“Help Us Get Our Story Straight”

AAOS 75th Anniversary

By Carolyn Rogers

The historic foundations of orthopaedic surgery have been studied and described by numerous authors, but the “golden era” of orthopaedics — the last 75 to 100 years — has yet to be researched or analyzed in a scholarly fashion.

In commemoration of its 75th Anniversary in 2008, the AAOS has committed to documenting this untold story. The “75th Anniversary Project” — an ambitious, member-driven effort to collect information, photos and artifacts; interview members, and sort through existing historical documentation — is already underway.

Key historical and anecdotal information is being gathered through a content collection Web site. With information collected from patients, physicians, specialty and state societies, orthopaedic nurses and industry, AAOS will share the story of orthopaedics through a series of coordinated, multimedia projects including a film, historical coffee table book, historical reference book, Web site, art show, video modules, “Digital Timelines,” and permanent and traveling exhibits.

The completed project will be unveiled at the 2008 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, but you can make a vital contribution this week by visiting the 75th Anniversary booth, located directly across from the Resource Center Bookstore in Hall B.

Input needed from members, patients

Because orthopaedic history unfolds in physician offices, industry and academic research laboratories and surgical suites, the Academy is encouraging orthopaedic surgeons, state and specialty societies, orthopaedic nurses, industry members and orthopaedic patients to help document the accomplishments of the worldwide orthopaedic community. You can contribute either to the content collection Web site or to the “Digital Timelines” at www.aaos.org/75years. There, you can submit stories, thoughts on orthopaedic history and knowledge, historical artifacts, photos, seminal events or people, begin new discussions or join discussions already in progress. To add to the Digital Timelines, select the “Make this Story a Timeline Event” checkbox at the bottom of any new submission.

Patients are “vital contributors”

“Too often, when medical specialties write their histories, they focus on the technical advances and the tools that have been developed,” noted James J. Hamilton, MD, co-chair of the 75th Anniversary Project Team. “The Academy’s history is actually written — and sometimes actually embedded — in everyday people. From children who have their spinal deformities corrected to senior citizens sporting titanium joint replacements, our patients and the quality of care they’ve experienced are the only benchmarks worth measuring. Our legacy is the care that patients have received during orthopaedic treatment.”

“Patients bring a special perspective to our content collection effort,” said Robert W. Bucholz, MD, AAOS past president and co-chair of the 75th Anniversary Project Team. “Their experience as patients and observers makes them vital contributors to the Academy’s history, and we’re eager to hear their stories.”

Ask your patients to visit the site and share their orthopaedic condition, the care they’ve received, and the difference it’s made in their lives. Ask them to describe what their lives were like before their treatment, what they could or couldn’t do physically, and how the orthopaedic care they’ve received has affected their lives. Patient stories will be updated regularly, so invite your patients to visit the Web site often. Stories will be selected to be included in many of the 75th Anniversary components.

To assist orthopaedists with this endeavor, the Academy is offering its members bookmarks, posters, postcards and flyers — free of charge — to display or distribute in their offices. Call (847) 384-4036 or e-mail pemr@aaos.org to order your materials. Also contact Sandy Gordon, director, public education and media relations, by phone at (847) 384-4030 or e-mail at gordon@aaos.org if you or your patients have personal archival materials — photos, illustrations, letters and artifacts — that help to tell the story.

The AAOS 75th Anniversary is rapidly approaching. Be sure you’re a part of the celebration!

Visit the 75th Anniversary booth

Be sure to stop by the AAOS 75th Anniversary booth, located directly across from the AAOS Resource Center Bookstore in McCormick Place, Hall B. We’ll have a 75th Anniversary memento for you to take with you after you check out the 75th Anniversary Web site and cruise the “Digital Timelines.” The interactive, Flash-based timelines include seminal dates, figures and events over the past 75 years, and are represented through various means, including text, photos, audio and video. See you at the booth!

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