Paul Tornetta III, MD


Published 1/1/2014
Terry Stanton

No Place Like the Big Easy

2014 Annual Meeting in New Orleans to be bigger, better than ever

If you’re only as good as your last Annual Meeting, the Academy is promising you’ll be better than ever when you attend this year’s global gathering in New Orleans, which features a number of innovative new offerings on top of the expected world-leading educational program.

As always, the meeting week, March 11–14, plus Specialty Day (March 15), will be packed with valuable instructional content and recent, relevant clinical and scientific discoveries and information, presented by leading researchers and instructors. The lineup includes the following:

  • 29 symposia by the world’s experts on exciting and timely topics
  • 840 paper presentations on the latest scientific and clinical studies
  • 560 posters
  • 200 instructional courses
  • 85 scientific exhibits on extended studies or complex procedures
  • 550 technical displays on the exhibit floor, showing the “latest and greatest” in orthopaedic products and services

Among the additions to this year’s meeting are new Case Presentation Courses, Technical Skills Courses, and a Game Changer paper session, which will combine 15 paper presentations from the week’s program and synthesize them for their potential to advance and change how orthopaedists practice and perform surgery.

The popular Poster Tour program returns better than ever. Highlight stations will place featured posters in one location. Walk-around tours provide narrated expertise for the selected studies, and a UTouch Tour shows posters on a large interactive screen. The Annual Meeting will also beam 13 live broadcast events from the site on a variety of topics.

“The Annual Meeting is about learning, networking, and getting familiar with the clinical and scientific cutting edge, along with seeing what’s new in the marketplace on the exhibit floor,” said Paul Tornetta III, MD, Annual Meeting chair. “Our focus and goal is to exceed the educational needs of the members and give them outstanding value by providing a variety of educational formats and a wide range of topics. The Central Program, Central Instructional Courses, and Exhibits Committees have worked hard and developed a well-rounded program for attendees.”

Specialized education
In addition to sessions covering key anatomic areas, Dr. Tornetta said, the meeting will engage members in specialized education, including Team STEPPS (Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety), faculty development, Ask an Expert, Case Presentations, Orthopaedic Review courses, and Maintenance of Certification courses.

Case Presentations, explained Dr. Tornetta, feature a participants’ roundtable with an expert faculty facilitator and an iPad for showing images and data from faculty-selected cases. “The case will be presented and discussed with the moderator presenting the final solution using evidence-based data. Teaching points with references to support the selected treatment will be included,” Dr. Tornetta said. “This is a highly interactive session in a small group setting, which will enhance learning engagement.”

Another popular offering is the Ask an Expert sessions, which provide an interactive opportunity for attendees to present a perplexing case to a selected clinician. Dr. Tornetta said that attendees “are invited to bring their case challenges and present them for diagnosis and recommendation. Audience participation will be encouraged to complement the exchange of ideas.”

The AAOS has also partnered with the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) and the National Association of Orthopaedic Technologists (NAOT) to present a rich allied health program. Six sessions are designed for registered and licensed practical nurses, physician assistants, orthopaedic technologists, and physical and occupational therapists. Dr. Tornetta urges AAOS members to “encourage your allied health professional to attend this year’s meeting and take advantage of offerings such as the casting courses and sessions on Surgical Approaches of Orthopaedic Conditions.”

Day by day
Now that the Annual Meeting goes into full swing on Tuesday, attendees will want to scan the program and set their schedules for the opening day’s menu of instructional courses, paper sessions, symposia, and scientific exhibits. As in the past, Tuesday will also provide a resident focus with free courses on the Basics of Coding for Starting Your Practice and the Practice Management Symposium for Orthopaedic Residents.

The free Community Orthopaedic Surgeon Workshop will again be presented, including instruction in adult reconstruction (hip and knee), cost effectiveness, trauma, maintenance of certification, and patient safety. This 4-hour workshop is specifically designed for the orthopaedic surgeon who handles a variety of conditions.

An annual highlight is the Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, March 12, where the Academy welcomes France as the Guest Nation and will introduce the International and Specialty Presidents and recognize industry partners for their support over the past year.

On Thursday, March 13, the Ceremonial Meeting will feature the presentation of the Diversity, Humanitarian, and Tipton Leadership awards, and Frederick M. Azar, MD, will also give the incoming presidential address. Following him will be the Presidential Guest Speakers, the journalists and commentators Steven and Cokie Roberts, known as veterans of the Washington scene.

“Steve and Cokie are consummate political analysts and are well placed to explain the politics that dominate the news and affect the lives of all Americans, including orthopaedic surgeons,” Dr. Tornetta said.

Friday’s highlights include the Orthopaedic Review Course and a recently added symposium “Healthcare Reform: How Can We Adapt?” This symposium will address issues such as the proposed alternatives to the sustainable growth rate formula, the impact of health insurance exchanges, and the leadership role orthopaedic surgeons can have under new payment strategies.

Residents holding down the fort at home and residency program directors will want to take note of a special live broadcast Friday just for residents. Residency directors will receive an email with information on how to tune it; registrations instructions will also be available on the AAOS Annual Meeting website (

On Saturday’s Specialty Day, 14 orthopaedic specialty societies will cover the latest news in their fields. The Orthopaedic Research Society invites AAOS members to stay through Sunday and participate in a variety of programs at no charge.

Bring the experience home
Finally, the full meeting experience doesn’t end in New Orleans. Afterward, look for “The Best of AAOS™,” a product that will feature the choice educational content from the 2014 meeting for viewing throughout the year.

During the meeting, approximately 60 hours of programming will be videotaped. Of this, 6 hours of base programming will be included in “The Best of AAOS.” But the product can also be individually customized to meet the needs of the purchaser.

For example, the base programming includes the following:

  • the “Best of the AAOS” symposium
  • a patient safety instructional course
  • interviews with the recipients of the Best Poster awards
  • links to enduring materials, such as the course handouts and the ePoster website

This post-meeting offering provides an outstanding education value. Purchasers of the base product can add up to 60 hours of Instructional Courses, symposia, or poster tours. Instructional Course options include the tried-and-true, such as “Ensuring a Winner: The ABCs of Total Knee Arthroplasty,” and “Management of Pelvic Fractures,” Dr. Tornetta noted, while cutting-edge symposia choices include “Hip Joint Preservation Pearls and Controversies: State of the Art 2014” and “Traumatic and Athletic Disorders of the Immature Foot and Ankle.” Poster tours given by experts such as AAOS past presidents Daniel J. Berry, MD, and Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, will also be included.

Attendance at the Annual Meeting (Tuesday through Friday) offers up to 35 CME credits, and Dr. Tornetta reminds attendees to claim their credits through the Academy transcript process.

Take all these outstanding and varied educational and professional offerings and set them in the one-of-a-kind city of New Orleans, and you are sure to treat yourself to an engaging and enjoyable experience that will help you be your very best.

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