The AAOS Office of Government Relations (OGR) recently wrapped up the inaugural year of its Resident Advocacy Fellowship program. Launched in early 2018, the one-year fellowship is designed to encourage orthopaedic residents to participate in the national health policy arena and ultimately become lifelong advocates of the profession.
“The fellowship is an unprecedented opportunity for residents to learn firsthand about the importance of advocacy in orthopaedic life,” explained Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, director of the program. “It provides an up-close, in-person opportunity to be immersed in AAOS advocacy efforts with the OGR team and key AAOS volunteer members.”
The 2018 fellows were Chris Anthony, MD, and Ryan Eggers, MD. Dr. Anthony explored the availability of tests and interventions commonly performed by orthopaedic surgeons, variability in their prices, and quality of related data. Dr. Eggers had three projects: contributing to AAOS comments on Stark law reform, working to create a resident-focused curriculum with the Health Policy Committee of the Resident Assembly, and increasing resident involvement in the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference.
“We were really impressed with our first fellows and [were] optimistic about finding new candidates of the same caliber and enthusiasm,” said Dr. Weinstein. “The selection process ended up being quite difficult, with so many excellent applicants, but we’re proud to introduce two outstanding individuals for the upcoming year.”
Matthew Conti, MD, and Megan R. Wolf, MD, will serve as the 2019 Resident Advocacy Fellows, and the OGR team looks forward to working with them in the weeks and months to come.
Matthew Conti, MD
Matthew Conti, MD, is a postgraduate year-3 resident at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. He received a B.A. degree in economics/premedical studies from the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated summa cum laude, and spent a year at Oxford University in England. While he was a medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College, he was chosen as a Hermann Biggs Health Policy Fellow and elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Dr. Conti also was awarded the 2014 American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) J. Leonard Goldner Award for his work in clinical outcomes following reconstruction of adult-acquired flatfoot deformity.
Dr. Conti has continued his research while a resident at HSS. He received an Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) grant and several HSS surgeon-in-chief grants for a research project focusing on adolescent idiopathic flatfoot deformity. Dr. Conti was chosen as a 2018 AOFAS Resident Scholar and is a member of the AOFAS Young Physicians Committee. He is the founder of Our Hearts to Your Soles, a nonprofit organization that has provided free shoes and footcare to more than 40,000 U.S. homeless men and women for the past 14 years.
“The opportunity to provide care to the less fortunate sparked my interest in healthcare policy and how healthcare resources are allocated to patients in the United States,” said Dr. Conti. “The most significant challenge facing the U.S. healthcare system remains confronting the rising cost of medical care, while simultaneously delivering personalized, high-quality care to individual patients.”
Megan R. Wolf, MD
Megan R. Wolf, MD, is an orthopaedic surgery resident at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences, with a research focus in strength and conditioning, from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Wolf received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPMC), where she spent a research year focused on anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with Freddie H. Fu, MD, chair of orthopaedic surgery at UPMC. She was the Neag Research Resident between her second and third years of residency and was awarded the OREF Resident Clinician Scientist Training Grant for her research in bursal stem cells for rotator cuff repair.
Dr. Wolf has been an active participant in the AAOS Resident Assembly for three years and is finishing her second year as chair of the Research Committee. She also is a resident board member of the Connecticut Orthopaedic Society.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Wolf participates in USA Volleyball indoor competitions, as well as sand and grass tournaments. She was a member of the University of Connecticut women’s club volleyball team, receiving the New England Women’s Volleyball Club League all-star award for three years.
“My desire to enact change in policy began during some of these early athletic experiences, including advocating for equality in women’s sports funding,” said Dr. Wolf. She believes that healthcare delivery to the underserved is one of the most difficult policy challenges and that education is key to preventing disease and empowering the general population.
Kristen Coultas is the communications manager in the AAOS OGR.