The Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (OrthoPAC) of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons has endorsed fellow member and Alaskan orthopaedic surgeon Al Gross, MD, FAAOS, for the U.S. Senate. Dr. Gross, who is running as an independent, is a lifelong resident of the state and is the second AAOS member running for Congress in 2020, along with Tennessee Senate candidate Manny Sethi, MD, FAAOS.
“This is a historic moment for our organization and the larger orthopaedic community,” said AAOS President Kristy L. Weber, MD, FAAOS. “Never have we had two orthopaedic surgeons simultaneously running for the U.S. Senate, much less two candidates from different political parties—it speaks to the diversity and leadership of our members in striving to serve not only their patients but also their country.”
Dr. Gross has been involved in public service from a young age. His father was attorney general for Governor Jay Hammond (R-Alaska), and his mother was the first executive director of the United Fishermen of Alaska and founded the League of Women Voters Alaska. Following in their footsteps, Dr. Gross founded and served as president of the Juneau Bone and Joint Center, worked as a commercial fisherman, opened a medical practice, and now seeks to reform health care.
“I’ve watched patients struggle with the prohibitively expensive costs of care and faced numerous challenges over my 25 years of orthopaedic surgery, both as a small-business owner and as an employed physician,” said Dr. Gross. “These experiences instilled in me the toughness, resilience, and independence that I hope to bring to Washington and use to serve my fellow peers.”
Increasing access to affordable care and lowering the cost of prescription drugs are two of his top priorities when it comes to fixing health care, according to Dr. Gross. He’s also committed to achieving a more efficient, coordinated delivery system; supporting physician hospital ownership; and facilitating new business opportunities through economic growth and competition in the industry.
“Dr. Gross is in lock-step with AAOS on these and other advocacy issues,” said OrthoPAC Chair John T. Gill, MD, FAAOS. “He knows how difficult it is today for physicians to provide the highest-value care, especially in small or rural areas like the Alaskan wilderness. Most importantly, he wants to tackle these problems with innovative, bipartisan solutions and with the strength to stay above party politics for his state and the country.”
As a nonpartisan organization committed to championing musculoskeletal health issues, OrthoPAC has endorsed Dr. Gross. It will work toward building support for both candidates in the year ahead as part of its ongoing effort to increase physician representation in Congress.