In an orthopaedic galaxy, noted David D. Teuscher, MD, “my personal five-pointed Lone Star is never alone.” Dr. Teuscher, who took office as AAOS president during the 2015 AAOS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas last month, identified his personal family, his extended family, his faith family, and his professional family as “the relationships that matter most” to him.
Commenting that he has been privileged to live in an “amazing place”—the house of orthopaedics—Dr. Teuscher focused on the core values of the AAOS during his address to the fellowship. These values—excellence, leadership, professionalism, collegiality, and lifelong learning—support the Academy’s mission statement: Serving our profession to provide the highest quality musculoskeletal care.
“I still marvel at the unique, everyday miracles for our patients that orthopaedists perform,” said Dr. Teuscher, who also covered several “disruptive innovations” that have transformed the practice of orthopaedics over the past century. (Dr. Teuscher’s complete address will appear in the June issue of the Journal of the AAOS.)
A history of involvement
A partner and past president of the Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute, Beaumont, Texas, Dr. Teuscher has long been active within his home state as well as in the AAOS. After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, and his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Teuscher completed his internship and residency at the Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston.
During his 13 years of military service, Dr. Teuscher was deployed to the 144th Evacuation Hospital in northern Saudi Arabia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and was the chief of surgery at Reynolds Army Community Hospital. He received the Meritorious Service Medal and Distinguished Honor Graduate Flight Surgeon Wings. He entered private practice in 1993, after 13 years of military service, ending his military career as the chief of surgery at Fort Sill, Okla.
A member of the second class of AAOS Leadership Fellows, Dr. Teuscher has long been involved in the AAOS as well as numerous other orthopaedic, medical, and education activities. He has chaired the Committee on Professional Liability and the Advocacy Resource Committee and has served on each of the three AAOS Councils (Advocacy, Education, and Research and Quality) and the Communications Cabinet. He has represented Texas on the Board of Councilors (BOC) for 6 of the past 7 years and was elected BOC chair in 2011.
A presenter, moderator, and chairman of numerous symposia and ICLs at Annual Meetings, Fall Leadership Meetings, and the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference, he has led and served on multiple ad hoc and project teams over the past decade. As second vice-president of the AAOS, Dr. Teuscher chaired the board project team that structured a strategic plan (Vision 20/20) to serve as a guide for AAOS decision-making to the year 2020.
In his home state of Texas, Dr. Teuscher is extremely active in advocacy and government services. He is a founding member of the Texas Orthopaedic Foundation, the former president of the Texas Orthopaedic Association, and a former member of the Texas Medical Association Board of Trustees, their House of Delegates, and the Texas delegation to the American Medical Association.
He has been appointed to and currently serves as the secretary of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; in addition, he serves on the Board of the State Bar of Texas. He previously served as the vice-chair of the Texas Youth Commission and as a member of the governor’s tax reform commission. He also serves as a team physician for Lamar University’s NCAA athletic teams.
Dr. Teuscher’s special practice interests include advanced arthroscopy of the knee and shoulder, sports injuries, and care of the mature athlete.
Dr. Teuscher is a great believer in the value of orthopaedics. He notes that orthopaedics is “where the sciences of biology, physics, and engineering meet the arts of communication, deductive reasoning, and shared decision-making with our patients.” To him, the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon is “the thrill of watching someone get back in the game, back to work, or simply improve or restore their mobility and independence.
“Our patients come to us on one of the worst days of their lives,” he has said, “often with fear, pain, and unable to enjoy activities. Our privilege is to use the God-given talents of our minds, hearts, and hands to restore function in those who trust us to do our very best.”
Dr. Teuscher is also a great believer in the need for orthopaedic surgeons to be involved in the political process. In his home state of Texas, he has been active in the passage of landmark medical liability reform, including passage of an amendment to the state constitution to make the reforms permanent. He was also involved in numerous successful legal challenges on scope of practice issues, and helped regulators write Workers’ Compensation rules for a rational, national-model physician fee schedule unhitched from Medicare, with an annual automatic increase for inflation.
He proudly points to the growth of the Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (PAC) during the past 10 years, noting that it is now the largest medical PAC and the 10th largest PAC overall. However, he is aware that only about 30 percent of AAOS members have made contributions to the PAC. “Will you join me in investing in the future through research, innovation, and advocacy for our patients by annually contributing to the Orthopaedic PAC and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation?” he asked during his Presidential Address.
The future for the house of orthopaedics is bright, Dr. Teuscher noted, as illustrated by the new Orthopaedic Learning Center (OLC) and orthopaedic headquarters building, which opened in December 2014 as a home for 25 orthopaedic organizations. He recognized the efforts of the Academy’s equity partners (Arthroscopy Association of North America, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, and the OLC) in creating such “tangible evidence of our commitment to enhance patient care education across the globe.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “This is how you keep our family together in the house of orthopaedics.”
Read Dr. Teuscher’s first editorial to the fellowship, “Ride for the Brand”.
Mary Ann Porucznik is managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at email@example.com