Former AAOS president lauded as mentor and advocate for patients and orthopaedists
“Even though being a physician is already tremendously rewarding, being involved and trying to make your profession, your hospital, and even your community better leads to a richer and more fulfilling life,” said Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, recipient of the 2011 William W. Tipton Jr, MD, Leadership Award. The award recognizes Academy members who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities that have led to benefits for the orthopaedic community, patients, and/or the American public.
Dr. Weinstein, a former AAOS president, was honored at the 2011 AAOS Annual Meeting for his efforts as a staunch patient advocate as well as a mentor and leader in the orthopaedic community.
“I knew and worked with Bill Tipton from the time he started with the Academy through his retirement,” said Dr. Weinstein. “He was a good friend. We worked on many leadership projects together, so receiving this award is particularly meaningful.”
Dr. Weinstein, Ignacio V. Ponseti Chair and professor of orthopaedic surgery at The University of Iowa, specializes in pediatric and spinal deformity orthopaedic surgery. His colleagues at the Iowa Orthopaedic Society (IOS) nominated him.
“Dr. Weinstein is the consummate educator, leader, and role model,” said Matthew Weresh, MD, IOS president. Dr. Weinstein’s the one mentor who stood out above all others and who significantly influenced his own personal decision to pursue orthopaedics, said Dr. Weresh.
Putting patients first
As AAOS president (2005–2006), Dr. Weinstein created a team to address issues related to care for patients with emergent orthopaedic and medical problems. He was also instrumental in establishing the Academy’s Patient-Centered Care program.
“I was, and always will be, an advocate for patient-centered care—I think that’s our responsibility as a profession,” said Dr. Weinstein. “Our lives are dedicated to taking care of patients.
“The goal is to improve the quality of care we provide, always with patients as our partners,” he continued. “We help them navigate a very complex decision-making process; that’s a critical role we play as healthcare professionals.”
Promoting orthopaedic advocacy is another of Dr. Weinstein’s passions—and another avenue where he has shown leadership. He formerly chaired the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, Doctors for Medical Liability Reform, spearheading a national campaign for tort reform. Under his leadership, the Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (PAC) has become the largest medical PAC, surpassing even the American Medical Association’s PAC.
Dr. Weinstein noted that when he was elected to the AAOS presidential line, he “became an advocate for our patients and our profession.”
“We have no chance of achieving our health policy advocacy agenda without a seat at the table among members of Congress, and to have that seat requires a robust PAC,” he said. “As chair of the Orthopaedic PAC, I am concerned with many critical political issues, including finding a permanent fix to sustainable growth rate formula, enacting meaningful medical liability reform, and preserving access to specialty care.”
A life-long leader
Dr. Weinstein has also contributed his strong leadership skills as chair of the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade as well as an ambassador for the International Bone and Joint Decade, helping to raise awareness of the growing burden of musculo-skeletal disorders on society.
The sentiments Dr. Weinstein expressed during his address as incoming AAOS president in 2005 underscore the philosophies that have guided his long and distinguished career.
“Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned over the years as a physician and as a member of this Academy is that success and accomplishment come only through partnership,” he asserted. “We cannot be successful physicians unless our focus is on the needs and wishes of our patients, and we cannot be successful professionals unless our focus is on our mutual needs and development of our collective talents.”
Prior recipients of the William W. Tipton Jr, MD, Leadership Award are Augustus A. White, III, MD, (2010); Blair C. Filler, MD (2009), Michael F. Schafer, MD (2008), Stuart Hirsch, MD (2007), and Richard J. Haynes, MD (2006).
More about the award
The William W. Tipton Jr, MD, Leadership Award was established through the AAOS and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation by friends, colleagues, and organizations in honor of the late William W. Tipton Jr, MD. It honors the many ideals exemplified by Dr. Tipton—including a commitment to serving as a leader and mentor—as well as encouraging diversity and collaboration among orthopaedic professionals.
Jennie McKee is a staff writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org