Alexus M. Cooper, MD
Orthopaedic Surgery Resident, PGY-2
Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Why did you join AAOS?
After attending the Annual AAOS Meeting in 2019 as a medical student with aspirations to pursue orthopaedic surgery, I was able to experience firsthand the wealth of knowledge, new ideas, and life experiences exchanged among members during the meeting. As a result, I developed an appreciation for the networking and mentorship that can be gained with involvement in the AAOS and became a member in 2020. As a member of the AAOS, I have been able to tap into incredible resources for residents including the Orthopaedic Video Theater, and Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
How do you define success?
For me, success has never been about a destination or an end-result, but the character-shaping learning experiences encountered along the way. Introspection, seeking out feedback, and adjusting accordingly during challenging experiences has almost always contributed favorably towards my personal development. Having the ability to practice intentional self-reflection and seek growth when faced with adversity is what, for me, defines success.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My parents have always been my biggest inspiration in life and have encouraged me to be fearless when taking on a new venture. After ascending the tourism industry to become a Vice President without a college degree, my mother has always been a role model for me when it comes to persevering and working hard to create opportunities for growth and career development.
My father (another influential figure in my life) retired from his career as a Pharmacist to become an entrepreneur and founded his own commercial landscaping and contracting company which serves the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Having grown up in the city, he had no prior experience with agriculture, landscape design, and hardscaping. 20 years later, our family business has grown tremendously and been able to collaborate with the Philadelphia Art Museum, Flower Show, and Horticultural Society on numerous projects to improve greenspaces across the city and increase job opportunities for local citizens. His willingness to pursue an opportunity outside of his comfort zone, and stick with it, has encouraged me to keep an open mind, be curious, stay focused and be multidimensional.
Both of my parents, who are now colleagues working for my family’s business continue to be examples in my life of what it means to put your head down, work hard, and uplift others along the way.
What do you love most about AAOS?
One thing I did not realize early on is how many resources the AAOS has available for Residents. One of my favorite resources is the AAOS Res Study program. This is an incredible platform for studying and exam preparation. As I prepare to take the OITE this November, I have used this resource to review questions from previous years, reinforce concepts, and expand my knowledge base. I look forward to seeing an expansion of the resident education resources with the Resident Orthopaedic Core Knowledge program currently in development.
What advice would you give to new members of AAOS?
Though we have been limited by restrictions during the COVID-19 Pandemic, I would encourage Resident members of the AAOS to attend the Annual AAOS Conference and additional affiliate meetings which happen throughout the year as often as they can. Attending conferences has afforded me an opportunity to network and interact with faculty from various institutions across the country. The expert panel discussions and Instructional Course Lectures I have previously attended have given me a clearer understanding of the evaluation and management of orthopaedic conditions and issues faced by our specialty.
Additionally, these sessions always generate informative discussions that have broadened my perspective regarding complex issues in orthopaedic surgery. These outlets encourage the open-mindedness and innovation needed to make advancements in patient care and clinical practice.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that not many people know?
During medical school, I competed in a field goal competition sponsored by the Philadelphia Eagles at their practice facility. I had spent my entire childhood and teenage years playing soccer year-round and had no field goal kicking experience up until weeks before the competition. I figured it would be like a corner kick and decided to give it a shot. I ended up placing as a runner-up and winning field passes to some of their home games. As a life-long fan, it was an awesome experience and I now know that I can kick a 40-yard field goal if the opportunity ever presents itself again!