AAOS Bulletin - August, 2005

What cap would you like to wear?

AAOS relies on volunteer database

By Richard F. Kyle, MD

The AAOS is one of the strongest and most vibrant volunteer medical organizations in the nation. The strength of our organization is based on the spirit of volunteerism among our members and their willingness to participate in the Academy’s education, research and advocacy efforts. Currently, the AAOS is utilizing the talents of approximately 2,300 members, who contribute many volunteer hours per year, as chairs or members of seven councils (including the Board of Councilors and the Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies), 43 committees, 21 subcommittees and numerous project teams.

KEI background

As part of the “AAOS in 2005” initiative, a process known as the KEI (Knowledge, Experience and Interest) Volunteer Database was instituted to ensure that members from all parts of the organization have access to volunteer opportunities. Since its implementation, the KEI process has been refined and enhanced. It’s even become a model for other organizations that have sent representatives to learn about establishing similar volunteer systems. While the concept of the system is catching on elsewhere, the acronym KEI is not well known by our members.

As chair of the Committee on Committees, I hope to change this. Over the next few months, we will focus efforts on explaining the volunteer system and providing clear instructions on applying for vacant positions of interest. The Committee on Committees has just approved a new name for the KEI system, one that is easily recognizable and clear. From now on CAP will be used as the acronym to identify the “Committee Appointment Program” System. This acronym has the advantage of a double meaning: “Which cap would you like to wear in the AAOS?” The logo of a cap with the committee or council title will represent the CAP program.

Ensuring equitable representation

The Committee on Committees assigns volunteers to positions within the committee structure. We operate under a formal review process to help ensure equitable representation of all AAOS members on councils and committees.

All committee openings are posted on the AAOS Web site and can be accessed through the current link. The Web site will be updated to read “Committee Appointment Program” and the information will be provided to the membership. Each listing includes a detailed set of expectations: qualifications, time commitment and application deadline. Interested volunteers provide information relative to the requirements for the position. References from two AAOS fellows are required, and any experience in similar organizations should be included when completing an application.

The committee chair reviews all applications and conducts due diligence on the applicants. Although the chair may recommend an applicant for a position on the committee, the final approval is made by the Committee on Committees. This process is aimed at eliminating the “good ol’ boys network” and ensure that all volunteers have a fair opportunity to serve on committees of interest.

The applicants who are selected are notified electronically by the committee or council chair. However, there are inevitably more applicants than openings. Those who are not accepted are notified electronically and receive a personally signed thank-you letter from me asking them to watch for postings of other positions of interest.

The CAP system also includes an effective performance-assessment process for committee and council chairs and members. Chairs evaluate members on an annual basis and members evaluate chairs. These evaluations are stored in the database and used as part of the selection criteria for future committee openings. The evaluation ratings are accessible only by council/committee chairs seeking volunteers to fill vacant positions. All evaluations are confidential and there is no identification of a specific evaluator.

The CAP volunteer database is an up-to-date computer-based system that allows all members equal access to all AAOS activities. It is an extremely important system that is more accurately described by the CAP acronym.

Continue the tradition

I have also contacted leaders of the orthopaedic specialty organizations, asking them to encourage their members to watch for vacancies on councils/committees of interest. If you are interested in volunteering, access the Internet database. Once there, you can review and apply for positions that interest you.

The spirit of volunteerism evidenced by AAOS members has built in a strong culture of dedication and work. As chair of the Committee on Committees, I am dedicated to seeing that the AAOS has an effective volunteer process to ensure competency-based selection and equal opportunity for members to be appointed to councils and committees that will benefit from their skills and expertise.

The ongoing participation by fellows in councils and committees will enable the Academy to remain one of the finest medical organizations in the world—dedicated to the musculoskeletal care and education of our fellows, our patients, and the public—and a strong volunteer organization that is truly open to all of its members.

Richard F. Kyle, MD, is first vice president of the AAOS and chairman of the Committee on Committees. He can be reached at richard.kyle@co.hennepin.mn.us

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