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.

Key changes

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:

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

Knee 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


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