Robert M. Orfaly, MD, MBA, FAAOS


Published 2/15/2022
Robert M. Orfaly, MD, MBA, FAAOS

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Board of Councilors

From improving AAOS governance to keeping orthopaedic surgeons off the menu

I always look forward to the AAOS Annual Meeting with anticipation of a great event. Learning about new advances in the field, gaining perspectives from recognized leaders, and reconnecting with friends and colleagues will make the upcoming meeting in Chicago a valuable experience for all who attend.

This year, there will be one additional celebration that is near and dear to my heart: The AAOS Board of Councilors (BOC) will celebrate its 50th anniversary of providing advocacy and support of our Academy and our profession.

As current BOC chair, Wayne Johnson, MD, FAAOS, FACS, states, “The AAOS Board of Councilors are excited for the opportunity to celebrate 50 years of excellence. We embrace our role as representatives of our states, regions, Canada, U.S. territories, and the military. As the conscience and voice of our members to AAOS, we recognize the importance of leading to serve, communication, advocacy, and education.”

Readers will appreciate the article in our January 2022 issue in which Matthew DiCaprio, MD, FAAOS, looked back at the BOC’s history and how its evolution has been intertwined with the development of Academy governance. Over the years, councilors have played a prominent role in shaping the discussion about critical issues such as musculoskeletal scope of practice, clinical practice guidelines, regulatory burdens, and physician autonomy in choice of practice setting and medical decision-making with our patients.

Several years ago, issues regarding professionalism gave rise to a new AAOS program and committee structure. Grassroots concerns over the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery recertification process prompted the BOC to champion reforms that eventually led to the alternative Web-based Longitudinal Assessment pathway.

Political advocacy has been a prominent part of the BOC since its inception. Sharing of knowledge and coordination of legislative lobbying activity at the state and national level is critical to ensure the continued excellence of musculoskeletal care and the BOC has been instrumental in facilitating communication between surgeons from every corner of the country. Past BOC chair and AAOS past-president John Tongue, MD, FAAOS, was fond of the expression, “If you are not at the table, you will be on the menu.” Our councilors work tirelessly on behalf of all members to keep you off the menu.

The BOC plays a critical role in amplifying the voices of the AAOS Fellowship and providing a diversity of thought, experience, and perspective to critical decisions. Each councilor is responsible for providing effective bidirectional communication between the “grassroots” and leadership.

As Dr. Johnson explains, “Councilors need to know what issues keep members up at night, so that we can communicate your concerns to the Academy and policymakers, advocate on your behalf, and deliver effective solutions to help you better care for your patients.”

Through advisory opinions and resolutions, the BOC alerts leadership of important issues and recommended solutions. Along with the Board of Specialty Societies, the BOC provides critical representation directly to the Board of Directors to ensure that the broadest range of member needs are effectively addressed. It is also important to note that, similar to a parliamentary system, the leaders of the BOC are not appointed but rather are directly elected by a vote of their peers. The BOC also helped establish and works closely with the Resident Assembly to ensure that the next generation of orthopaedic surgeons remain engaged throughout their careers and energized to contribute to our Academy.

Both the BOC and AAOS as a whole have undergone substantial evolution to meet the changing needs of our Fellowship and the public. The BOC will continue to provide a forum for robust debate and continuous communication that welcomes the input of all members.

We are fortunate to have more than 100 dedicated volunteers currently serving as councilors, under the leadership of Dr. Johnson, BOC Chair-elect Claudette Lajam, MD, FAAOS, and BOC Secretary Alfonso Mejia, MD, FAAOS. It is also fitting that the meeting marking the BOC’s 50th anniversary is being presided over by past-BOC chair and current AAOS president, Daniel K. Guy, MD, FAAOS.

During this year’s annual meeting, make sure to visit the BOC booth in Academy Hall and stay tuned for more articles throughout the year that touch on the various roles and accomplishments of the BOC in improving the practices of every orthopaedic surgeon.

Robert M. Orfaly, MD, MBA, FAAOS, is a professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at Oregon Health and Science University. He is also the editor-in-chief of AAOS Now.