chair positions are usually those who have previously served as a member of the Council or Cabinet or who have been active on committees or subgroups that are part of the Council/Cabinet.

Make yourself known
When you apply for a position, consider contacting the chair of that particular governance unit so he or she will be aware of your interest, commitment, and expertise. E-mail is probably the best method of contacting these individuals.

Remember that we always have many more applicants than positions to fill. If your first application doesn’t result in an appointment, reapply. As this year’s CAP chair, I would be happy to hear from anyone who has questions or concerns. Our goal is to support our members who want to get more involved as well as to provide the most talented and committed members for AAOS activities.

Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, is first vice-president of the AAOS and chair of the Committee Appointment Program Committee. He can be reached at joseph.zuckerman@nyumc.org