December 1998 Bulletin

Academy focus is prevention

The Academy is dedicated to a program of informing the public to help them prevent severe, disabling and incapacitating musculoskeletal diseases, Robert D. D'Ambrosia, MD, Academy first vice president, told the media in October at Academy's eighth annual science writers and editors conference.

"The old relationship of physician and patient, like father and child, is gone," Dr. D'Ambrosia said. "Today, we are empowering patients to take care of their own health." He pointed out that the Academy has 10 public education programs to help people prevent musculoskeletal problems. (The Board of Directors approved in September the formation of the Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention and Wellness Task Force to recommend future directions for the Academy's program on prevention of injuries which began in 1991.)

Dr. D'Ambrosia said the aging of the population will mean significant increases in musculoskeletal problems. "We expect hip fractures to double over the next 30 years," he said. Other musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis will affect millions more than today.

The newest public education program is "Climb It Safe." The program informs the public how to use ladders safely. Each year more than 511,000 people are treated for injuries related to ladders; almost one death a day is related to ladder injuries. For information about the Academy's prevention of injuries programs contact the Academy's communications department at (847) 384-4123.

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