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Published 10/1/2013
Bronwyn Barrera, MBA; Myria Stanley

IPOS Marks a Decade of Growth, Innovation

International symposium builds on 40-year history

Now in its 10th year, the International Pediatric Orthopaedic Symposium (IPOS) presented by the AAOS and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) is the premier educational event focused on treating orthopaedic conditions in young patients. This year’s symposium will be held Dec. 4–7, 2013, at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

“As we arrange the IPOS schedule and breakout offerings, we attempt to include a broad selection for every area and level of interest,” said Michael G. Vitale, MD, MPH, IPOS course director. “IPOS seeks to speak to the diverse interests across this field, so that attendees—whether they are pediatric orthopaedic specialists, orthopaedic surgeons who treat children in general practice, orthopaedic pediatric fellows, residents, or physician assistants—will find programming of interest.”

During the past 10 years, IPOS has been shaped by attendees, faculty, and feedback. But its history goes back much farther than a decade.

More than 40 years of history
Today’s IPOS experience has evolved from the transition of various forms of pediatric orthopaedic education during the past 42 years. In 1971, Mihran O. Tachdjian, MD, initiated the Pediatric Orthopaedic International Seminars (POIS), filling a needed gap in pediatric orthopaedic instruction at the time.

After 26 years and the passing of Dr. Tachdjian, POIS transitioned to and was supported by the Nemours Foundation. At that time, Chad T. Price, MD, was selected as course chair. Under Dr. Price’s leadership, the course grew and was poised for continued success. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, however, had a devastating effect on the symposium’s attendance, and the Nemours Foundation relinquished its sponsorship and management.

Dr. Price—along with George H. Thompson, MD, president of POSNA in 2002—approached the AAOS with an expanded course concept. He desired to create a rich international educational experience for pediatric orthopaedic surgeons at all levels. The AAOS agreed and, in December 2004, a revised, revived, and reformulated IPOS, presented by POSNA and the AAOS, took place in Orlando, Fla.

A decade of growth
During the past 10 years, the symposium has doubled in registrations, tripled in exhibitor participation, and nearly quadrupled in international attendance.

The unique perspective that international participation brings to the program is one of the attractions of IPOS. “For the past decade, our international faculty has presented cutting-edge ideas not yet popular in the United States. This creates a healthy, active debate with U.S. faculty on the optimal care for different conditions,” notes John M. (Jack) Flynn, MD, IPOS course codirector and chair of the AAOS CME Courses Committee.

Acknowledging the increasing diversity and subspecialty interests within pediatric orthopaedics over the past decade, course directors and faculty have more than doubled the number of workshops and breakout sessions. The 45-plus selections this year include discussion sessions, demonstrations, advanced hands-on technical workshops, and industry-sponsored seminars.

“The year-to-year program grows, is up-to-date and forward-looking, and takes into account attendee feedback. I love that we have direct access to faculty, to communicate with them, and to share common experiences or problems and learn from them,” said Odette M. Perron, MD, FACS, from Quebec, Canada, who has attended IPOS annually since 2006.

CME programming
IPOS attendee and faculty feedback have been instrumental in shaping the course throughout its history and making it a leader in orthopaedic CME programming. The volume of course materials and the attendees’ need for easy access led to IPOS’s being the first Academy course to implement electronic content.

In 2012, by popular demand, the syllabus became exclusively electronic. Due to the abundance of in-session questions, course faculty were also employed as eModerators to maximize the flow of audience and presenter interaction.

The new “IPOS On the Go” app helps attendees navigate the meeting by managing their on-site experience with schedule updates, access to course evaluations and faculty bios, and links to the syllabus and other resources.

In 2013, AAOS and POSNA will introduce a new IPOS companion website with 1-year postcourse access for IPOS attendees only. The site features videos of past and current IPOS sessions, sponsored webinars, resident case presentations, and surgical techniques by faculty members. The site is supported by an educational grant from BioMarin Pharmaceuticals.

Responding to growing audiences
Faculty are responding to the rapid growth in IPOS attendance among early career surgeons and surgeons in training by adding sessions designed specifically for them.

Early-arriving registrants are invited to a “Cases and Cocktails: Best of Resident Cases” event on Dec. 3. This event features scholarship and award recipients’ patient cases in a friendly competition for “Best Case Presentation.”

Residents and fellows in training can participate in the 2nd annual “Top Gun Competition” led by Donald S. Bae, MD. This surgical simulation contest measures quality, accuracy, and speed as participants perform 4 orthopaedic procedures using sawbones.

Expanding the international reach of the course, the Pediatric Trauma Breakout Session on Dec. 6, led by Pablo Castañeda, MD, will be transmitted online as the first IPOS webcast. “This is a unique opportunity to reach people who are unable to attend the symposium in person,” said Dr. Castañeda. “The simplicity of connecting worldwide to share knowledge and experience is paramount to the future development of pediatric orthopaedic surgery.” Orthopaedic surgeons can participate at home, in the office, at the hospital, or anywhere with an Internet connection. Details can be found at

Continued growth and change
Exciting new features, attendee feedback, faculty input, and the communal sharing of knowledge have made this expanding and ever-changing course an annual “must-attend” for pediatric orthopaedic surgeons around the world.

“IPOS has improved the specialty of pediatric orthopaedics in many ways,” said Dr. Price. “This course has served as an annual introduction of new concepts, with debates about old concepts. IPOS fuels a growing interest in pediatric orthopaedics by stimulating new thoughts and new research.”

He added, “The AAOS has provided an enduring support system for growth and change, and POSNA has embraced the concept of a high-level symposium for intellectual debate and camaraderie.”

Bronwyn Barrera is a marketing manager for AAOS, and Myria Stanley is a CME course coordinator for AAOS. For questions about the IPOS program, contact