Jessica Hirschhorn, MD, FAAOS

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Jessica Hirschhorn, MD, FAAOS
Board Member of COAN (a coalition of orthopaedists who send teams to Leon, Nicaragua three times a year. We teach the Residents, help with more complex cases, round on the many patients on the Ortho ward, and each visit includes a team of non-physicians to do an infrastructure project).

General Orthopaedist Co-Lead, Clubfoot Clinic
Kaiser Permanente (Mid Atlantic Kaiser Health Group) 1993-2016
Springfield, Virginia

Why did you join AAOS?

I joined AAOS early in my career to be part of a premier orthopaedic organization that offered education, support, Annual Meetings, and an ability to network with peers globally.

How do you define success?

SUCCESS has many facets. I felt successful when I helped improve a patient's life. I felt successful when I was able to sit with a family and explain how a below knee amputation had positive aspects, including possibly saving a life. I felt successful when, at the end of clubfoot treatment, we had a delightful toddler with a normal foot, who we had first seen when he was just a few days old. I felt enormously successful when we were able to teach the Nicaraguan residents how to do a simple, through the notch ACLR, without the benefit of arthroscope (which was ancient and often not working) and returning the following year to find that they had performed a number of them. And, in the end, I felt most successful when I was given the incredible honor of a patient allowing me to operate on them.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My biggest inspiration, hands down, is Lewis Zirkle, MD, who established SIGNFracturecare.ORG. He manufactures low cost long bone orthopaedic implants at his own plant in Richland, Washington. He and his team (of which I am a proud member) have taught surgeons all over the world, who have in turn implanted over 250,000 tibia and femur implants to the global poor.  

How has the AAOS helped you throughout your career?

AAOS has helped me by helping to establish the Ruth Jackson Society, where I was able to network and connect with other women orthopaedists. Additionally, the stout and very educational Annual Meeting was a tremendous boon to my learning. The online courses were great, and I was an avid reader of the "Yellow" journal. I still enjoy getting the AAOS updates and newsletters.

What advice would you give to new members of AAOS?

I would advise new members of AAOS to take advantage of the great online courses, attend the Annual Meeting as often as they can, and get the Yellow Journal in real journal form. There is something to be said to sitting in the evening and looking through it. Minimize those screens, people! You are in front of the EMR computer too much as it is. Learn physical examination without jumping to a study. Look up Abraham Verghese's great work in physical exam at Stanford.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that not many people know?

My first two years of college, at Bennington College in Vermont, I was a Modern Dance major.

Volunteer, Sunday lunch for the Homeless, Washington DC.

Cycling Ride Leader: Washington Women Outdoors, Oxon Hill Bicycle and Trail Club, Potomac Pedalers, Babes on Bikes, and The Wednesday Irregulars.

Team Captain, Freezing Saddles winter cycling competition. 

I am an avid cyclist (8,000 miles a year).

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