Kelechi Okoroha, MD

AAOS Committee(s) or Council(s) you currently volunteer with:

Social Media Ambassador Program

How long have you volunteered with AAOS?

1 year

Why did you choose orthopaedics as your specialty?

My background was shaped by valuable lessons I learned from my parents’ guidance and example. My parents emigrated from Nigeria to the United States to pursue advanced degree training, which was less accessible in their home country. I learned the value of having a strong work ethic from my father. He maintained a job throughout his undergraduate studies as well as medical school and remained at the top of his class despite the additional workload. Throughout my childhood he reinforced that becoming great in any task would require additional time and effort to improve. My mother showed me daily examples of compassion and dedication to others. She provided meaningful and inspiring work as a nurse with the hopes of providing my siblings and I the opportunity to live out our dreams. These childhood experiences led me to a career in medicine, but experiences later in life directed me toward orthopaedic sports medicine.

Playing a sport provided an outlet to enjoy competition while also allowing for the development of discipline and leadership skills. As a child I grew to love basketball and aspired to play in the NBA. The opportunities and experiences I had as a result of playing basketball are invaluable. My college coach once told me, “Never let someone expect more from you than you expect from yourself”. I embraced that lesson and applied it to all aspects of my life. During my second year of college, Hurricane Katrina interrupted the school year and I had to relocate to Houston for the remainder of the year. Rather than transfer to another institution, I returned the following semester to a demoralized city and campus. Through my involvement in several student organizations and the school’s basketball team I was able to participate in outreach efforts that helped families start to recover from the devastating hurricane. The appreciation and the gratitude we received from those we helped was overwhelming. From this experience I learned that helping others return to the normalcy of life is something I would expect from myself in a career.

My parents and coaches as well as my basketball experiences influenced me greatly and developed me into the person I am today. In choosing to become an orthopaedic surgeon, I aspired to choose a field that would allow me to restore form and function to my patients’ while allowing them to continue to do the things they love. Whether the patient is a young athlete utilizing their talents to obtain an education they could not otherwise afford or an older patient hoping to return to daily activities or recreational sports; the ability to restore these opportunities for my patients would be the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic sports surgeon.

Why do you volunteer with AAOS?

I volunteer to do whatever I can to improve our orthopedic community and field. With social media, we are trying to increase the orthopaedic presence and encourage the orthopaedic community to come together and participate collectively more often. It also is important to encourage diversity and acceptance of everyone in the orthopaedic field.

What advice would you give an AAOS member who is considering applying for an open volunteer position? 

I would encourage anyone considering it to volunteer. We need as many people as we can who are dedicated to improving our community. We are much needed, and our work will help further the field as a whole.


Interested in volunteering? Visit the Committee Appointment Program today!