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Humanitarian Award

The Humanitarian Award recognizes AAOS Active Fellows, Emeritus Fellows, and International members who have distinguished themselves through outstanding musculoskeletal-related humanitarian activities in the United States or abroad.

This award is presented each year at the AAOS Annual Meeting. Recipients receive a $5,000 honorarium.

Candidates for the award will be evaluated for activities that include:

  • Give of himself or herself regardless of compensation
  • Provide services without expectation of remuneration
  • Provide services to all equally, impartially, cooperatively and neutrally
  • Embrace common moral decencies such as altruism, integrity, freedom, justice, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility and compassion
  • Respect and embrace human diversity
  • Improve the lives of those in need through selfless, courageous, creative, and compassionate acts
  • Efforts to bring healthcare access to the underserved (also include humanitarian efforts organization if applicable)
  • Measurable and/or tangible impact of humanitarian activities by candidate
  • Number of patients/people impacted by candidate’s humanitarian activities

Who is Eligible?

  • Must be an AAOS Fellow, Emeritus Member or International member who has distinguished himself or herself through outstanding musculoskeletal-related humanitarian activities in the United States or abroad
  • Cannot have served on the Communications Cabinet within the three years prior to the award year
  • Must have demonstrated an exemplary and outstanding commitment to musculoskeletal-focused humanitarian activities, either domestically or abroad
  • Only one nominee may be nominated (not a joint nomination)

Who May Nominate/Sponsor?

  • Cannot be a member of the Board of Directors or the AAOS Awards Committee
  • Must be an AAOS member; Resident members are eligible to nominate candidates, as well

2022 Humanitarian Award Nomination Form

AAOS Awards Policy

David M. Atkin, MD, FAAOS, Receives 2021 AAOS Humanitarian Award

David M. Atkin, MD, FAAOS of San Francisco, California, has worked for more than 25 years with underserved communities and people in need, at home and abroad.

After completing his residency, Dr. Atkin’s first post was in In Transkei, a homeland of apartheid South Africa. This was a turning point in his life and his career.

Dr. Atkin continued his work in support of people in need overseas as director of Operation Rainbow, an organization dedicated to performing free orthopaedic surgery for indigent children and young adults in developing countries where the necessary medical procedures and supplies are unavailable.

Since its founding in 1978, Operation Rainbow has served more than 18,000 children and provided more than $85 million in aid. Dr. Atkin continues to personally support the organization by traveling overseas at least once every year. Since starting with the program, he has led more than 60 surgical missions to Central and South America, Haiti, and the Philippines. In addition to providing core pediatric orthopaedic services, Dr. Atkin has helped create 25 arthroscopy centers in different cities within host nations.

Learn more about Dr. Atkin and the 2021 Humanitarian Award.

Previous AAOS Humanitarian Award Winners

Steven J. Meyer, MD
2020 Humanitarian Award Winner

Sameer Attar, MD, FAAOS
2019 Humanitarian Award Winner

Rick D. Wilkerson, MD, FAAOS
2018 Humanitarian Award Winner

David A. Spiegel, MD, FAAOS
2017 Humanitarian Award Winner