When I gave my incoming presidential address last year in Orlando, I echoed the words of my residency chair, fellowship director, and mentor, who served as AAOS president in 1984. In Dr. Rockwood's view, a crucial part of building and preserving orthopaedic unity involved meeting the needs of residents and young orthopaedists.
In the decades since Dr. Rockwood's tenure as president, the Academy's leaders have continued to recognize the importance of engaging orthopaedic residents and our younger members, particularly those completing fellowships. Although much progress has been made, we continue to look for ways to get our residents, fellows, and younger members involved in the Academy.
Thus, it seems fitting that my last column as AAOS president should focus on our efforts to reach out to and support young members to ensure that our organization—and the orthopaedic profession, in general—have a bright future.
Avenues to membership
Since the 1980s, the Academy has created new membership categories—including that of the resident member—that welcome young orthopaedists into the AAOS. The resident category opened up membership to physicians enrolled in allopathic or osteopathic orthopaedic residency programs in the United States or Canada as well as physicians enrolled in postgraduate fellowship training following a U.S. or Canadian orthopaedic residency.
A decade later, the AAOS created its candidate member category, which may include graduates of U.S. or Canadian residency programs or internationally trained orthopaedic surgeons licensed and practicing in the United States or Canada. This category of membership is limited to 5 years after completion of training.
More recently, the Academy added the category of international resident member. Since 2011, physicians enrolled in an orthopaedic residency program or fellowship training outside the United States or Canada have had the opportunity to become AAOS members under this designation.
Over the years, membership in these categories has grown substantially. A wealth of benefits are available to the nearly 8,000 members who fall into these membership categories today, including (but not limited to) job placement and career development services, member pricing on products and courses, subscriptions to the Journal of the AAOS and AAOS Now, continuing medical education transcript tracking, public relations resources, and public education materials.
After joining the AAOS via one of these membership categories, young members will find many opportunities for getting involved with the Academy. Many committees have seats designated for resident members, as does the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons' Orthopaedic Political Action Committee. In addition, residents and candidate members can take part in focus groups held at venues such as the AAOS Annual Meeting on many different topics such as orthopaedists' use of social media and orthopaedic education products.
Education designed for residents
The Academy offers Board preparation and review courses and products such as the Orthopaedic Knowledge Update texts that are designed to help residents pass the Orthopaedics In-Training Examination. The AAOS also places a special emphasis on providing surgical skills courses tailored to residents at the cutting-edge Orthopaedic Learning Center Education & Conference Center at AAOS headquarters in Rosemont, Ill. The AAOS partners with orthopaedic specialty societies such as the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Hip Society, Knee Society, and Arthroscopy Association of North America to offer hands-on laboratory work and educational classroom teaching. In recent years, surgical skills courses for residents have focused on areas such as knee and shoulder arthroscopy and hip and knee arthroplasty. Some courses offer cadaver sessions to give residents the opportunity to hone new surgical skills. Hundreds of orthopaedic residents have attended these courses to learn from distinguished faculty members.
The Resident Assembly (RA) was established in 2014 to provide residents with even more opportunities to get involved with the AAOS. The RA—which reports to the Candidate, Resident and Fellow Committee (CRFC), under the Council on Education—is an advisory body whose governance structure parallels that of the AAOS. The group provides crucial input to the Academy regarding issues of importance to orthopaedic residents. In addition, the RA provides a forum that enables orthopaedic residents to embrace their roles as patient advocates and lifelong learners.
The RA is composed of resident delegates, resident members, medical students, former residents, and international members. Each residency program in the United States and Canada is encouraged to appoint a voting delegate to represent it on matters of importance to residents. The resident delegates represent their respective programs, vote on important issues, elect members-at-large, enhance communications, and acquire relevant information from and for
Seven different committees make up the RA, including executive and selection committees. Additionally, members of the RA can serve on any of the following five subject matter committees: Education, Health Policy, Practice Management, Research, and Technology.
Some of the RA's many goals include identifying and developing leaders early in their training, developing innovative ways to improve resident education, partnering with key contacts within the AAOS Board of Councilors (BOC) and Board of Specialty Societies (BOS), developing resources for medical students, and increasing resident participation in areas such as advocacy and global health initiatives.
Inaugural Resident Bowl
One of the RA's most high-profile endeavors is the Resident Bowl. The first installment of this trivia event was held during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Orlando after many months of collaboration between the CRFC and the RA Education Committee. Emceed with gusto by former AAOS President David D. Teuscher, MD, the event featured teams of residents who competed against one another by answering questions in two formats. The first four rounds were played in a multiple-choice format with a mix of questions on various topics, including orthopaedics, orthopaedic history, and general (nonorthopaedic) trivia. After each round, the lowest scoring teams were eliminated. Only two teams competed in the final round, which was conducted in a traditional quiz bowl format. Prizes and a trophy were awarded to the winning team and second place teams.
Interest in the inaugural event was significant, with residents from more than 30 programs participating. This educational and entertaining event will be held again at the 2017 Annual Meeting, with even more competitors expected to participate.
Looking to the future
The Academy's continued success depends, in large part, on its resident members' continuing involvement in AAOS activities and initiatives. It is crucial for residents to be engaged members of as many committees and other groups as possible. Residents must also continue to interface effectively with the BOC and BOS and take active roles in key events such as the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference and the AAOS Fall Meeting.
As my term as president draws to a close, it seems clearer than ever that the AAOS, as an organization, must continue to meet residents' needs. We must learn from our younger members and also offer them the tools they need to grow professionally, with the ultimate goal of helping the next generation of orthopaedists to provide the exceptional care patients have come to expect.