Cheerful introductions and reunions filled the room as attendees arrived at Tuesday’s AAOS New Member Luncheon, held to honor orthopaedic surgeons and other healthcare professionals who have joined AAOS since the AAOS 2021 Annual Meeting.
That friendly atmosphere was further heightened by the remarks from AAOS President Daniel K. Guy, MD, FAAOS; AAOS Membership Council Chair Elizabeth G. Matzkin, MD, FAAOS; and guest speaker Ronald A. Navarro, MD, FAAOS.
“AAOS allows you to connect with an entire community of peers, and that is no small thing to consider,” Dr. Guy said during the opening address. He described his own experience in forming lifelong friendships through AAOS, creating a network that expanded from just peers he trained with to include connections he had formed at AAOS meetings throughout his career. “I can’t tell you how valuable it has been for me in addressing challenges—we all have them—to gain insights and share ideas with my colleagues.”
Though powerful, community is not the only benefit of membership. Regardless of one’s specific focus in orthopaedics, “the Academy will keep you on the cutting edge of practice,” Dr. Guy promised, as he described the array of resources afforded to AAOS members. When it comes to benefitting from membership, however, he reminded attendees that the more you put in the more you get out, which he colored with the adage, “It’s not money until you spend it.”
Dr. Matzkin took the podium next and spoke about AAOS’ strategic plan and its vision of leading advancements in musculoskeletal health to enable members to provide the highest-quality of care. Noting that AAOS could not succeed without its members, she outlined its philosophy based on the pillars of experience, quality, and culture, which all aim to provide a “personalized and seamless” membership experience. She advised that new members reach out to current members to learn the value of membership, whether it be education, equality, advocacy or otherwise.
Following Dr. Matzkin’s address, Dr. Guy retook the stage to introduce the guest speaker, Dr. Navarro, a celebrated orthopaedic surgeon with 20 years of history with AAOS. Dr. Navarro first expressed his honor in being charged with the duty of welcoming new members to AAOS. He congratulated the gathered members for their efforts and accomplishments that led them to being accepted to the AAOS membership.
After expressing his profound love for orthopaedics, which he described as “the most incredible career,” he recounted his first AAOS Annual Meeting where he spotted an AAOS logo on a podium in an empty room. He took it home with him, and he has kept it for all these years (in his garage, allegedly). For Dr. Navarro, badges and pins like that AAOS logo hold value as “monikers that represent how we achieve in our life.”
From that perspective, Dr. Navarro went on to describe the various opportunities available for AAOS members to engage and lead within the organization, such as joining the Board of Councilors, the AAOS Leadership Institute (ALI), or the Political Action Committee. Dr. Navarro showed the audience the pin or logo for each of these groups, serving to represent the efforts of AAOS members that formed them.
He also laughingly recounted that, upon joining the Board of Directors—one of the most significant highlights of his career—he was compelled to ask then-president, David Halsey, MD, FAAOS, for a pin to be made for the Board. Dr. Navarro likened the breadth of the various groups and committees that members could engage with to “a radio with a lot of channels,” in that “you have to find the ones you are invested in and go to what interests you.”
For Dr. Navarro, though, education is ultimately the heart of AAOS’ mission. “[It’s] the hallmark of what we do; it’s the cornerstone. We teach, we learn, we grow together with education,” he said. Pointing to further evidence of the value of the AAOS community, Dr. Navarro lauded the ability to engage in education alongside friends and peers, which he suggests improves learning. In his words, “the Academy brings us together to learn together, and it makes the learning even better.”
Dr. Navarro assured the new members that “the Academy has your back.”
“AAOS will provide you the tools for your practice,” he said. “AAOS will provide you opportunities for growth. AAOS will provide you unforgettable experiences, and, crucially, AAOS can provide its community with ‘dear friendships.’”
Wrapping up his remarks, Dr. Navarro recommended that attendees at the Annual Meeting be specific about what they want to see, lest they spend the entire conference walking around getting distracted. He added that his best advice was to “go for it” professionally with AAOS and its opportunities.
In closing the luncheon, Dr. Matzkin offered a final warm welcome and congratulations to the new members, underscoring this year’s Annual Meeting theme of “Reaching New Heights.”
Patrick Daly is a freelance writer for AAOS Now.