Ceremonies recognize volunteerism, leadership

By Mary Ann Porucznik

During yesterday’s Ceremonial Meeting, the efforts of volunteers—as leaders, mentors, humanitarians, and role models—were honored, and Richard F. Kyle, MD, was inducted as the 2006-2007 president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

AAOS President Richard F. Kyle, MD, outlined his goals for achieving orthopaedic unity in education, research and advocacy during his address Saturday.

Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, 2005-2006 AAOS president, opened the meeting by acknowledging the “strong volunteer leadership [that] has made the Academy one of the most respected medical organizations in the world” and introducing the Board of Directors, Council chairs and Annual Meeting leadership.

Dr. Weinstein then presented two AAOS “Academy Awards:” the Humanitarian Award to R. Richard Coughlin, MD, for his efforts on behalf of Orthopaedics Overseas, and the Diversity Award to Augustus A. White III, MD, for being a “powerful force in changing the face of orthopaedics.” (See stories in this section.)

After a short remembrance of former AAOS Executive Vice President William W. Tipton Jr., MD, Dr. Weinstein introduced William J. Robb III, MD, who chairs the Tipton Leadership Award Committee. The new award was established by the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation to honor a recognized leader dedicated to the growth of orthopaedics. Dr. Robb introduced the family of the late Dr. Tipton, and his wife Patricia Tipton presented the first Tipton Leadership Award to Richard J. Haynes, MD of Texas. (See related story in this section.)

“Together, we are one”
After Dr. Kyle was introduced as the AAOS new president, he outlined his goals for the year: To unite all aspects of the AAOS to meet the challenges of today; to prevent fragmentation within orthopaedics and encourage partnering with specialty societies; to coordinate advocacy efforts and to expand communication efforts.

Dr. Kyle described the Specialty Society Summit, held in San Francisco in 2004, which was organized to strengthen the dialogue between AAOS and the orthopaedic specialty societies. The two most important principles to come out of that summit, he said, were: “All specialty societies are equal and true partners with the Academy when we work together to educate our members, and there must be partnering in our educational efforts to eliminate duplication and competition between the AAOS and specialty societies.”

Noting that hip specialists need to understand spine problems and how pediatric issues affect the development of arthritis later in life, Dr. Kyle said, “We must continue to educate each other and have interdisciplinary interaction.”

A similar dynamic applies to advocacy efforts as well, said Dr. Kyle. To audience applause, he said: “We are advocating the importance of freedom of practice without fear of frivolous lawsuits, advocating the right to fair and just reimbursement, and advocating access to specialty care for all patients.”

Dr. Kyle pledged to work tirelessly to support the Academy’s advocacy efforts and unify all parts of the orthopaedic advocacy agenda over the next year.

In discussing the efforts of the new Council on Research, Quality Assessment and Technology, Dr. Kyle emphasized the importance of evidence-based medicine. “We must not fall into the trap of the new technology war that might deliver riskier and less effective care for our patients,” he cautioned.

As a founding member and past president of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, Dr. Kyle noted that research efforts to help the members of our military serving on active duty is an issue “near and dear to my heart.”

“By combining civilian and military efforts [in support of orthopaedic research] we not only help our soldiers but may also help civilians if, God forbid, terrorists again attack our homeland or a natural disaster occurs,” he noted.

Addressing the need for patient education, Dr. Kyle pledged “to establish the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons along with the orthopaedic specialty societies as the premier sources of information on musculoskeletal health.

“Our patients,” he said, “can be our strongest advocates.” He read a letter from one of his patients, and asked the audience to collect and tell these stories.

“We must emphasize the thousands of dollars that are saved by rapid return to work, reduction of disability, and improved quality of life. This is best done by our patients, who are our No. 1 advocates,” he said.

He closed by comparing the Academy to a ship at sail in a stormy sea. “We can weather any storm,” he said, “working together for the same goal.”

Beaty echoes education, advocacy concerns
Dr. Weinstein also introduced James H. Beaty, MD, the incoming first vice president. In his address, Dr. Beaty highlighted the current status and potential changes in the Academy’s educational activities, the importance of advocacy in resolving issues such as trauma care/on call service and the need for research on new technology to enable appropriate patient-care decisions.

The final presentation recognized Dr. Weinstein’s efforts in leading the Academy through the recent “AAOS in 2010” strategic planning process as well as his advocacy on behalf of medical liability reform as chairman of Doctors for Medical Liability Reform.

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