Academy earns a prestigious Summit Award from ASAE
AAOS members and staff sprang into action to help the people of Haiti after a massive earthquake rocked the island nation on Jan. 12, 2010. The extraordinary efforts made by Academy members to care for the injured and by AAOS leadership and staff to help coordinate and facilitate this lifesaving work were recognized on Wednesday, Sept. 29, when the AAOS received a Summit Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
The Academy was one of six organizations to receive the award, the ASAE’s highest level of recognition within its Associations Advance America awards program. The award recognizes the best efforts by associations across the country in areas such as public education and information, economic development, business and social innovation, skills training and development, and civic and volunteer activities.
During the awards presentation, a video explored the crucial role that AAOS members played in caring for the injured. It also highlighted the many ways in which the staff members helped support the nearly 500 orthopaedists who traveled to Haiti and the Academy’s readiness to assist those on call for deployment.
An immediate response
“Within hours of the quake, our phones and e-mail accounts in the international department were full to capacity with inquiries from our members wanting to know how they could volunteer their services,” remembered Lynne Dowling, director of the AAOS international department, who accepted the award on behalf of the Academy.
“As a result,” she explained, “with no prior training or plan, we very quickly had to figure out how to get our members connected and deployed.”
Ms. Dowling started by calling disaster relief agencies, including International Medical Corps and Doctors without Borders.
“We quickly established a contact database for nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs,” she said. “We also set up a similar database of AAOS members who wanted to volunteer. That way, members could contact organizations and vice versa.”
AAOS staff members also communicated with industry regarding donations and ways to get needed equipment into Haiti. The AAOS worked with the U.S. government and disaster relief agencies—as well as with privately and publicly owned airlines—to obtain air transport information
AAOS CEO Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE, acknowledged the many obstacles to coordinating an effective response.
“One of the key challenges was the lack of infrastructure in Haiti,” noted Ms. Hackett. “So many orthopaedic surgeons wanted to help the victims, but the conditions in Haiti were such that they couldn’t just hop on a plane and go. Electricity, navigable roads, and other basic components of a functioning infrastructure were lacking. Many hospitals had been damaged or destroyed, and few places were appropriate for performing surgery.
“AAOS provided an excellent service by connecting those who wanted to serve with agencies that were able to get them to Haiti and provide an environment for doing surgery,” she added.
Honoring an Academy-wide effort
Ms. Dowling credits the immediate willingness of AAOS members to provide crucial medical care to the people of Haiti as the most important factor in the Academy’s successful response to the crisis.
According to Ms. Hackett, receiving the Summit Award is a huge accomplishment for the Academy.
“Being chosen for a Summit Award is special because AAOS is being recognized by its peers—other associations who also do good and important work,” she said. “Many associations do humanitarian work and help communities in the United States and abroad, but only six Summit Awards are given out each year. An organization must achieve something really outstanding to receive a Summit award.”
Ms. Dowling agrees.
“I can think of no better reason to recognize the humanitarianism, compassion, professionalism, and dedication of our members,” she said. “The Haitian earthquake was the worst natural disaster that has occurred in the Western Hemisphere in recorded history. AAOS fellows deserve applause and myriad accolades for their contributions to Haiti and its people.”
Jennie McKee is a staff writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wounded in Action makes Honor Roll
Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements was recently named to the ASAE Honor Roll, an important level of recognition within the ASAE’s Associations Advance America awards program.
The exhibition features works created by wounded warriors, family members, and orthopaedic surgeons. The Academy worked with the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS), the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA), and the Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons (SOMOS) to identify artwork by physicians and patients to include in the exhibit.
“Wounded in Action helps remind everyone of the sacrifices those who serve have made for all of us,” said AAOS CEO Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE. “It is an honor to be recognized by our peers for this work.”
The exhibit debuted at the 2010 AAOS Annual Meeting in New Orleans. It has been displayed in the lobby of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and is currently at the Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed and the University of Maryland. Future exhibitions will be at the United Nations in New York City; the Museum at the Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas; Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and the Chicago Cultural Center. A Wounded in Action book accompanies the exhibit, as does the Web site.