Chad A. Krueger, MD

AAOS Now

Published 8/1/2015
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Kristen Brackemyer

First Resident PAC Fellow Named

Chad A. Krueger, MD, has been selected as the first recipient of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Political Action Committee (PAC) Resident PAC Fellowship. The program, established in 2014, is designed to encourage participation of orthopaedic residents in the political efforts of the Orthopaedic PAC.

Dr. Krueger began his practice at Womack Army Medical Center in Southern Pines, N.C., in July. Originally from Wells, Maine, he is a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey. He served his orthopaedic residency at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Recently, I spoke with Dr. Krueger about his goals for the 2-year fellowship.

What led you to pursue medicine/orthopaedics?

Dr. Krueger: Ever since an anatomy lab my freshmen year of college, I knew I wanted to be an orthopaedic surgeon. I spent some time with an orthopaedic practice in college, and everyone there seemed to love what they do. I also saw the impact that those surgeons had on the lives of their patients—it seemed incredibly rewarding.

Can you tell us about your military background?

Dr. Krueger: I joined the military through the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) and have been in active duty status for the U.S. Army since the beginning of my residency. I was 20 when I signed up for the HPSP and could not have envisioned the military climate more than 10 years later. Caring for the men and women who serve our country has been an incredible experience. The lessons I have learned from my patients have been invaluable in helping me develop as a professional and as a person.

What led you to become involved in advocacy?

Dr. Krueger: I first got a taste of advocacy as an intern, when I attended a socioeconomic summit for the Texas Orthopaedic Association (TOA). There, I heard David Teuscher, MD, and Peter Mandell, MD, talk about the importance of advocacy for our profession. I had almost no knowledge of any of the points they were discussing, but it made intuitive sense so I became intrigued and decided to get more involved.

How did you first hear about the Orthopaedic PAC, and what led you to participate as a resident member?

Dr. Krueger: At that TOA meeting, Dr. Teuscher made sure we all knew what the Orthopaedic PAC was and why we should be involved. It didn’t seem wise to go against his advice.

Why is it important to get more residents involved in the PAC?

Dr. Krueger: Residents are the future of the AAOS and the Academy needs their involvement to remain strong and viable. Residency is designed to expand a resident’s experiences within orthopaedics in as many ways as possible, and advocacy involvement should be thought of in the same manner. The more residents can understand and be involved now, the more successful they will be with their efforts in the future.

Additionally, the AAOS and our patients will all benefit from increased advocacy efforts. If we want a vibrant orthopaedic surgery profession in the future, we need to get involved now. (See “Easy Steps for Advocacy Involvement as a Resident,” AAOS Now, June 2015.)

What are your goals for the fellowship?

Dr. Krueger: I have 3 main goals. First, to educate all residents about what the PAC is and what it does so that they can make informed decisions about how involved they would like to become. I believe many residents are still unaware that the PAC exists—and it is hard to be involved with an entity that you don’t know about.

My second goal is to make it easier for residents to get involved in the PAC. Most residents have almost no knowledge of advocacy and find it very intimidating. It doesn’t need to be that way. I hope I can show residents how relatively small steps taken as individuals can make a large difference for the profession.

Finally, I hope to turn around some of the preconceived notions and negative connotations associated with advocacy. There is nothing wrong with being involved—just as there is nothing right about standing passively on the sidelines.

What can orthopaedic program directors or faculty members do to help educate residents about advocacy?

Dr. Krueger: For better or worse, residents are always looking at faculty members as role models. Sometimes this takes the role of formal mentoring, other times lessons and habits are learned unconsciously. But when program directors and influential faculty members invest their time, money, or effort into a task, residents take notice. The more faculty invest, the more importance the residents associate with that task.

If program directors or faculty members want to have a positive impact on resident involvement with advocacy, the best thing they could do is be involved. Some program directors have successfully lead “PAC challenges” within their programs and matched resident contributions, others have taken residents who have shown an interest in advocacy to the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference, and a couple faculty have brought residents to local fundraisers occurring in their district. All of these activities help spur resident interest and involvement.

Even if the faculty are not directly involved, they can at least show their support by letting their residents attend a meeting or give talks on health policy topics. These small efforts go a long way in fostering a resident’s involvement in advocacy.

Kristen Brackemyer is the political affairs manager in the AAOS office of government relations. She can be reached at brackemyer@aaos.org

Chad Krueger, MD, can be reached at cak0705@gmail.com

About the Resident PAC Fellowship
The 2-year AAOS Resident PAC Fellowship seeks to foster the development of resident members interested in the political activities of the Orthopaedic PAC as well as other advocacy activities conducted by the AAOS. This fellowship offers residents the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the importance of the PAC while also applying their experience and knowledge to increasing resident engagement in the PAC. The Fellow also serves as a voting member and resident representative on the PAC Executive Committee.

The establishment of the Resident PAC Fellowship is part of the PAC’s ongoing efforts to engage orthopaedic residents in professional advocacy and their future practice life through involvement in the PAC. In 2014, 94 orthopaedic residents donated to the PAC from nearly a dozen residency programs. The following residency programs achieved 100 percent participation: University of Vermont, University of Connecticut, Columbia University, Geisinger Health System Program, Universidad de Puerto Rico, and University of Hawaii. Currently, the PAC has 128 resident members representing 35 residency programs.

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