Dominique Gambale, struck by a speeding taxi, suffered leg trauma that reminded her surgeon of battlefield blast injuries. The story of her treatment is told in a new campaign from the AAOS and the OTA.


Published 2/1/2012
Terry Stanton

Academy Rolls out New Public Service Messages

Campaigns target overuse injuries, distracted driving, obesity, and lessons learned in wartime

The role of the orthopaedic surgeon in promoting health and safety will remain in the public eye as the Academy unveils several new public service initiatives in 2012.

The campaigns use all the major media to provide information and education on the hazards of overuse injuries in young athletes, distracted driving, and childhood obesity. In addition, a web-centered production, offered in conjunction with the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, uses the story of a woman badly injured in a San Diego car accident to highlight how lessons learned on the battlefield abroad are helping to save injured people at home.

Get Up, Get Out, Get Moving!
The obesity message refreshes the “Get Up, Get Out, Get Moving!” campaign promoted jointly by the AAOS, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA). It includes an updated television spot on the importance of physical activity, including weight-bearing exercises, presented in partnership with POSNA.

“Decide to Drive”
The safe-driver promotion, a partnership with the Auto Alliance, will make an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show. The print visual depicts a woman unveiling a car and sends the message that the most important safety feature of a vehicle is the driver. Activities at the Chicago Auto Show include a photo booth, a children’s activity booklet, and other promotional giveaways that will be made available.

“We are continuing to really promote the elimination of distracted driving,” said Sandra Gordon, AAOS director of public relations, referring to the Academy’s award-winning 2011 centerpiece campaign.

According to Ms. Gordon, the AAOS receives a strong return on its investment in public service campaigns. The 2011 Distracted Driving campaign resulted in the equivalent of $13 million in paid viewing time and ad space. The website for that campaign netted 20,000 page views, the curriculum was distributed to more than 10,000 teachers, and AAOS members have requested more than 9,000 free campaign components, including posters, postcards, and easel-back counter cards.

The campaign’s distributor reports that these results are more than double the benchmark established to gauge clients’ success.

(For more information on the orthopaedic perspective on distracted driving, see “Distracted Driving: The Emerging Policy on Cell Phone Use.”)

Lessons Learned from the Frontline
The public will find a compelling story of human courage and the connection between wounded military personnel and advances in medicine in a multimedia campaign centering on a woman injured in San Diego. In February 2011 (just a few days before the AAOS Annual Meeting was to begin there), Dominique Gambale was leaving a restaurant after an evening out with her husband. An out-of-control taxi sped into the exiting crowd, sending her flying on impact, pinning her to a brick wall, and crushing her right leg.

At the trauma center, amputation seemed a strong possibility. Paul Girard, MD, performed assessment surgery and saw massive damage similar to what he had seen treating blast injuries in wartime Iraq. Yet, he said, “there seemed to be enough viable tissue with foot circulation to ‘go for it.’ I made the determination that our approach would be to try to save her leg—even though there were lots of uncertainties about just how much of a recovery she could hope for.”

Dominique Gambale, struck by a speeding taxi, suffered leg trauma that reminded her surgeon of battlefield blast injuries. The story of her treatment is told in a new campaign from the AAOS and the OTA.
New Academy public service campaigns focus on the hazards of distracted driving (top) and on prevention of overuse injuries (bottom).

Now, after nine operations, Ms. Gambale is walking. In her narrative, she says that, although she still has pain and swelling in her leg, she is determined to play tennis again.

A print poster (pictured above) and postcard ad direct the public to the campaign site ( and support the message. By a photo of Ms. Gambale, the headline reads: “A crash in California almost took her leg. A bomb blast in Iraq helped save it.”

“In Iraq, I saw traumatic extremity injuries every week—sometimes every day,” Dr. Girard said. “I learned and used surgical methods a stateside physician might not have been able to call on.”

Ms. Gambale concludes her first-person tale of determination with a tribute. “Thank you, Dr. Paul Girard. How lucky was I to have an orthopaedic surgeon with wartime experience and special insights on how to treat an injury like mine.”

The site also features a video, photos, and radiographs, as well as a narration by Ms. Gambale’s husband.

Overuse Sports Injuries
The overuse-injury campaign—a print ad and a radio spot—is a joint venture with the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and its “Stop Sports Injuries” program. The print ad shows a young athlete with red stitching like that on a baseball superimposed along his elbow to represent sutures. Readers and listeners are directed to the AAOS patient education website and the AOSSM’s website.

National exposure
The television, radio, and print ads for the 2012 campaigns will be delivered to more than 9,000 national and local media outlets. The print visuals will also be seen in airports, shopping malls, and bus shelters.

Michael F. Schafer, MD, chair of the Communications Cabinet, notes that several of these campaigns were done in collaboration with specialty societies. “It’s important for the AAOS to work with the specialty societies on these PSAs to promote these issues to the public,” said Dr. Schafer. “They recognize how important these issues are. It demonstrates unity.”

The campaigns also promote health and safety and demonstrate the role of the orthopaedic surgeon as an advocate for a patient’s well being. “As orthopaedic surgeons, we can deliver a strong public health message,” Dr. Schafer said. “We care about our patients, and we would rather prevent injuries than treat them.”

All public service materials are free to members, with only a small shipping and handling charge. To download a brochure of all available materials, visit

Terry Stanton is senior science writer for AAOS Now. He can be reached at