Published 9/1/2008
Frank B. Kelly, MD

Lights, camera, Internet, and action!

One sure way to enhance the image of orthopaedic surgeons is to make sure our message reaches as much of the media and public as possible. Today, this means more than just the “mainstream” media.

On-line bloggers are an important way to communicate the correct orthopaedic message. Bloggers may contact you to do an interview on a variety of orthopaedic subjects—primarily any orthopaedic news of the day and what people in their on-line communities are talking about. Bloggers may use audio, video, and sometimes both in the interview.

This type of interview can hit the Web almost instantaneously, as fast as it takes to complete a download. These exciting new interview options are changing the public relations landscape by enabling your message to be seen by people all over the world.

This is another key way that the AAOS positions itself as the premier association for orthopaedic surgeons and the recognized authoritative voice for orthopaedic surgeons and good musculoskeletal health.

Most media will contact the Academy first so that the media relations staff can find a spokesperson. But the Internet enables media to call or contact you directly. Please, always feel free to contact our media relations staff before doing any type of media interview. They can assist you with the following:

  • Suggested talking points
  • More information on the topic of your interview
  • Tips on preparing for an interview
  • Handling communication between you and the media

As this issue of AAOS Now went to press, staff were revising the Media/Public Relations Training Manual. It should be completed by the end of this month.

Currently, the Academy has 153 registered spokespeople. I encourage you to register if you have not already done so. The process is very easy. After signing in as a member on the AAOS Web site (www.aaos.org), click “Public Relations” in the left navigation column. From there, follow these steps to sign up:

  • Click “Sign up and Become an AAOS Media Spokesperson.”
  • Click the bulleted link on the Media Spokesperson page.
  • Fill in your information by following all the prompts.
  • Submit your information

Be as detailed as possible on all the subjects you feel you can tackle comfortably with the media. Leadership Fellows and new members are also encouraged to register. It is a great way to get involved.

CNN highlights AAOS PSA
During the past few months, several news stories have focused on doctors who operated on the “wrong site.” This prompted CNN Health correspondent Elizabeth Cohen to take a closer look at the problem. She interviewed AAOS past president James H. Beaty, MD, on what precautions both doctors and patients should take before heading into the operating room. Dr. Beaty reviewed the Academy’s ongoing efforts to educate the public on “wrong-site” surgery through public service announcements (PSAs). The Academy received special mention by the reporter and our print PSAs appeared on CNN and were also posted on

Frank B. Kelly, MD, is chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet. He can be reached at fkelly@forsythstreetortho.com

Tip of the Bone
When you are doing a phone interview with a reporter, make sure you are someplace where you won’t be distracted. You can stand and walk around while answering questions; you can even gesture with your hands because both standing and gesturing tend to put more energy and inflection in your voice.

If you are not comfortable standing, sit up straight in your chair. You also might try to sit on the end of your desk. Remember to breathe and talk slowly. A well-timed pause can give you a chance to come up with that very clever answer a reporter is waiting for.