What’s in a name: COMSS becomes BOS
By Kathleen Misovic
The Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies (COMSS) began 2006 with a renewed commitment to improve unity between the AAOS and the orthopaedic specialty societies it represents, and a plan to increase the societies’ representation on all the major Academy councils and committees.
To symbolize this strengthened commitment, the AAOS Board of Directors approved changing the name of COMSS to the Board of Specialty Societies (BOS). The name change requires a bylaws amendment that will be considered during the 2007 Annual Meeting and subsequently voted on by the fellowship.
“The name change reflects the change in activity level you’ll see from the group,” said Andrew N. Pollak, MD, who will be the first chair of the reconfigured BOS (COMSS). “BOS will be involved much more in advocacy, education, research and communications within the Academy than COMSS ever was before.”
In the beginning
More than 20 years ago, the AAOS recognized the need to deal with fragmentation among general orthopaedics and its specialties. In November 1984, representatives of specialty societies established COMSS with the goals of promoting orthopaedic unity, advising the AAOS Board of Directors on specialty issues and providing a forum for discussions between the Academy and the specialty societies on issues of mutual interest.
“COMSS was formed as a tool to help the specialty societies meaningfully interact with the Academy, which can seem like an 800-pound gorilla, especially to the smaller societies,” Dr. Pollak explained.
Throughout its history, BOS (COMSS) has accomplished the goal of increasing orthopaedic unity through several venues. A major accomplishment was the creation of Specialty Day at Annual Meeting. In 1987, COMSS proposed a plan to designate one day during the AAOS Annual Meeting exclusively for specialty society meetings. The following year, 10 specialty societies met during the Annual Meeting. This year, 13 specialty societies are holding educational sessions on Specialty Day, and expect to attract a total of about 8,000 orthopaedic surgeons.
Since its creation, BOS (COMSS) has held numerous workshops and participated in many meetings on topics such as preventing medical errors, diversity in orthopaedics and educating primary care physicians in musculoskeletal care.
In 2004, COMSS started COMSS News, an electronic newsletter for specialty societies. COMSS has also provided leadership training to its members. In fact, six past chairs of COMSS have become AAOS presidents.
Despite all the improvements COMSS has brought to orthopaedics, its members and the AAOS believe there is always room for improvement, especially when orthopaedics is facing challenges such as maintenance of certification and pay-for-performance.
The COMSS reconfiguration to BOS will not alter its original goal of orthopaedic unity. But it will implement some changes to make unity even more effective. All changes will be implemented this year. Key organizational changes and enhancements that were approved by BOS (COMSS) members in October 2005 include:
• The chair of the BOS (COMSS) education committee will sit on the Central Program Committee of the AAOS Annual Meeting.
• There will be specialty society seats on the appropriate AAOS Annual Meeting subcommittees.
• Specialty societies can designate one symposium as the official society symposium. The symposium will be co-branded with the society and the AAOS logos.
• The BOS (COMSS) Executive Committee will consist of the three officers of BOS and the chairs of the three standing committees (Education, Research and Health Policy).
• BOS (COMSS) will be represented on AAOS councils by both an officer of BOS and the chair of the corresponding BOS committee. Further integration of BOS committees with AAOS committees and councils is critical to the development of BOS as a more effective tool for integrating specialists and specialty societies within the overall AAOS structure and functions.
• An organization of all of the specialty society executive direct-ors will be formed within BOS (COMSS). Rotating chairs will involve the BOS executive directors.
• Formal one-on-one meetings between officers of the AAOS and specialty societies will be integrated within the BOS (COMSS) structure. Dr. Pollak explained that the AAOS officers will meet with the officers of each specialty society during a period of two years, followed by a summit of all specialty society officers to be held every three years.
As the first chair of BOS (COMSS), Dr. Pollak said his main goals will include making sure the changes listed above are evaluated and appropriate. “I expect a lot of troubleshooting the first year,” he said.
Dr. Pollak will also work to make sure that the BOS (COMSS) Education, Research and Health Policy committees are staffed. “We should at least have the chairs in place and establish a communication link between the officers of the specialty societies and the AAOS,” he said. “We need to keep the lines of communication open so we can be sure all of the specialty societies are engaged in the Academy in the way that is most meaningful for them.”
Members of BOS (COMSS)
American Association for Hand Surgery
American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons
American Society for Surgery of the Hand
American Spinal Injury Association
Arthroscopy Association of North America
Cervical Spine Research Society Hip Society
J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society
Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society
Musculoskeletal Tumor Society
North American Spine Society
Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Association
Orthopaedic Research Society
Orthopaedic Trauma Association
Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America
Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society
Scoliosis Research Society
Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons