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Dr. Palacio (second from left) with the faculty of the 2008 OLC course he attended on fracture management—Robert F. Ostrum, MD; Jeffrey Anglen, MD; and Joseph Borrelli Jr, MD


Published 5/1/2011
Lynne Dowling; Lisa Cohen

Global scope, local impact

AAOS International Scholarships celebrate 10th anniversary

They come from around the world to learn and to sharpen their surgical skills. They return home inspired and driven to share with others the knowledge and training they’ve obtained. They are the AAOS International Surgical Skills Scholars—dedicated volunteers and leaders in their home countries, who are passionate about improving outcomes for orthopaedic patients.

Established in 2001, the AAOS International Surgical Skills Scholarships Program (ISSSP) is designed to improve the quality and outcomes of orthopaedic care worldwide. The AAOS International Committee awards scholarships to applicants who have demonstrated the desire and ability to have a positive impact on their communities. Candidates are dedicated to teaching others and have all the markings of a future leader, including a history of volunteering and a commitment to improving patient care.

“This is an essential element of our candidate review and selection process,” said Jesse B. Jupiter, MD, chairman of the International Committee. “Without fail, the recipients have shown early in their careers a distinct love of learning and a commitment to education, training, and standards of excellence.”

“You would be amazed at what some of these scholars have achieved—often under the most pressing circumstances and infrastructure support challenges,” says William B. Stetson, MD, who chairs the Scholarship Candidate Review and Selection Project Team. “One of our past scholars, Professor C. O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, MD, is now the Minister of Health for Nigeria.”

In their own words
Although becoming a Minister of Health is a stellar example, the following stories attest to how other scholarship recipients have been able to do good work and improve the quality of care in their home countries.

“This program opened my mind to unlimited teaching possibilities and to some brand new ideas! I have never been to such an excellent learning environment,” said Evandro Pereira Palacio, MD. “The course helped me assess both my weaknesses and my strengths.

“My professional life in Brazil has changed considerably since I received the AAOS Scholarship. After 2 months I was promoted to orthopaedics residency coordinator at my institution, and now there are 33 residents under my direct management,” he continued. “I want to say ‘Thank You’ to my beloved friends from the AAOS, who gave me the opportunity to grow and improve myself as a surgeon. I won’t forget that AAOS trained me and gave me the chance to spread that knowledge through the lives of my residents and undergraduate students.”

Similarly, Daniel-John Lavaly, MD, of Sierra Leone, said, “The AAOS/Orthopaedic Trauma Association scholarship was a landmark moment in my career. I saw orthopaedics practiced at its highest level. It has brought me in contact with other surgeons who can pass on their knowledge and skill. I’ll be renewing my membership soon.”

From Afghanistan, Dr. Sami Yousufzai, said, “The surgeon mentoring me was an expert at his field. I will apply most of the skills I learned there.”

ISSSP components
Currently, eight standard scholarships and three custom scholarships are available each year, up from only four recipients a year in 2001. The eight scholarship recipients attend an AAOS or Arthroscopy Association of North America surgical skills course of their choice in the Orthopaedic Learning Center and then spend up to 2 weeks in observership programs at leading orthopaedic centers.

One active observership center resides within the Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology, at the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Utah hosts another. Some participants are able to participate in the annual Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) course held by Lewis G. Zirkle, MD, at his training center in Richland, Wash. Other observerships involve working side by side with AAOS volunteers in their clinics, institutions, and private practices.

In 2011, for the first time, a private practice—Stetson Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Burbank, Calif.—funded a named scholarship and is providing a week of observership. The first recipient of this award is Amgad Haleem Ahmed Amin, from Giza, Egypt, whom Dr. Stetson predicted would “surely be one of the young leaders of the Egyptian Orthopaedic Society for years to come.” (See “Egyptian surgeon sees hope for his nation,” page 52.)

The three custom scholarships are earmarked for Vietnamese orthopaedic surgeons, as part of an ongoing series of education programs AAOS has been conducting in that country. In that program, three AAOS members—Stuart L. Weinstein, MD (University of Iowa), Miguel Cabanela, MD (Mayo Clinic), and Pietro Tonino, MD (Loyola University Medical Center)—travel to Vietnam for 2 weeks of lectures, surgical skills workshops, and live surgeries. In turn, one program participant from each of the three Vietnamese programs travels to the United States to work with their respective mentor. These programs are hugely successful.

According to Vietnamese surgeon Ngo Ba Toan, MD, “This scholarship program made my dream come true—learning in the United States. It was fantastic to see the way doctors here live, work, and enjoy their lives. I gained many experiences both in arthroplasty and in the way hospitals are run and the atmosphere of work at the Mayo Clinic.”

In all, the Academy’s ISSSP is having a major impact throughout the developing world, and standards of patient care are improving as a direct result.

Lynne Dowling is director of the AAOS international department; she can be reached at dowling@aaos.org

Thanks to supporters
AAOS is honored to recognize the support of our international scholarship program by the following contributors:

  • Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • The Foundation of Orthopaedics and Complex Spine
  • The Global Arthroscopy Foundation
  • Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology
  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  • The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America
  • The Permanente Medical Group
  • Sociedad Española de Cirugía Ortopédica y Traumatología
  • Società Italiana di Artroscopia
  • Stetson Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

AAOS members may participate in the ISSSP in a number of ways—by sponsoring a named scholarship, hosting a scholarship recipient, serving as an observership site, or working with a local orthopaedic society to support a named scholarship. To learn more about the AAOS ISSSP or to become a program contributor or observership sponsor, contact Anna Gurevich, international scholarships programs coordinator, at gurevich@aaos.org

Lisa Cohen is manager, international education programs; she can be reached at cohen@aaos.org

Observership Summary

Observership host

Observership hospital

Mininder S. Kocher, MD

Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA

Kurt F. Konkel, MD

Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls, WI

David Templeman, MD

Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN

Frederico Girardi, MD

Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY

Taizoon Baxamusa, MD

Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, Morton Grove, IL

Guido Marra, MD

Loyola University Surgery Center, Maywood, IL

Cass Joseph, MD

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Kenneth Egol, MD

New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, NY

Gordon Nuber, MD

Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL

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Dr. Palacio (second from left) with the faculty of the 2008 OLC course he attended on fracture management—Robert F. Ostrum, MD; Jeffrey Anglen, MD; and Joseph Borrelli Jr, MD
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Wearing his protective gear, Dr. Joseph Ogyaadu, Ghana, recipient of the 2011 AAOS International Scholarship Award funded by FOCOS, attended the AAHKS/AAOS Challenges and Controversies in Total Joint Arthroplasty Course, lab session.

Srdjan Mirkovic, MD

Jason Koh, MD

Evanston Hospital, Evanston, IL

Bradley R. Merk, MD

Northwestern Univ School of Med, Chicago, IL

William R. Niedermeier, MD

Prairie Du Sac Hospital, Madison, WI

Brad Grabell, MD

Rush North Shore Hospital, Chicago, IL

Wayne Goldstein, MD

Craig Della Valle, MD

Rush St. Luke Hospital, Chicago, IL

Joshua J. Jacobs, MD

Howard An, MD

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL

Howard Place, MD

Saint Louis University Hospital, Saint Louis, MO

Dirk Alander, MD

Gordon Allan, MD

St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, IL

Scott Powell, MD

Stetson Powell Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Burbank, CA

William Stetson, MD

Stefano Bini, MD

The Permanante Medical Group, Oakland, CA

Richard Coughlin, MD

University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital (UCSF/SFGH) in San Francisco, California

Anis Mekhail, MD

University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago, IL

Stuart Weinstein, MD

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA

Thomas Higgins, MD

University of Utah Orthopaedic Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

Chris Peters, MD

Charles Saltzman, MD

Brett Freedman, MD

Walter Reed Army Medical Ctr, Washington, DC

Timothy Kuklo, MD

Robert M. Henshaw, MD

Washington Cancer Institute, Washington, DC

Henry Finn, MD

Weiss Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL