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AAOS, Chinese, and other international faculty after the 2014 AAOS-COA-Chinese Shoulder and Elbow Society Shoulder Course.
Courtesy of Chinese Orthopaedic Association

AAOS Now

Published 1/1/2015
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Amanda Decker

Guest Nation China, AAOS Share “Growing Friendship”

At the 2015 AAOS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, China will be honored as the Guest Nation. The People’s Republic of China, as it is officially known, is the world’s most populous country, with more than 1.3 billion people. Similarly, the Chinese Orthopaedic Association (COA), is the world’s largest orthopaedic association, with more than 30,000 members. But that figure is dwarfed by the total number of orthopaedic surgeons in China—130,000.

The COA is one of the specialty societies under Chinese Medical Association, and was established in 1980. Today, it is the largest orthopaedic society in China, with more than 10 subspecialty societies, including Joint Surgery, Orthopaedic Research, Spine Surgery, Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, Bone Tumor, Arthroscopy, Foot and Ankle Surgery, Osteoporosis, Trauma, Minimally Invasive Surgery, and Nursing.

Aiming at promoting scientific exchange, providing orthopaedic education, and improving the orthopaedic health service level, the COA has published its official journal, The Chinese Journal of Orthopedics, since 1981. The COA annual national meeting attracts thousands of attendees, and participation has increased steadily over the past 5 years.

“The AAOS and COA have a growing friendship, and we look forward to strengthening this partnership in the years to come,” said William B. Stetson, MD, chair of the AAOS International Committee. “The Academy has participated in the COA annual congresses and conducted several cooperative education programs with the COA. We are delighted to welcome China to Las Vegas as the 2015 Guest Nation.”

Currently, the AAOS has 34 international affiliate members from China, and more than 100 people from China attend the AAOS Annual Meeting every year.

“If we look forward, I believe China will be a great friend and partner with the United States,” said Wei Tian, MD, PhD, COA president. “The Chinese orthopaedics benefits from the development of the world orthopaedics and will also contribute to the improvement of the world orthopaedics. We are looking forward to strengthening the exchange and cooperation between orthopaedic surgeons of China and the United States.”

Health care in China
In addition to being the world’s most populous country, China is also the world’s third-largest country in area (nearly 3.75 million square miles), and the world’s second-largest economy (behind the United States).

Life expectancy at birth is 75 years, and health care is overseen by the Ministry of Health, together with its counterparts in the provincial health bureaus. Since the early 1950s, Chinese health policy has emphasized public health and preventive medicine. Today, nearly 95 percent of the population has basic health insurance coverage.

One of the pressing healthcare challenges in China is that patients are required to pay for devices and implants, which makes access difficult for some. However, as the Chinese middle class expands, it is anticipated that more people will be able to seek orthopaedic care.

The quality of orthopaedic care in China is high, and orthopaedic surgeons in China are highly motivated. Not only do they want to learn from their western counterparts, they are also breaking new ground with their own innovative scientific studies.

Recently, the AAOS participated in a comprehensive shoulder program held during the COA Congress in Beijing, Nov. 20–23, 2014. Four AAOS members participated as faculty in this program, held in partnership with the COA and the Chinese Shoulder and Elbow Society. More than 300 participants attended the full-day program.

Although it was just established in 2008, the Chinese Shoulder and Elbow Society is growing rapidly. According to Chunyan Jiang, MD, the society’s secretary-general, “The cooperation and communication between the AAOS and the COA will definitely be a great benefit for us to grow strong. We are really looking forward to a more extensive exchange and cooperation in the future.”

Special events
During the 2015 Annual Meeting Opening Ceremony, Professor Wei Tian will speak. In addition, special guided poster tours will be presented in Chinese.

Established in 2005, the AAOS Guest Nation Program recognizes the contributions and achievements of the global orthopaedic community. Each year, during the AAOS Annual Meeting, a series of activities focuses on the achievements of the guest nation, as well as the issues confronting the practice of orthopaedics and patient care in that country.

Amanda Decker is manager, International Programs, AAOS international Dept. She can be reached at decker@aaos.org

Did you know…?

  • The Great Wall of China is the largest man-made structure in the world, stretching an incredible 5,500 miles.
  • Nearly half of the population of China resides in urban areas.
  • The lunar Chinese calendar dates back to 2600 BC and is the oldest known calendar.
  • The Chinese invented paper, kites, ice cream, the crossbow, noodles, the compass, gunpowder, suspension bridges, and printing; they were also first to identify the existence of the circulatory system.
  • Red is a lucky color in China; white is a color of mourning.