David A. Halsey, MD


Published 2/1/2019
David A. Halsey, MD

2018: Academy Delivers on ‘Form Follows Function’ Promise

When I stood in front of the membership during the AAOS 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans and outlined the Board of Directors’ goals for the year ahead, I had complete confidence that the combination of strong leadership, dedicated member volunteers, and talented staff would fulfill the Board’s aggressive agenda. And I was correct.

To help illustrate my point at that time, I compared the biomechanical principle of Wolff’s law to how the Academy would respond to the various disruptive changes affecting orthopaedic medicine. The principle that a bone will adapt to the loads under which it is placed embodies the notion that form follows function. That’s exactly what is happening within the Academy. We are purposefully adapting to disruptive forces to help members grow professionally and provide the best possible care for their patients.

The Board’s most pressing priorities in 2018 included:

  1. building new, more effective models for governance and strategy
  2. managing orthopaedic tribalism through partnerships
  3. enhancing the Academy’s member benefits
  4. supporting advocacy through research and quality

Governance and strategy

The Board spent a significant amount of time and energy reflecting on its governance structure and approaches to strategic thinking and planning. The Board adopted its first set of Governance Principles in September 2018 to support a more nimble, decisive, and results-oriented organization. From a strategic planning perspective, incoming president Kristy L. Weber, MD, will continue to roll out the new AAOS 2019–2023 Strategic Plan on Thursday, March 14, during Your Academy at the Annual Meeting. More detailed information about both initiatives will be highlighted in upcoming issues of AAOS Now and The Annual Meeting Daily Edition of AAOS Now.


The orthopaedics space is more diverse than ever, with many subspecialty and geographical societies, each with its own mission, striving to further expand their niches. Rather than pursuing dominance, the Academy supports a competitive and collaborative environment. In response, the Academy embarked on a year-long, multiphase initiative that focused on the Academy’s current partnerships, mainly with the Board of Specialty Societies (BOS), which includes 23 orthopaedic subspecialty societies.

The initiative resulted in defined principles and frameworks that will lead to a stronger orthopaedic community where the Academy and the subspecialty societies will expand member value by providing more relevant products and services.

In addition to the progress made with the BOS, the Academy improved its relationships with other orthopaedic organizations through state, regional, and international interactions. Together, we play critical roles in orthopaedics, and the Academy is committed to collaborating with others to support members and the orthopaedic profession as a whole.

It is important to note that the successes related to the partnership initiatives do not fall solely on the Academy. I want to thank the volunteer leaders who embraced this collaborative approach to coexistence. In the long term, our collective members will benefit. We are stronger together.

Member benefits

The proliferation of educational offerings from other societies and commercial providers has forced the Academy to reevaluate its own portfolio of member benefits. To this end, the Academy committed to strengthening its position as the online hub where members can access their educational activities. Some of the Academy’s new and/or recently expanded benefits include:

  • New
    • Hundreds of surgical technique modules across all orthopaedic specialties available at learn.aaos.org
    • Print and online access to the Journal of the AAOS (JAAOS)—now publishing 24 issues annually—as well as access to open access journal JAAOS Global Research and Reviews
    • Dozens of AAOS clinical and JAAOS+ webinars annually available at aaos.org/courses
  • Expanded
    • The Orthopaedic Video Theater introduced an enhanced video platform that offers a personalized experience with videos recommended based on the user’s work and areas of interest. The expanded video library, available at video.aaos.org, delivers trusted, relevant surgical videos, many with free continuing medical education (CME) credits, from globally renowned experts across the orthopaedic landscape.
    • Access to the newly redesigned OrthoInfo website (orthoinfo.aaos.org), as well as new customizable patient education resources
    • AAOS Career Center services, including an online job search, fellowship listings, CV reviews, new tools for interview preparation, and other resources
    • Quality and patient safety resources, including new toolkits

The Academy’s member benefits are quite extensive and are becoming more personalized for members at various career stages. Visit www.aaos.org/MemberBenefits for more information.

With respect to advocating on behalf of the orthopaedic community through research and quality, 2018 was a very busy year for the Academy, especially for its registry program. The American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR) now contains more than 1.5 million procedures from more than 1,200 sites representing more than 10,700 surgeons, establishing it as the largest orthopaedic registry by annual procedure count. In addition, the AJRR 2018 Annual Report reflected data from more than 50 survivorship curves developed with the integration of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services claims data and AJRR data.

The role of registries in general, and AJRR in particular, gained further official recognition in September 2018 with the announcement that The Joint Commission would implement a new advanced certification provision for total hip and knee replacement (THKR), requiring hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to participate in a national registry to further standardize care and improve quality. AJRR will become the sole pathway for meeting The Joint Commission’s THKR advanced certification registry participation requirement, effective July 1.

In October 2018, the Academy launched the Shoulder & Elbow Registry (SER), overseen by the SER Steering Committee, which has representation from the Arthroscopy Association of North America, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and the public. SER collects data on shoulder arthroplasty procedures. Later this year, it will expand to capture data on rotator cuff repairs and elbow arthroplasty procedures.

David A. Halsey, MD
Research and quality

The Academy’s registry program also initiated, in collaboration with the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, a musculoskeletal tumor registry pilot for data covering procedures in orthopaedic oncology. The year-long effort involves six pilot sites at major U.S. academic centers, with the goal to ensure the feasibility of data collection for this complex, diagnosis-based registry.

In December 2018, new surgeon dashboards became available on the AAOS RegistryInsights™ platform. Surgeons whose institutions are participating in the registry can gain more individual data insights through this new feature, as well as use the data for reporting to quality improvement initiatives, payer incentive programs, and performance measurement activities. AAOS registry program participation has been approved by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery for use in its Maintenance of Certification program. Information about claiming this credit will be released this year.

The list of accomplishments goes on, and I encourage you to read the article “Registry Round-up: A Look Back at a Very Good Year,” published in the December 2018 issue of AAOS Now, for more details.

From a broader advocacy perspective, the Academy’s Office of Government relations also was very successful. The AAOS-led Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act became law in October 2018 after more than five years of tireless advocacy. AAOS also secured access to Medicare claims data for registry needs and unprecedented guidance regarding the removal of total knee arthroplasty from the Medicare inpatient-only list. These and other advocacy wins were supported by the success and influence of the Orthopaedic Political Action Committee, which raised a historic $4 million for the 2018 election cycle and is celebrating its 20th birthday in February.

AAOS 2019 Annual Meeting

Although looking back is exciting, it is with great anticipation that I encourage all members to attend the AAOS 2019 Annual Meeting. From March 12–16, the Academy and the Venetian/Sands Expo will host the largest gathering of orthopaedic surgeons in the world.

Attend and enjoy a balanced mix of classic offerings and new opportunities, including:

  • 1,000+ posters keeping you on the forefront of cutting-edge research globally
  • 800+ expert faculty presenting the highest-quality information about new and hot topics
  • 650+ industry exhibits providing resources and solutions to address your toughest cases
  • 230+ instructional course lectures exposing you to in-depth learning that is vital to your ongoing success in practice
  • up to 33 CME credits enabling you to meet credentialing requirements
  • 30+ case presentations engaging you in discussions of complex cases with peers and experts
  • 25 symposia giving you balanced perspectives on the most relevant topics in orthopaedics
  • 10+ technical skills courses empowering you to focus on positioning, approach, and technical tips
  • Specialty Day, offered by 14 subspecialty societies, featuring the latest updates in each field

I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I hope that you join me in Las Vegas for what will be a very memorable event. For more information and to register, visit www.aaos.org/annual.

2019 and incoming president Dr. Weber

And to continue looking ahead, the Annual Meeting will not serve as a culmination of an ambitious point in time for the Academy. Instead, it will serve as a milestone of the Academy’s current, feverish pace, one which I do not see tempering anytime soon, especially with Dr. Weber taking the helm as president at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting.

I could not ask for a more professional, thoughtful, and inspiring successor. Dr. Weber is a proven leader and exceptional strategic thinker. She has served in a variety of leadership positions not just within the Academy but also within the American Orthopaedic Association and the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society, to name a few. She, with the support of incoming First Vice-president Joseph A. Bosco III, MD, and soon-to-be-elected incoming Second Vice- president Daniel K. Guy, MD, will undoubtedly build from our recent successes, ensuring the Academy’s sustainability and relevance for many years to come.

Furthermore, it is of great importance to note that Dr. Weber will be the Academy’s first female president—something long overdue. She’s a natural role model who has inspired many, and as she ascends to her new position within the Academy, she will inspire many more. She will help—both directly and indirectly—the orthopaedic profession embrace diversity and welcome many new physicians, celebrating different genders, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and more. The world is diverse, and so are our patients. It is important that orthopaedic surgeons equally represent those with whom they serve.

I consider the Academy fortunate to have a leader such as Dr. Weber. I wish her—and the Academy’s members—a very positive, enriching, and rewarding 2019!

And with the final line of my last president’s message, I want to thank the 2018 Board, as well as the entire fellowship for supporting the Academy and making my time as president rewarding well beyond what words can describe.

President’s Symposium at AAOS 2019 Annual Meeting to address disaster preparedness
Symposium T – Disaster Preparedness, a special symposium by AAOS President David A. Halsey, MD, will enhance awareness of domestic disaster occurrences and provide education on best preparedness practices. Discussions, moderated by James R. Ficke, MD, and David C. Teague, MD, also will cover methods to influence local, regional, and national policy. For more information, visit www.aaos.org/annualmeeting.

David A. Halsey, MD, a general orthopaedic surgeon with a subspecialty interest in hip and knee arthroplasty, is president of the Academy 2018–2019.


  1. AAOS Now: Registry Round-up: A Look Back at a Very Good Year. Available at: https://www.aaos.org/AAOSNow/2018/Dec/Research/research01/. Accessed January 22, 2019.
  2. AAOS Now: There Is No Room for Partisanship in Orthopaedics. Available at: https://www.aaos.org/AAOSNow/2018/Dec/YourAAOS/youraaos01/. Accessed January 22, 2019.
  3. AAOS Now: Board of Directors’ Thoughtful, Strategic Approach Bolsters Member Value Proposition. Available at: https://www.aaos.org/AAOSNow/2018/Aug/YourAAOS/youraaos01/. Accessed January 22, 2019.