It is an honor and pleasure to introduce myself as the new Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (OrthoPAC) resident fellow. My name is Kevin Cronin, MD, and I am a post-graduate year-5 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Following graduation next year, I will be moving to Philadelphia for my shoulder and elbow fellowship at the Rothman Institute.
Health policy and advocacy have been passions of mine for as long as I can remember. I served on the student council in high school and represented my college in the University Senate at the University of Florida. During medical school, I listened to countless attendings talk about how medicine was changing and how the profession was under attack. I understood their concerns but never saw any action. That is when I learned the importance of advocating for our patients.
I look forward to working with you over the next two years. However, I have very big shoes to fill. I will be following in the footsteps of Jake Calcei, MD, my immediate predecessor, and Chad A. Krueger, MD, the inaugural resident fellow. Both were true leaders and are directly responsible for the exponential growth of resident PAC participation. During Dr. Krueger’s two-year fellowship term, resident awareness and participation in the OrthoPAC increased significantly—from 85 residents in 2014 to more than 300 in 2016. That growth continued under Dr. Calcei, who saw more than 400 residents from 62 programs join the OrthoPAC in 2018. We, as orthopaedic residents, have come a long way in support of our OrthoPAC—but there is more work to be done.
During my two-year fellowship, I hope to build on the accomplishments of Drs. Calcei and Krueger. Along with the PAC staff and the Office of Government Relations (OGR), I am already working on multiple projects that will directly benefit all orthopaedic residents. Later this year, we will debut the Health Policy Milestones Program, which provides a crash course on the importance of health policy and political advocacy. Those who complete the program will become resident ambassadors, which will allow for exclusive local and national advocacy opportunities. While continuing to recognize our gold residency programs—those with 100 percent resident PAC participation—we will also begin to better recognize our silver programs—those with more than 75 percent participation. More specifically, we are also exploring the feasibility of hosting local celebrations for programs who reach gold or silver status. Finally, we hope to offer alternative donation platforms for residents, such as Venmo and PayPal, to reduce the burden of joining the PAC.
Last year was record-setting for not only resident PAC participation but also the OrthoPAC as a whole. OrthoPAC Chairman John T. Gill, MD, has challenged me to recruit 500 residents to the PAC this year. Both Drs. Calcei and Krueger brought resident advocacy into uncharted territory. However, at 10 percent resident participation, we still lag significantly behind our anesthesia resident colleagues, who join their PAC at a rate of more than 25 percent. I know we can do better.
The PAC Executive Committee fully understands that we are the future of the profession, and they are interested in our ideas and feedback. My role as the resident fellow is to be the link between you and your home program and our PAC. I want to hear from you; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to know what is important to you—what we are doing well and what we could improve upon. Please do not hesitate to reach out to let me know how I can help. I look forward to a great two years with you all.
Kevin Cronin, MD