Ms. Hackett added that Dr. Shaffer “will join the Academy in time to participate in the December Board of Directors workshop and meeting.”


Published 12/1/2013
Jennie McKee

AAOS Selects New Medical Director

William O. Shaffer, MD, assumes the post on Dec. 2

William O. Shaffer, MD, has been selected as the medical director for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Dr. Shaffer, who succeeds William R. Martin, III, MD, in this role, will assume his new position effective Dec. 2, 2013. As medical director, Dr. Shaffer will be located in the AAOS Washington, D.C., offices and will supervise the office of government relations and the department of research and scientific affairs.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Shaffer has agreed to serve as our medical director,” said Chief Executive Officer Karen L. Hackett, CAE, FACHE. “Dr. Shaffer, who is retired from the U.S. Navy, has a wealth of experience as a private practice spine surgeon and as a leader at the AAOS and other organizations such as the North American Spine Society. He has also engaged in advocacy efforts on behalf of orthopaedic surgeons in Kentucky and Iowa and has participated in Research Capitol Hill Days.”

William O. Shaffer, MD


Experienced orthopaedist and advocate
After earning his medical degree from the University of Michigan, Dr. Shaffer joined the U.S. Navy, completing an orthopaedic surgery internship at the Naval Hospital Oakland and an aerospace medicine fellowship at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola, Fla. He then served for 2 years aboard USS America, USS Independence, and USS Nimitz, with tours in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Dr. Shaffer later completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Va., followed by a tour at the Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, where he received the Navy Commendation Medal.

“I was then selected for a Navy-sponsored spine fellowship at the University of Iowa, after which I was assigned to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.,” said Dr. Shaffer. “I served as the department head and residency program director for orthopaedic surgery, receiving a second commendation medal for management of the department.”

Dr. Shaffer, who specializes in treatment of the spine, spent time in private practice at Ventura Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine in Ventura, Calif., before joining the Saint Louis University School of Medicine’s Orthopaedic Surgery Department, where he reestablished the spine program in both orthopaedic and neurologic surgery. He later established a spine practice at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington, Ky., where he served as professor, vice-chairman, and orthopaedic residency coordinator.

“For the last 4 years, I have practiced in an underserved area of northwest Iowa, which has been very satisfying,” said Dr. Shaffer, noting that he has been a member of the Evidence-Based Guideline Development Committee of the North American Spine Society for more than a decade, and has served for the past 4 years on the AAOS Committee on Evidence-Based Quality and Value (EBQV).

“We are excited about the expertise Dr. Shaffer will bring to our efforts to improve value in musculoskeletal care” said Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, chair of the Council on Research and Quality. “His experience on the EBQV Committee, as well as on other quality initiatives both within and outside of AAOS, will enable him to make important contributions as medical director.”

Thomas C. Barber, MD, chair of the Council on Advocacy, is “delighted that Dr. Shaffer will be joining the advocacy team.”

Dr. Barber noted that “it is important that we have an orthopaedic surgeon based in Washington, D.C., who can help represent our interests on Capitol Hill, and with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other government entities, as implementation of the new healthcare law moves along quickly in 2014.”

Dr. Shaffer will draw on his vast experience in a variety of roles in orthopaedics to fulfill his duties as medical director. He emphasized that he will “strive to fully represent the diverse group of surgeons who make up the Academy.”

“I want our members to know they will have a strong, experienced voice in Washington,” said Dr. Shaffer. “My goal is to represent orthopaedic surgeons from a variety of practice settings—from private practice orthopaedists, who face many of the same challenges of all small business owners in an uncertain economic climate, to academic surgeons, who must divide their time between academic and clinical pursuits, and military orthopaedists, who must meet extraordinary demands as they care for their patients.”

Jennie McKee is a senior science writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at