Fig. 1 Council on Education Governance Model - Effective March 2017. (Click here to view a full size PDF)


Published 7/1/2016
Stuart J. Fischer, MD

Changes Are Coming to the Council on Education

New governance model reflects shift to "portfolio" concept of content delivery
The AAOS Council on Education (COE) will soon undergo its first major change in governance in more than 10 years, with the implementation of a working structure that will designate new committee roles as of March 2017. The new structure will help the Academy move from a product-centered content delivery model to a new portfolio-based model that can better meet the educational needs of individual AAOS members.

Currently, the COE consists of 13 main committees and an additional 34 supporting committees, each focusing on a different anatomic area in orthopaedics. Most of these supporting committees are engaged in planning Annual Meeting programs, as well as with developing assessments and examinations in specific anatomic areas. Under the new model, the Council membership will be composed of program chairs and content committee chairs (See Fig. 1). The program chairs will be responsible for implementing Academy programs, such as online learning and publishing, assessment/exams, the Annual Meeting, The Journal of the AAOS (JAAOS), and continuing medical education (CME) courses. Two additional program chairs—the editor of the patient education website OrthoInfo and the chair of the International Committee—will also be on the Council. The content committee chairs will oversee 10 new content committees, each focused on an anatomic or specialty area.

Nimbler, faster
The goal of the new structure is to make the COE nimbler and more responsive to the needs of Academy members. As AAOS educational programs transition to online and digital formats, the new structure will enable the COE to develop content more rapidly and avoid overlap between similar projects, according to Evan Flatow, MD, COE chair. A key tenet of the structure is a closer working relationship with the specialty societies and their committees that work on education. Liaisons from each specialty society will be appointed through the Academy's Committee Appointment Program (CAP) process and will serve on corresponding content committees.

Dr. Flatow noted that the COE is evolving to embrace the "dynamic shifts" in how educational content is being delivered to AAOS members.

"We're embracing feedback from our community. We look forward to working in collaboration with the specialty societies to ensure we minimize duplication and capitalize on our collective strengths," he said. "This is an exciting time in orthopaedic education."

The new Council structure will consist of a Council chair, a chair-designee, nine program chairs, 10 content committee chairs, the second vice president of the Academy, the incoming chair of the Board of Councilors, and the Board of Specialty Societies (BOS) Education Committee chair.

Seven members—the chair, chair-designee, editor-in-chief of JAAOS, Annual Meeting chair, CME Courses chair, Assessment and Exams chair, and the chair of Online Learning and Publishing—will constitute the COE oversight group. Its role will be to provide leadership and decision making in support of education recommendations and proposals from the content committees.

The 10 content committees will be focused on the following anatomic areas:

  • foot and ankle
  • hand and wrist
  • oncology
  • shoulder and elbow
  • sports medicine
  • spine
  • trauma
  • pediatric orthopaedics
  • hip and knee
  • basic science

The role of each content committee will be to develop a multiyear plan for its specialty, including identification of content, key competencies, hot topics, and market trends that might be useful in developing and delivering relevant education across multiple delivery formats. General orthopaedic surgeons will also contribute to content development.

Content experts or subject matter experts on each content committee will come from a broad group of Academy Fellows. These will include the following:

  • representatives from the Instructional Course Committees, Central Program Committees, and Examination Assessment Committees
  • a liaison from the relevant specialty society
  • a specialty deputy editor from JAAOS
  • general orthopaedic surgeons
  • an orthopaedic resident

Some members of each content committee will be appointed through the CAP process. To ensure continuity and succession, a chair-designee will be selected to work with each content committee chair.

By including an orthopaedic resident on each content committee, the AAOS will be better able to reach out to the next generation of orthopaedic surgeons to understand their learning needs. In addition, participation by a specialty society liaison will help the Academy collaborate and communicate with orthopaedic specialty societies.

Committees realigned
Three committees that currently report to the Council—the Publications Committee, the CME Courses Committee, and the Patient Education Committee—will no longer exist under the new structure. The function of these three committees will be absorbed by the content committees. Current members will be transitioned to the content committee of their interest or specialty area.

Other committees will report to different areas outside of the Council. The Practice Management Committee has merged with the Health Care Systems Committee (HCSC) and will become part of the Council on Advocacy. A representative from the HCSC will continue to serve as a liaison to the COE. The Leadership Development Committee and the Candidate Resident and Fellow Committee will be situated under the Membership Committee.

The work of the Publications Committee will be done in the content committees, but will be supervised by a new Online Learning and Publishing chair. He or she will oversee the development of both online and print educational materials. It is expected, however, that the Academy's educational products will continue to shift from a print to a digital format. It is hoped that the new structure can not only prevent duplication of effort, but also streamline the process of writing, editing, and posting online.

Similarly, the ideas and format for new CME courses will originate in the content committees, but will be supervised by the CME Courses chair. This will enable the new committees to make recommendations about future course topics and to limit repetition and duplication of course material. The content committees will determine programs and hot topics for new courses to meet the needs of the membership. Members of content committees will work with the CME Courses chair to determine the format, location, and scheduling of new courses and to help recruit faculty.

As previously noted, although the Patient Education Committee will no longer exist as a stand-alone committee, its members will be absorbed into the various content committees, facilitating the posting of online patient education on the OrthoInfo website.

The content committees provide a new volunteer opportunity for Academy members. Each committee will have between seven and eight members selected by the CAP. New vacancies will be posted this year. Interested members are encouraged to monitor the postings and apply through the CAP page.

"The Council on Education has been deliberating on these changes for nearly 18 months," said AAOS Chief Education Officer Ellen Moore. "We have had several discussions with the BOS Education Committee and the respective representatives from the specialty societies. We look forward to working within the new governance structure of the Council to develop and deliver trusted orthopaedic knowledge and learning that members expect from the Academy."

The AAOS COE will transition to its new governance structure in March 2017.

Stuart J. Fischer, MD, is a member of the AAOS Council on Education and the AAOS Now editorial board and is editor-in-chief of OrthoInfo.