In her report to the fellowship as part of the AAOS 2010 Annual Meeting Opening Ceremonies, Chief Executive Officer Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE, acknowledged the leadership role that orthopaedics took in responding to the disaster in Haiti. She also pointed to the example that the AAOS sets for other medical associations in addressing such thorny issues as accountability, disclosure, compliance with ethical standards, and developing clinical practice guidelines.
As a member of the American Society of Association Executives, Ms. Hackett said she learned “what a leader orthopaedics is in setting standards of professionalism and holding membership to the highest level of ethics and excellence.” She went on to describe three areas of accomplishment.
“Few other organizations have such a thorough and fair process for ensuring that every member meets the high standards of professionalism you demand from your colleagues,” said Ms. Hackett. Even though the AAOS has a membership of more than 36,000, only 19 cases of professional compliance violations have been presented to the Board of Directors.
“The bad, or even slightly bruised, apples in the orthopaedic barrel are few …very few,” she said. “But, the mechanism is in place when it is needed.”
Disclosure of conflicts of interest
Turning to the “ethical minefield surrounding conflict of interest and disclosure,” Ms. Hackett expressed pride in the Academy’s efforts to enhance transparency and promote ethical relationships. She pointed to the role of the Committee on Outside Interests in developing new policy directives on relationships with industry and the disclosure of those relationships.
“A system of consulting fees and grants from industry can be made transparent and ethical,” she said.
“What a leader your Academy is in tackling the problem of practice disparities with the development of clinical guidelines,” said Ms. Hackett. The release of evidence-based clinical guidelines on treatment of pulmonary embolism and Achilles tendon ruptures and plans for the systematic development of guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment, and repair of major injuries and conditions in orthopaedic patients are examples of orthopaedics as a leader in medicine, she said.
Turning from issue leadership to practical leadership, Ms. Hackett acknowledged the “overwhelming and immediate response” to the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti earlier this year.
“Hundreds of orthopaedic surgeons have already gone to Haiti and hundreds more are poised to serve over the months to come,” she said. She encouraged her audience to visit the “Healing in Haiti” wall, an adjunct to the Wounded in Action art exhibit. “The comments from your colleagues and the pictures of what is happening in Haiti are a reminder of the vital role orthopaedic surgeons play in disaster response,” she said.
On behalf of the 240 Academy staff in the Rosemont and Washington offices, Ms. Hackett expressed pride in the difference orthopaedic surgeons make in the lives of their patients.
“You and your Academy are true leaders in American medicine and we are honored to support you in every endeavor,” she concluded.