April 2000 Bulletin

AAOS launches PSA campaign on orthopaedics

The Academy has launched a major campaign to increase the public’s awareness about orthopaedic conditions and their impact on society.

The new multimedia public service education campaign got off the ground with the construction of a playground at Magnolia School in Orlando, Fla., the day before the opening of the Annual Meeting last month, and the announcement of April as "Prevent Injuries America!" month.

The program is a result of more than a year of planning and research to determine the Academy’s messages to the public about orthopaedics. It features the nationwide distribution of public service announcements (PSAs) to increase the public’s awareness of orthopaedics, inform the public that orthopaedic surgeons are experts in injury prevention issues and position orthopaedists in their communities as physicians who care.

It’s part of a major Academy effort to communicate with the public that includes the formation of a new Council on Communications, and four new committees focused on public and media relations, injury prevention, patient education and the Internet.

Three PSAs focusing on playground safety, sports injuries and osteoporosis project a clear, sharp message that helps people understand the specialty and its concerns about preventing injuries. The PSAs provide helpful, concise safety tips and include the Academy’s name along with a toll free public service telephone number and web site address as resources for more information.

"By taking advantage of the Academy’s 501(c)(3) status, we are able to obtain millions of dollars worth of pro bono advertising space to distribute our public service messages," said Stuart. Hirsch, MD, chairman of the Council on Communications.

"Our program reflects the diversity of musculoskeletal conditions that we treat, from children’s injuries to our older patients’ degenerative problems," said John M. Purvis, MD, chairman of the Academy’s Public and Media Relations Committee.

The playground PSA headline is "What is your child getting into at the playground?" The sports PSA headline is "What’s your body’s greatest weakness?" and a third PSA asks "Will your bones live as long as you do?"

The television PSA on playground safety features the voice of Peri Gilpin, who plays Roz on NBC-TV’s "Frasier." She warns people about the dangers of unsafe equipment and provides information to parents and children about preventing injuries on the playground. The radio PSA spots, which also feature Gilpin, address the importance of exercise for better bone health. Thirty- and 60-second spots have been developed for a variety of uses by radio stations nationwide.

The PSAs for print publications have a space where the orthopaedic surgeons can imprint their practice name, address, city and state directly on the ad, and insert the "personalized" ads in their local newspapers. All of the images used in the PSAs are available in posters and post cards for display in waiting rooms, hospitals, schools and community centers.

State and specialty orthopaedic societies will participate in the PSA program, too. Many state orthopaedic societies have their names included as taglines on the televisions PSAs. Two of the PSAs have the partnership with American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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