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Saturday, March 18, 2000

Academy sets course to establish new levels of education leadership

The Academy is setting a course to establish new levels of leadership in orthopaedic surgery, Richard Gelberman, MD, AAOS first vice president, told the Business meeting March 17, 2000.

If, as some observers say, the condition of medicine, in general, is ambiguous, "the state of orthopaedics is even more uncertain, and, as a result, this Academy is feeling the winds of change more profoundly than it has in the past several decades," Dr. Gelberman said. "I am worried, worried about this Academy's ability to respond effectively to the challenges that confront us."

"An AAOS task force predicted that orthopaedic surgeons, as soon as two to three years, would question their membership in organizations and would require greater value for continued membership."

Dr. Gelberman said a research program was undertaken "which revealed that a significant percentage of the membership, consisting of our youngest fellows, do not consider the Academy as a primary source of musculoskeletal education, particularly with regard to the provision of timely online information."

Several pilot studies were initiated that focused on the Academy's development of innovative technological methods for accruing and disseminating information on a new level. One pilot study is developing just-in-time education online to allow members to access immediate information on operative procedures anywhere, anytime.

Another pilot program, called the Burden of Diseases, is intended to establish the Academy as the primary source of verifiable information on the incidence, impact, cost and outcomes of musculoskeletal care.

"Our plan calls for the research department to gather information annually on the three musculoskeletal conditions that, based on the evidence, are most important with regard to their impact on society," Dr. Gelberman said. "From those data we will develop coordinated annual programs in research and in health policy, to increase our impact with the NIH, and with other governmental agencies. And, in member education and public education, we'll in-crease our own base of knowledge and increase our patient's awareness of these conditions.

"Now we are in a massive struggle, a fight for survival, a fight to advance orthopaedic clinical care and research in the most difficult of times. The way you and I will win this battle is to have the Academy become the knowledge core of orthopaedics."

He pledged to work with the new AAOS president, S. Terry Canale, MD, "to meet the challenges that confront us and to emerge by 2005, as the organization that provides the most remarkable levels of sustained value and effectiveness anywhere to orthopaedic surgeons worldwide."

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