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Created as a resource for physicians and patients, a new, online virtual park features different stations with patient-friendly educational materials focused on bone and joint health.

AAOS Now

Published 2/1/2017
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Alan S. Hilibrand, MD

Keeping A Nation in Motion®, One Community at a Time

Campaign unveils new patient education resources
Each year, orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals gather at the AAOS Annual Meeting because it is a tremendous opportunity for learning and networking. Since 2000, it has also been an opportunity for attendees to give back to the communities and patients they serve.

AAOS volunteers have proudly helped build 17 Safe and Accessible Playgrounds in eight different cities, creating safer places where kids with and without disabilities can play together. These events have helped promote orthopaedic surgeons as caring and compassionate physicians who are focused on preventing as well as treating injuries.

This year, the AAOS Board of Directors challenged the Communications Cabinet to develop a smaller-scale community event that, in addition to positioning orthopaedic surgeons as the experts in bone and joint health, also fosters orthopaedic surgeon-community interaction. In response, an advisory group of orthopaedic surgeons from the Communications Cabinet, the Leadership Fellows Program, and San Diego—the 2017 host city—worked diligently to shape a new program called "Communities in Motion." The initiative, which is an extension of the Academy's A Nation in Motion® public awareness campaign, is our opportunity to empower children and families to take control of their bone and joint health. Our goal is to show that people of all ages and abilities can have fun and exercise together to build stronger bones.

The Communications Cabinet continues to position orthopaedic surgeons as the leaders in bone and joint health and to educate the public about the importance of building strength, greater flexibility, and balance. We know that one in five children in the country has obesity, and that 80 percent of those children will remain obese into adulthood. We also know that obesity greatly affects the musculoskeletal system and can lead to soft-tissue damage and osteoarthritis, among other life-long health conditions. It's our role as orthopaedic surgeons, therefore, to encourage our patients to get up, get out, and get moving to enhance their bone and joint health.

A digital resource for physicians and patients
"Communities in Motion" has two primary components: an online resource and an in-person community event. The online resource, ANationInMotion.org/Communities, will house a virtual park with stations for different patient-friendly bone and joint health educational materials. We've collaborated with OrthoInfo.org to produce animated graphics that illustrate how to perform exercises to strengthen different parts of the body for optimal bone and joint health. You can preview this new resource during the 2017 Annual Meeting at the 3D replica of the virtual park in the Ballroom 6 Lobby, Level 2, outside the Sails Pavilion at the San Diego Convention Center.

The "Communities in Motion" in-person event will be held on Tuesday, March 14, at the site of the 2011 Family Fitness and Fun Park. It is a very different model than the traditional playground build program and, if the pilot proves successful, we hope to host similar events at future Annual Meetings.

Designed to bring the online resource to life, the event will feature interactive challenge stations that highlight specific body regions. Instead of just telling people what they could do to prevent injuries and improve their bone and joint health, it will be an opportunity for orthopaedic surgeons to show people of all ages and various ability levels how to have fun and exercise together to build strong bones for life. Community members will leave with bone and joint health-focused takeaways to keep and use after the event.

A great deal of work has gone into developing "Communities in Motion" and we look forward to unveiling these new resources at the 2017 AAOS Annual Meeting. To support "Communities in Motion" with a financial donation or to share an idea about how to promote bone and joint health and injury prevention, please contact Melissa Leeb, director of AAOS public relations, at leeb@aaos.org, or  me at ahilibrand@gmail.com

Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet.