Dr. Inside and Dr. Outside score touchdowns for AAOS
For years, the AAOS has focused on growth and development of our society. Not only have we grown in numberswe now have 24,500 membersbut we also have grown in stature. This internal growth has not come easily. Many orthopaedic surgeons have volunteered considerable time to help develop a strong internal structure. Many of the Academy staff have contributed over and above their normal job descriptions. The result has been that we now have one of the top medical specialty groups in America.
We are in the enviable position of role model for other medical associations. Every day, the Academy staff receives phone calls asking how the AAOS handles problems and situations similar to those in other associations. What a feeling of pride to know that not only are we in one of the best fields in medicine, but we also belong to one of the best medical associations.
Young orthopaedists often say to me with envy that I lived and practiced through the "glory days" of orthopaedics. That may be true in a financial sense, but in reality the best of orthopaedics has just begun. The public, providers and the government have finally realized that just living longer may not be nearly as important as the quality of life. What we have always known has now become evident to others: orthopaedic surgeons can provide the best treatment, operative or nonoperative, of the musculoskeletal system to allow a better quality of life for a longer time.
With this in mind, the Academy leadership has begun to turn some of its focus externally. It is apparent that we have a strong internal structure that was built on exclusivity, but now it is time to build external relationships and to grow by developing inclusiveness. Realizing that we, as orthopaedic surgeons, provide the best musculoskeletal care, we can spread that message and become more inclusive by developing partnerships with organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation, the American Geriatric Society and the AMA.
On the extraordinary U.S. Military Academy football team of 1944 there were two stars, Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, who were called Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. They were a tremendous and almost unstoppable partnership. The AAOS has two similar playersDr. Inside, Larry Rosenthal, and Dr. Outside, Bill Tipton.
Since coming to us from the American Academy of Dermatology, Larry Rosenthal has been a star for the Academy. He is our Dr. Inside, handling not only the nuts and bolts of the day-to-day operation of a "company" with more than 200 employees, but also governance matters. Presently, he, along with Second Vice President Vern Tolo, MD, has the task of overhauling our strategic plan. He and First Vice President Richard Gelberman, MD, also are determining what the Academy should look like in 2005. Their considerations include what our fellows will want from their society in 2005, what the Academy can provide and whether the present internal structure and governance will be appropriate at that time considering our continuing growth.
Dr. Outside, of course, is Bill Tipton. What a job he has done in putting the AAOS on the map in the world of organized medicine. Not only do we have the ear of the AMA, but they also frequently ask our opinion because of Bills expertise and experience concerning matters relating to specialty societies. With Bills help, the Academy has now added involvement with the American Geriatric Societys Board of Directors and National Osteoporosis Foundation, and holds an active seat on the Board of Directors of the Arthritis Foundation. Our association is a major player in the Specialty Society Care Coalition (S2C2), the Special Olympics, the Hip Fracture Care Forum, and, of course, the Bone and Joint Decade. Reaching even farther outward we have recently added lay persons to our councils as a sort of "trial run" to determine if lay persons should be added to the AAOS Board of Directors.
As you can see, we already have a strong inside game and are making a play to run outside. This focus on our "outside game" is not being done serendipitously, but with a plan in mind to integrate others into the total care of patients with musculoskeletal problems, with the orthopaedic surgeon being the captain of the team. I know we will succeed because we have two All-Americans, Larry Rosenthal and Bill Tipton, Dr. Inside and Dr. Outside.
S. Terry Canale, MD