Today's News

Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Dr. D'Ambrosia reflects on year of accomplishment

(Ed. Note: The following is an in-terview with AAOS Presdent Robert D. D'Ambrosia, MD.)

During your term as AAOS president, you stressed the need to improve physician-patient relations. What is the Academy doing to help members in this area?

As a direct result of the 1999 spring retreat and subsequent Board actions, the Academy has moved forward in several areas to help members improve relations with their patients. A new Council on Communictions was created on the recommendation of the Public Relations Task Force headed by Terry Canale, MD, A cademy first vice president. This Council has developed a comprehensive and focused public relations program for both patients and members. Broad initiatives to evaluate alternative care and nonoperative modalities as they relate to the musculoskeletal system are planned for this year as a result of recommendations from a Task Force headed by Jim Buchholz, MD. The Academy's web site has been expanded so that each fellow can have a personal physician web site. He or she will be able to interact with their patients before and even after an initial visit. Lay members have been appointed to the Council on Communications and Council on Research with plans to have such members on all Councils and, ultimately, the Board of Directors. You will find that Terry Canale will continue to carry this initiative forward during his presidency. He is committed to it.

The Academy has been dealing with issues involving regulations, legislation, fraud and abuse, coding, and at the same time has been providing quality education opportunities and adding new services for members. Does the Academy have the financial and human resources to do everything in the future?

The public relations initiatives include web site expansion, expanding the Academy role as a repository for all pertinent musculoskeletal information, creating new educational opportunities on the web, virtual reality education plus expanding our Washington Office. With much belt-tightening, we were able to limit that budget increase to $2 million. Part of the funding of these new initiatives came from our reserves and part from a $100 annual dues. Hopefully, advertising revenues from the web will control our expenses as we expand. We do need to continue evaluating what our members want and what is most meaningful to our fellowship, especially our younger mem-bers, for the next decade. This is part of Richard Gelberman's 2005 initiative about which you will hear more in the coming year. (Dr. Gelberman is second vice president.) I do think we will have to be more circumspect with future initiatives and cancel projects that are not as meaningful.

You've been involved in expand-ing the Academy's relations with international orthopaedic societies. What is the result of that effort?

Our International Committee, under Bruce Browner's leadership, has expanded the Academy's unique educational opportunities beyond the borders of our country. We are now providing courses in concert with national meetings in other countries. The 40 percent international attendance at our Annual Meeting and the sale of Academy educational materials in all langua-ges is the result of this effort. This year, each of the national organizations will meet in Orlando to consider the concept of a world federation of orthopaedics. This will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and information among all orthopaedic associations around the world.

How important is the Bone and Joint Decade effort to the everyday practices of orthopaedic surgeons?

The Bone and Joint Decade has the potential to vastly improve the everyday practice of orthopaedic surgeons. The Bone and Joint Decade is highlighting the importance of musculoskeletal problems and how they affect "quality of life" issues and affect the "burden of disease". The attention that this designation will attract to musculoskeletal care has the potential to increase research dollars to provide even more profound advances than we have seen in the past 20 years and to increase public aware-ness of what we do, who we are and what we treat. This will substantially improve our everyday practices in the future.

What was your most important accomplishment during your term as AAOS president?

I hope that, if there is only one thing that was accomplished during my tenure, it was to impress upon the fellowship the importance and necessity of putting our patients first through improved communication, caring and understanding. Any attempt to put a human face on orthopaedics through our communication and humanitarian efforts will go a long way in determining how we practice orthopaedic surgery in the future.

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Last modified 15/March/2000 by IS