Annual Meeting Program Committee sets sights high

Annual Meeting Program Committee sets sights high

By G. Jake Jaquet

Chair says “best orthopaedic meeting in the world” is goal

Each year, the AAOS Annual Meeting offers orthopaedic surgeons the opportunity to increase their levels of knowledge through a wide range of symposia, instructional courses, and paper presentations covering all the various orthopaedic subspecialties. This year is no exception, and those physicians attending the meeting will be able to match their areas of specialization with educational and informational sessions in fine detail, thanks to the number of offerings arranged for by the program committee.

“Our goal is to put on the best orthopaedic meeting in the world,” says Program Committee Chair Andrew H. Schmidt, MD, “one that is relevant to all attendees—whether you are a resident or an experienced surgeon, a general orthopaedist or a subspecialist, practicing in North America or in international locales.

Andrew H. Schmidt, MD

“The Annual Meeting highlights the latest techniques and technology, presents and debates the newest research, and provides a venue for industries serving the orthopaedic community to showcase a wide range of products. It is a place to be educated, to network with others, and above all, to come together to improve the science and practice of orthopaedics.”

Dr. Schmidt and the other members of the program committee have devoted hours of time and effort to ensure that an array of symposia and paper sessions for each subspecialty are scheduled throughout the program. The selection of topic presentations has been carefully coordinated with their scheduling to ensure that meeting attendees don’t have to choose between two equally attractive—but simultaneously scheduled—presentations.

Review and select

The mission of the program committee is to “solicit, evaluate and schedule the Annual Meeting scientific program consistent with the educational needs of the Academy’s Fellows and in accordance with the essential policies and standards of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, and evaluate the effectiveness and member satisfaction of the programs.” Easy to state, but a mountain of work to accomplish.

The committee faced a two-fold challenge. First, they had to thoroughly review each of the more than 4,000 submissions received. The committee then selected symposia and paper presentations to include in the program.

“Scientific papers were graded by specialty subcommittees in a blinded fashion,” explains Dr. Schmidt. “Top scoring papers were selected, followed by posters. In the end, a total of 525 papers and 541 posters were selected out of the 4,069 abstracts that were submitted.”

The committee also reviewed and discussed each symposium proposal. Dr. Schmidt points out that they kept in mind the needs of those practicing in specialty areas. “We endeavored to include at least one offering from each member society of the Board of Specialty Societies,” he says. “Those symposia will be co-branded. The program committee looks forward to continuing this partnership with interested specialty societies in the future.”

The overall high quality of all the submissions presented the toughest challenge to the committee. “The greatest difficulty,” says Dr. Schmidt, “is in turning down very good abstracts and applications that weren’t graded quite high enough to make the program.”

Ably assisting Dr. Schmidt in determining offerings for this year’s Annual Meeting were program committee members Daniel J. Berry, MD; Janet Sybil Biermann, MD; Scott D. Boden, MD; Alan L. Jones, MD; and William J. Maloney, MD. AAOS member volunteers and AAOS staff also supported the program committee with its challenging tasks.

Dr. Schmidt suggests AAOS members consider getting involved with the program committee’s work for future Annual Meetings. “I would encourage my colleagues who are interested in participating in the activities of the program committee to apply for openings in the subcommittees when they become available,” said Dr. Schmidt. “Check the committee appointments program on AAOS Web page ( for announcements of openings and application information.”

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