Each year, the AAOS invigorates its present and ensures its vibrant future with the admission of a new class of Fellows, Associates, and International Affiliate Members. During the recent New Member Luncheon, held during the 2013 Annual Meeting, the Academy recognized 603 new U.S. members and a similarly sized contingent of international colleagues.
In greeting the attendees, outgoing Academy President John R. Tongue, MD, said, “I hope that after you establish your practices and you start giving back to your community, you will look to leadership opportunities. It starts easily at the state and local levels, and then as you participate in education or advocacy aspects of the Academy, we welcome and we need your participation.”
New member outlook
For new members, the luncheon, where veteran AAOS “Ambassadors” hosted each table, represented both the true start of a career and a finish line.
“It has been a long time coming!” said Seth Rosenzweig, MD, now charting his course in a practice in New Iberia, La. “When you start out as an orthopaedic resident, you’re thinking, ‘I will never be as good as these Fellows,’ as you watch and admire them. Now we are part of this professional organization.”
Dr. Rosenzweig served his residency at Tulane University, was displaced by Hurricane Katrina to the University of Alabama–Birmingham, and completed a fellowship in sports medicine at the Campbell Clinic and a research fellowship in adult reconstruction at Tulane.
“You go through many hoops and hours to get to this point, so it is pretty satisfying to become an actual member of the Academy,” said Rebecca L. Bennett Anderson, MD, who traveled to the meeting from her practice location in Chesterton, Ind. “I’ve probably been to the Annual Meeting five or six times during residency and training, so it is nice to now be here.” She served a residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y., and completed a hand surgery fellowship at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Jason C. Datta, MD, pointed to the benefits of Academy membership. “Joining the Academy helps me keep up on the latest trends and current with the latest recommendations. It also serves as a support group that guides us to the proper techniques and ways to treat certain disease processes.” After completing a residency at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and a fellowship at the Spine Education Research Institute in Colorado, Dr. Datta now practices in Phoenix.
Viral Virenda Jain, MD, MBBS, MS, trained at Civil Hospital in India and completed a fellowship in spine surgery and pediatric orthopaedics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he now practices. “It’s an honor to be a member, especially when you are from a foreign country, and to be part of this organization of professionals,” he said. “The Academy does a lot for its members, and it is my privilege to be a member.”
AAOS Membership Committee Chair Adam S. Bright, MD, encouraged the new members to get involved. “The Academy is a primary source for independent information—and a grass-roots organization. Your vote counts. The AAOS is our voice. You men and women are 100 percent of our future. Please look around at the opportunities and get involved,” he said.
Dr. Purvis sounded a theme of ownership, both in the literal sense of possession of a new Academy membership card and the concept of “taking ownership” of patient care and responsibility as a member of the community.
“Welcome to ownership. An ownership of your membership card, a new type of ownership of your patients, and an ownership of a well-balanced life. Your membership came at a cost, but it is a great asset. I’ve owned an Academy card for over 30 years. For me, it has paid high dividends through services, education, and credibility.”
Dr. Purvis said the Academy serves as a “positive vehicle for evolution” in increasing diversity and expanding opportunity. It also, he said “is the unifying voice to advocate for all of our patients and to provide for educational opportunities for the wide spectrum of orthopaedics. The Academy provides a wealth of resources for lifelong learning and promotes standards of ethical practice and opens many doors for you to give back.”
He echoed Dr. Bright’s call for involvement, especially by those who are hospital-employed. “You can help identify the particular needs of the employed surgeon. With your leadership, the Academy can embrace the employed physician sector as an important part of the organization.”
A call for teamwork and balance
Dr. Purvis also encouraged the new members to participate in a team approach to care. “That version of ownership becomes not just ‘my patient’ but ‘our patient.’ Such a team approach leads to better patient care, with less duplication. When patients themselves join the team, they can share in the ownership and choose wisely. When you lead well, the team can lead together.”
He urged the new Fellows and members to “lead a well-balanced life, with a proper appreciation for family. Find time for them, for a hobby. Bicycle across the country,” which, Dr. Tongue noted, Dr. Purvis once did.
“Cutting into a human body with a knife, straightening crooked bones, and helping patients reclaim their lives is special,” said Dr. Purvis. “Own up to that. But when you can, change gears. Go to the soccer game with your kids, to your spouse’s functions, to your parents’ dinners, to your place of worship. You can take time away. Just remember to hand over your patient care well and to thank your team members.”
Dr. Purvis said he keeps his Academy membership card in his wallet—behind a photo of his “most important team, my family. I encourage you to keep it in the same place, whether in your wallet or your smart phone. Please keep it in the order in which it belongs.
“You own an Academy membership card, for which you deserve credit,” Dr. Purvis concluded. “But please think of your card as a debit card. Ownership of the card is a privilege. And giving back is a card-owner tradition. I hope that in a few decades, you will look back with pride on your ownership of your Academy card, of your patients, and of a well-balanced life. Welcome to membership in the AAOS and to all the ownership goes with it.”
Terry Stanton is senior science writer for AAOS Now. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org