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Patient Lal Ding with hand specialist Ryan Katz, MDCourtesty of CBS Baltimore


Published 8/1/2018
Jennifer M. Weiss, MD

MORE Awards Honor Excellence in Orthopaedic Reporting

Expert storytellers promote accurate and positive orthopaedic care through journalism

Earlier this summer, AAOS recognized 23 orthopaedic stories with a 2018 Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence (MORE) Award. Winners were selected for their accurate reporting of musculoskeletal health breakthroughs, treatments, common conditions, safety concerns, and injury-prevention efforts. Those honored included writers, producers, and freelance journalists from print, broadcast, and online media outlets.

As a member of the Communications Cabinet, I reviewed the 2018 MORE Award entries, many of which made me incredibly proud to practice orthopaedics. Through the MORE Awards program, Academy members and communications staff continue to build relationships with journalists and help identify future story ideas.

Our members help patients regain mobility by providing them with high-quality orthopaedic care that enables them to get back to doing what they love. Several MORE Award–winning stories are a great reminder of that. They not only inspire patients to fight for their mobility but also educate the public about the latest bone and joint health treatments available, and most importantly, the content provides them with expert, authoritative advice on preventing various orthopaedic-related injuries and conditions.

Michael Brice-Saddler was honored for his article in The Washington Post about Camp Open Arms, along with a complementing two-part series by Alanna Delfino and Kathleen Cairns that aired on FOX News Baltimore. The stories featured pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Joshua Abzug, MD, of the University of Maryland Medical Center, who created a three-day camp for children with debilitating orthopaedic conditions, including limb abnormalities. The camp provides the children a safe space to engage in physical activities that build their confidence along with others who have similar musculoskeletal health challenges.

With the United States in the midst of an opioid epidemic, I was encouraged by a Fox News Chicago story that highlighted the efforts of Ritesh Shah, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon in Morton Grove, Ill., who endeavors to find ways to perform orthopaedic surgery with little to no narcotics. The winning story featured patient Greg Dytko, who ran two miles six weeks after undergoing hip replacement surgery. Dr. Shah stressed the importance of getting patients moving as soon as possible after surgery. “If we can get patients off narcotics quickly or help them minimize or eliminate their use altogether, they can get back to living a healthy life and being productive members of our society,” he explained.

Jessica Kartalija and Miranda Stepp were honored for their report on CBS Baltimore about 8-year-old Lal Ding, who received a new, functioning hand and arm using a bone, joint, and growth plate from his foot. Lal was born with a radial club hand, a genetic condition that also left him without a thumb.

The creator of the procedure, Simo Vilkki, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon, traveled from Finland to Baltimore to work with hand specialists James Higgins, MD, and Ryan Katz, MD, of the Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, to perform Lal’s surgery.

The 2019 MORE Awards competition is now open for entries. Members are encouraged to nominate bone and joint health news stories by emailing media@aaos.org. To qualify, entries must be published between Oct. 1, 2017, and Oct. 1, 2018.

For more information about the MORE Awards or to explore other ideas for relationship-building with journalists, email Kelly King Johnson at king@aaos.org. AAOS considers the media to be its partner in disseminating accurate musculoskeletal health information to the public and patients.

Jennifer M. Weiss, MD, is chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet.

2018 MORE Award winners by category