Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, MD, FAAOS

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Why did you join AAOS?

I have always joined all my professional organizations at all levels. I feel the dues are part of the cost of doing business. I have continued all my memberships after my retirement from clinical practice. I thought the AAOS provided great value for me as a practicing orthopaedic hand surgeon.

Do you currently volunteer with a committee? If yes, which one(s)?

I am not currently serving on an AAOS committee but was on Occupational Health for years as well as the Patient Safety committee. I also served on the ASSH council for several years. I was also a mentor for the AAOS Diversity program and a proud member of the Ruth Jackson Society. I am always interested in helping with the Advocacy program as well as mentoring surgeons from different backgrounds.

How do you define success?

Making a difference for those in my circle of influence. My patients, family, young folks that I mentor, and the citizens in my district. I have been very fortunate to have a lot of different opportunities for leadership. Everyone is a leader one way or another. 

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Dr. Hiram Polk, Chief of Surgery at the University of Louisville, singled me out as a medical student and started me down a path of leadership. He saw something that no one else did. Dr. Jim Harkess gave me a shot as the first female ortho resident at U of L and taught me some important lessons. You never know what your interactions with the next generation will yield.

What do you love most about AAOS?

The connections I have made through my engagement in the organization and the representation that AAOS provides for members, even those who are not engaged on a personal level.

What advice would you give to new members of AAOS?

Get engaged. Volunteer for a committee. You will make lifelong friends and learn how the organization works. Find a mentor in your state organization to help you along.

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

I represented Kentucky in the National Spelling Bee in 1967 (I did not win).