Members of the OREF Educational Grants Board are (left to right) Frank B. Kelly Jr., MD; Jo A. Hannafin, MD, PhD; and William C. McMaster, MD.

AAOS Now

Published 4/1/2009

OREF invites fellowship grant applications

On March 10, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) launched the first phase of its new Clinician Development Program, inviting applications for institutional graduate medical education (GME) fellowship grants for the 2009–2010 academic year. These GME fellowship grants are made possible through grant agreements between OREF and several industry partners, whose contributions will support education and training offerings designed to help orthopaedists sharpen and expand their skills.

Eight clinical fellowship areas
The number and type of fellowships available are strictly a function of the current industry partners and how the companies have allocated their support.

“OREF has always been devoted to advancing all of orthopaedics and is actively seeking additional partners to expand the number of fellowships across the full range of subspecialties,” said OREF board chair William P. Cooney III, MD. “We believe that this program can grow and become a valuable resource for all companies committed to investing in improving patient care through enhanced education and research. Securing more funding for more fellowships in more subspecialties is now a major focus of OREF’s efforts.”

At press time, funding is available to support approximately 20 fellowships in adult joint reconstruction and additional fellowships in seven other clinical areas (Table 1). These numbers may change by the time final awards for the 2009–2010 academic year are made. Approximately 30 fellowships will be awarded for 2009–2010.

Equal opportunities
Any academic institution or group practice with an established orthopaedic program that qualifies as a nonprofit, charitable entity may apply for funding. Both programs that have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and non–ACGME-accredited programs that meet certain criteria are equally eligible for funding. As currently structured, the OREF program does not include funding for individual fellows seeking support for their training.

Applications and additional information are posted at www.oref.org

Completed applications must be submitted to OREF no later than April 20, 2009, to be considered for funding for the 2009–2010 academic year.

Members of the OREF Educational Grants Board are (left to right) Frank B. Kelly Jr., MD; Jo A. Hannafin, MD, PhD; and William C. McMaster, MD.

Uniform fellowship amount: $75,000
All fellowship support grants will be in the same amount—$75,000—to help ensure that all recipient institutions are treated equally. This amount is intended to cover the fellow’s stipend and some, if not all, related overhead expenses. Funding provided by OREF may not be used to fund capital improvements, capital equipment purchases, or any endowment fund.

Reviewed and approved by DOJ monitors
This new OREF program allows industry to support fellowships in a way that eliminates any influence by the company over the selection of grant recipient institutions. Each of the corporate supporters is expressly prohibited, both by contract and by OREF procedures, from designating or even suggesting potential award recipients. Both ACGME-accredited and non–ACGME-accredited program applicants have equal access to the funding pool.

Applications will be reviewed by orthopaedic surgeons and PhD scientists who are free from industry conflicts, and recipients will be selected through an entirely random selection process, which further contributes to the transparency of OREF’s program. This system has been reviewed and approved by monitors appointed by the Department of Justice for a number of orthopaedic device manufacturers.

Free from influence
To oversee the program and ensure companies have no influence, OREF has formed an Educational Grants Board, comprising three orthopaedic surgeons who have had no conflicts of interest with industry, such as financial or managerial relationships, for at least 2 years. This board determines award criteria and makes final funding decisions. Frank B. Kelly Jr., MD; Jo A. Hannafin, MD, PhD; and William C. McMaster, MD, have been appointed to serve beginning in 2009.

A subsidiary group, the Educational Grants Committee, whose members are also free from conflicting interests, will review the applications and make their recommendations to the Educational Grants Board. Jill A. Helms, DDS, PhD; Phillip Osdoby, PhD; and William A. Sims, MD, will serve on the Educational Grants Committee for 2009.

More diversified offerings on the horizon
In addition to GME fellowships, OREF’s new Clinician Development Program will foster education and training of orthopaedists through residency enhancement programs, defined as programs to make the educational process for residents more robust. Examples include resident research symposia, grant writing workshops, and similar efforts. The program will also have some funding to support clinical research.

“This is a critical time for orthopaedic research, training, and education,” said Gene R. Wurth, OREF president/CEO. “For more than 50 years, OREF has played a central role in fostering such efforts, and this new program is a continuation—and refinement—of our role. OREF routinely partners with more than 60 corporate entities and 40 orthopaedic organizations. We are well-positioned and have the experience and resources to carry out this work for the good of the entire specialty.”

For more information, contact Mr. Wurth at wurth@oref.org or (847) 384-4362, or Judy Sherr, vice president, corporate relations, at sherr@oref.org or (847) 384-4356.