Alejandro K. Baar, MD

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Alejandro K. Baar, MD
Head of Pediatric Orthopaedics at Clínica Universidad de los Andes
Associate Professor of Orthopaedics, Universidad de Los Andes
Clínica Universidad de los Andes
Santiago de Chile

Why did you join AAOS?

AAOS allows surgeons to be part of the biggest orthopaedic community in the globe. The academic exchange is unlimited. You can share your experience and knowledge with doctors from every corner of the world, from different generations, which enrich your daily practice. Besides that, I’m a great reader of JAAOS, which keeps me updated in different topics that I’m not usually involved with.

How do you define success?

For me, success is not just a definition in terms of how many surgeries you perform a year, or how much money you earn, or even how many patients you receive in your office.

I think success is an arithmetical result obtained from the subtraction “Achievements - Expectations”. When you’ve got a positive number, you can consider yourself a successful person. My goal in life is to make myself, my family, and friends happy. And I´m lucky to be happy everyday both at work and at home. So, I’m tremendously successful.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Through all these years, I had the chance to meet great teachers and mentors. For instance, I learned the Ponseti method directly from the master, Prof. Ignacio V. Ponseti, during an academic visit to Iowa City when I was just a Resident.

Then, during my fellowship, I was trained by two “giants”: Dr. John Herzenberg and Dr. Dror Paley. They gave me invaluable tools (each one their own style!) for developing my career in Pediatric Orthopaedics and Limb Reconstruction.

But my biggest inspiration is undoubtedly my late teacher, mentor, surgical partner and great friend, Dr. Roberto Raimann (RIP). Since the first time we met each other, during my pediatric orthopaedic rotation, I realized I would follow in his steps. He was a strict but committed and generous teacher. As time went by, we became good friends and surgical partners. We worked together for 14 years, until he passed away a year ago, after a long disease. He was 55. I really admired his commitment to his patients, and how much dedication he gave to them even when he was in poor health. Our last surgery together was just 10 days before his passing. He never lowered his arms. When he was admitted in the ICU, and could not run his clinic, he used to ask me about each of his patients. He loved his wife and five children, but also loved his job and his patients. His memory will live forever in my heart.

How has the AAOS helped you throughout your career?

When I was a Resident, the JAAOS and ICL book were of paramount importance in my orthopaedic education. With the previous format, as a “just reviews” journal, it became my main reference to the different areas of our specialty. Today, I still love to read it because it keeps me updated in topics I am not used to. Being a Member gives me the chance to access an unlimited source of papers, videos, forum, and discussions. It makes me feel a part of a huge academic network. Having this huge resource of academic material, I usually tell my residents and fellows that there is no place for ignorance or lack of knowledge. All the information can be found in one single place, the AAOS!

What advice would you give to new members of AAOS?

As I mentioned above, AAOS gives the opportunity to expand your knowledge, create international networks, share with physicians from all around the world, keeping you updated, and being part of a huge academic community.

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

I am very outgoing, so people who know me won’t really get amazed about my “Fun facts”. But, let’s try some.

First, I have “Peter Pan syndrome”. I’ll never get older, at least in terms of my mind. I love to make jokes, tell stories, and give my patients a “5-stars experience in terms of clinical and humor experience”. Sometimes, I think of myself as a well-dressed Patch Adams. It’s so hard for me to be serious!

Another distinctive feature of mine is that I can’t keep still, neither in body or mind. I´m always in motion, mentally and/or physically. When my body is still, my mind runs 100 MPH, and vice versa. During the most critical period of the COVID-19 pandemic, I began to study Advanced Math, Physics and History. Also, I took a course oin German and wrote several papers for per-review journals and book chapters. Besides that, I had a YouTube show once a week, just for entertaining people. It was called “The Crazyrujano” (The Crazurgeon).

On the other hand, when the mind is still, my body engages in sports, including route and mountain biking, rowing and trekking.