As I begin my final Bulletin column, I am impressed that in spite of this year having raced by at warp speed, there are several vivid and lasting impressions. What stands out most is the tremendous talent and dedication of our volunteer members and of our staff. Having been able to work closely with the Board of Directors, Council Chairs and senior staff on a regular basis prior to this year, I was already aware of their enormous talent and dedication. But this presidential year has provided me the opportunity to have a much broader understanding of the breadth and depth of this organization through meeting and interacting with so many of you, and working more directly with many more of our volunteer members and our staff.
The result of all of this collective effort over many years is a dynamic, innovative and responsive organization in which we can all take just pride. This has been underscored during our leadership interactions with other organizations that represent physicians who provide musculoskeletal health care. As issues of mutual interest are identified and discussed, these organizations are impressed that we already have viable programs in existence or under development which address virtually every area.
As we continue to make every effort to influence the future of musculoskeletal health care for the benefit of the patients we serve during these times of tumultuous change, we will be facing many ongoing and emerging challenges. First Vice President Doug Jackson and Second Vice President Jim Heckman are truly exceptional individuals who have already made enormous contributions, and I know they will provide outstanding presidential leadership. But we need to continue to have the benefit of the talent, energy and creativity of you, our members, to build upon our current programs and develop the new ones which will be needed in the future. In short, it's critical for you to be involved in your Academy.
Many of you have indicated your interest and desire to get involved, but have experienced disappointment in being unable to get appointed to an Academy committee or council. While we are a large and complex organization with nearly 1,000 available volunteer positions, there are only a precious few new appointments which can be made each year as people rotate off and positions open up. During the past two years our policies regarding committee tenure, turnover and multiple appointments have been reviewed by the Committee on Committees and changes have been made to maximize our ability to get more of you involved. In spite of this, however, there still may be as few as 50 to 75 who can be appointed each year.
This naturally raises the question of how someone can get involved with so few opportunities available each year. The answer is that fortunately there are actually far greater numbers of opportunities available because of the close relationships between the Academy and our related specialty societies (COMSS), and also between the state orthopaedic societies and the Academy (through the Board of Councilors and Academy's department of state society relations), the regional orthopaedic associations and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF). The combined number of additional volunteer opportunities available from these groups is more than 2,500, more than twice that of the Academy alone.
Effective ways to get started are to perform and submit clinical and basic research for presentation at scientific meetings and for publication in related scientific journals, and/or to become active in your state orthopaedic society. These can naturally lead to appointments to specialty society, state orthopaedic society, regional orthopaedic associations, OREF or Academy committees, or election to the Academy's Board of Councilors. It is from these backgrounds of involvement and accomplishment that the committee and council chairs, board members and officers of these organizations are identified and elected.
So please don't be discouraged by the seemingly overwhelming odds of receiving one of the Academy appointments that are open each year, but instead identify an area where you can contribute to a specialty society and/or your state orthopaedic society. Get started on pathways that will not only be very important to the organization(s) you chose to serve, but also will be satisfying for you. You might be surprised where it could lead.
In closing, I thank you all for this tremendous opportunity to serve as your president. I also want to express my appreciation to my wife Jean who has been a true partner in this endeavor. We look forward to welcoming all of you at the Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Kenneth E. DeHaven, MD