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Resident member Chad Krueger, MD, addresses a state society meeting.

AAOS Now

Published 7/1/2011
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CPT Chad Krueger, MD; CPT Daniel J. Stinner, MD

Residents have multiple opportunities for involvement in orthopaedics

Be the voice they want to hear

Orthopaedics is providing residents more opportunities for professional development, as the AAOS and other societies enable more residents to take active roles in their organizations, including specifying resident positions on committees and councils. As David Teuscher, MD, chair of the AAOS Board of Councilors, said, “Residents are the future of our profession, so it is critical that they learn the traditions of our organizations and the craft of representing our peers.”

Residents are typically young, enthusiastic, and able to offer a fresh perspective on a variety of topics. Their roles within a committee or organization can be vital to its overall success. Although the exact requirements of each position will vary, all will involve a significant amount of work. As residents ourselves, however, we suspect that other residents will find the effort rewarding and will take great pride in being able to contribute to the work of the organization as a whole.

Involvement presents residents with direct professional benefits. Resident volunteers develop leadership, communication, and managerial skills; interact and network with individuals they would not otherwise meet; and learn the “ins and outs” of running a successful organization. Additionally, active involvement fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to the organization.

Residents who are actively involved—whether on a small or large scale—care more about the success and growth of the field of orthopaedics. They become advocates, not bystanders. They not only participate themselves, but also recruit others to further promote the growth of the organization. This grassroots effort can foster a powerful level of dedication and allegiance to orthopaedics, which would otherwise go untapped.

Moreover, professional involvement in orthopaedics is not limited to direct involvement with the AAOS. Many state, specialty, and regional societies are also looking for residents to be involved. This article provides some guidelines for the interested—but as yet uninvolved—resident that we hope will be helpful.

State societies
Opportunities for resident involvement in state orthopaedic societies are abundant—and may be less structured than in other organizations. State societies provide an excellent opportunity for residents to meet professionally active local orthopaedists and may lead to mentoring and networking opportunities.

State societies are often involved in the political realm and provide residents with a better understanding of orthopaedic advocacy in an up-close-and-personal environment. Additionally, state societies are heavily involved in licensure and accreditation, including continuing medical education (CME) and other professional requirements.

In short, state societies offer a wide array of opportunities, and becoming involved is sometimes as easy as sending an e-mail. One resident we know sent an e-mail to the past-president of a state society who was still active in the organization. The resident ended up becoming a member of the society’s board of directors, helping to develop a new CME website. Such opportunities for involvement are unlikely in larger organizations and highlight the potential benefits of becoming involved at the state level.

Specialty societies
The Board of Specialty Societies (BOS) includes 22 organizations representing the range of orthopaedic specialties. Some of these societies are quite large and offer multiple positions for residents. Others are more exclusive and decline resident involvement altogether. However, many of these societies are currently examining their resident involvement strategies and may soon be seeking an increased resident presence.

Specialty societies offer residents who are interested in a specific area of orthopaedics opportunities to network as well as to “test the waters” before fully committing to the specialty. Specialty societies also provide residents with a better idea of some of the potential job opportunities available after residency. Many provide residents with practical educational resources—and rely on resident input to develop these resources.

These societies continue to grow in scope, and many offer free membership for residents. A list of the BOS member societies and links to the individual society websites can be found at www.aaos.org/bos

Regional societies
Four regional societies are represented on the AAOS Board of Councilors—the Mid-America, Southern, Western, and Eastern Orthopaedic Associations. Resident involvement and exposure to these societies typically comes through their annual meetings, which provide great opportunities for networking.

Regional societies are larger associations that often serve as “grooming grounds” for future leaders within the AAOS. Residents may be able to follow their coworkers or mentors from the state and specialty societies through their leadership positions within these organizations and learn from their ascent.

AAOS committees and councils
The AAOS has many positions open to residents. All of these positions can be found on the
Committee Appointment Program (CAP) website. Openings for these positions are posted regularly in AAOS Headline News Now e-mails from the Academy (which residents should read).

Additionally, the AAOS has designated resident liaisons for each residency program who can help interested residents find opportunities for involvement.

“The resident liaison program has been a successful program for communication between the AAOS and residents,” said Todd Milbrandt, MD, MS, chair of the Candidate/Resident/Fellow Membership Committee. “Many current resident benefits given by the AAOS were the result of feedback received via the liaisons. Our committee’s number one priority is to facilitate such communication.”

If your residency program does not have a liaison, you can volunteer to be one by contacting Kristen Erickson at erickson@aaos.org

Although Academy committee positions are highly competitive, residents can often improve their chances for being selected through involvement in state, regional, and specialty societies. The CAP website also includes tips for applying to these positions.

“Many opportunities exist,” explained Dr. Teuscher, “but you have to actively seek to volunteer. Many states will sponsor a resident to attend and participate in the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC). As a participant, you will meet with your senators and representatives, participate in debates, and hear from policy makers and experts on the issues that affect our patients and our practices.”

Orthopaedic leaders frequently follow a step-by-step progression to the top, starting with involvement at the state level, progressing to specialty and regional societies, and finally holding leadership positions within the AAOS. Residents who seek leadership and professional development or simply desire to contribute to the growth of orthopaedics, have countless ways to take an active role. Everyone has talents and abilities; orthopaedic organizations can benefit greatly from residents’ contributions.

Look to the future
As residents, we will eventually become the future leaders of a rapidly changing orthopaedic community. It is imperative for us to become involved so that we can have an influence in shaping our own futures. Today’s great leaders won’t always be there; eventually we will take their places as the leaders and advocates of orthopaedics.

Gaining exposure to the AAOS leadership and top-notch staff members who help make the AAOS a leading national organization can be an invaluable experience to residents who are hoping to stay involved professionally as their careers develop.

We urge all residents to take a more active role in the orthopaedic community and help ensure the continued growth of the AAOS and the orthopaedic profession in the future.

CPT Chad Krueger, MD, is a resident member on the AAOS Communications Cabinet. CPT Daniel J. Stinner, MD, is the Army resident representative to the Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons.

AAOS Committees with Resident Member positions:
Annual Meeting Committee
Biological Implants Committee
Biomedical Engineering Committee
Candidate, Resident, and Fellow Committee
Communications Cabinet
Council on Education
Diversity Advisory Board
International Committee
Patient Education Committee
Patient Safety Committee
Publications Committee
Research Development Committee
Women’s Health Issues Advisory Board