Published 4/1/2011
Susan J. Koshy, JD

Grant pushes COS to new heights

40 percent membership increase just the beginning

Over the past 2 years, the Colorado Orthopaedic Society (COS) has increased its membership by 40 percent and is on its way to becoming a model state specialty society, thanks to a grant from the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

The AAOS Board of Councilors (BOC) State Orthopaedic Societies Committee awarded COS a $10,000 grant in February 2009 to hire a qualified executive director, charged with retaining and recruiting members. It was a smart move. During the first year (2009), COS membership grew 18 percent, from 93 to 110 members. By the end of 2010, the COS had 130 members—a 40 percent increase over 2 years.

That increase in membership will result in an almost $22,000 return on investment and will add nearly $15,000 per year to the COS budget.

“We greatly appreciate AAOS support in helping COS become a healthier organization and a vital advocate at both the state and national levels,” said COS President Theodore J. Clarke, MD. “We hope this return on investment demonstrates how much stronger our profession and our specialty are when we work together.”

COS used the grant funds to hire an executive director, initiate member retention and recruitment activities, and establish a robust board of directors that meets regularly to direct the activities of the society and ensure good stewardship of AAOS funds and member dues.

During the 2010 legislative session, COS was actively engaged in important initiatives on behalf of its members. The organization helped head off another attempt by the trial lawyer lobby to increase the state’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases. COS also led the effort to preserve patient safety by supporting retention of current scope of practice provisions for podiatrists and chiropractors.

COS also has become an active participant in the AAOS-sponsored State Society Futures Strategic Planning initiative, which held its first meeting in August 2010. The society also held a Colorado reception at the AAOS Annual Meeting in San Diego and expects to mount the first COS annual meeting in years in 2011.

Dr. Clarke noted that the organization’s turnaround would not have been possible without the support and assistance of the AAOS State Society Affairs team.

“The expertise and tireless energy of the AAOS team has left COS well positioned to move forward,” he said.

Susan J. Koshy, JD, is manager, state society & legislative affairs, in the AAOS department of society relations. She can be reached at koshy@aaos.org