AAOS Bulletin - December 2006

Western Orthopaedic Association: 75 years of serving orthopaedists

By Jennie McKee

In 1929, Howard H. Markel, MD, and Steele F. Stewart, MD, proposed combining the two orthopaedic clubs based in San Francisco and Los Angeles to form the first orthopaedic society of its kind west of the Mississippi River. This organization, dubbed the Western Orthopaedic Association (WOA), was officially established in 1932 and held its first meeting that year in San Francisco.

From its inception, the WOA has provided its members with a combination of scientific programming and social functions. Guest speakers became part of the WOA’s program in 1954, and in 1955 the organization was incorporated as a nonprofit organization.

The organization currently serves a membership of more than 1,300 orthopaedists in the 14 western states. Many of the chapters offer additional opportunities for scientific, educational and social interaction among local peers. The WOA Board of Directors is made up of volunteer member surgeons who are responsible for governing the society, establishing its goals and setting its priorities.

An educational focus
At the WOA’s annual meetings, information on current clinical, research and practice innovations in orthopaedic medicine is shared. The curriculum for the meetings’ scientific programs is developed from paper abstracts received and from invited speakers, including nationally recognized faculty, who present timely reviews of practice-related techniques and research findings in orthopaedic and trauma surgery as well as subspecialty areas. Highlights of the scientific program include the presidential guest speaker, presidential address and the Howard Steel lecturer. Scientific posters are displayed during the scientific program and podium presentations take place. In addition, the WOA’s annual meetings include board and recertification preparation and the opportunity to interact and network with peers. Registered attendees can also earn continuing medical education credits while at the annual meetings, which are always held in highly desirable locations and encourage family attendance.

“Our basic mission is to provide a scientific and educational program to our membership that covers the entire spectrum of orthopaedic surgery,” says WOA president Gerard L. Glancy, MD. “The goal of our meeting is to provide up-to-date and scientifically valid information of use to our membership, irrespective of the members’ particular specialty interests.”

The benefits of fellowship
Lawrence R. Housman, MD, immediate past president of the WOA, says that the organization’s members benefit from the information presented at the meeting and from the interaction with orthopaedists in the region. “The benefits of attending the annual meeting are that you have the opportunity to be collegial with other orthopaedists in the west and you are presented with a very strong scientific program on general orthopaedics, with some sub-specialty interest,” says Dr. Housman.

According to Dr. Glancy, an important function of the WOA is that it offers endowments to fellows and residents to recognize scientific achievements. “Part of the very rich tradition of the WOA involves the fostering and promotion of resident research and the presentation of scientific papers,” says Dr. Glancy. Along with providing cash awards to the fellows and residents who have winning papers, the WOA also pays for the winners’ airfare and a one-night hotel stay so they may attend the organization’s annual meeting.

“Regional associations, such as the WOA, play a vital role in both the development of scientific knowledge and the distribution of information and education,” says Richard F. Kyle, MD, AAOS president. “Under the Academy’s unity initiative, we are creating a place and developing a new role for regional societies.” The AAOS presidential line will meet with the WOA’s presidential line (as well as with the presidential lines of the other regional orthopaedic societies) at the upcoming AAOS Annual Meeting.

The 2007 WOA annual meeting will be held July 18-21 in San Diego at the Hotel del Coronado. Visit online for more information about the WOA.


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