June 2001 Bulletin

AAOS Board of Directors to be restructured

New lineup includes first layman member with voting power, COMSS secretary

In a move to make the AAOS Board of Directors a more flexible, efficient and effective governing body, the directors approved in April changes in the composition of the Board.

The far reaching action comes as the whirlwind of technological change sweeping through society is producing new opportunities for growth and accomplishment for some organizations. The key for success is to be able to adapt, to be nimble and to have an awareness of what is happening and how to make the next move in a fast changing environment.

That’s what the Board of Directors had in mind when it set in motion the AAOS in 2005 plan. The goal is to create a knowledge-based organization, with core activities in data accrual, information management, knowledge dissemination and leadership development.

The Board approved restructuring the Board of Directors, using as its model the shape of Boards of modern organizations. The AAOS Board will be more inclusive, competency-based and be able to explore new challenges and make decisions quickly, says Richard H. Gelberman, MD, president.

"The emphasis is on efficiency and effectiveness," Dr. Gelberman stresses.

Another important action by the Board in April was to revise the resolutions and Bylaws approval process. Both actions will need approval of the AAOS members at the 2002 Annual Meeting.

In restructuring the Board, the directors approved recommendations by the Board’s Governance Task Force, chaired by James H. Herndon, MD, Second Vice President. The Board approved elimination of the Second Past President and Secretary positions on the Board. This would occur once the present Board members in those positions have completed their terms. "The Second Past President will remain on the Finance Committee, providing the institutional memory needed in those deliberations," says Dr. Gelberman. "As is the case in other organizations, the Secretary’s functions will be handled by staff or, when necessary, the First Vice President."

The Board approved adding a lay member with voting privileges and adding the COMSS secretary as a Board member. The lay member, selected on the basis of competency, will provide the perspective of an expert from the world outside the orthopaedic community. "Lay members are very common on Boards today and add needed expertise and depth to a modern board," says Dr. Herndon.

The addition of the COMSS secretary emphasizes the Board’s relationship with the specialty societies, and underscores the growth of specialists. More than 60 percent of the AAOS membership is either specialists or general orthopaedists with a specialty interest.

A Treasurer-Elect was created and will be elected one year before assuming the position of Treasurer for a three-year term. The Treasurer-Elect will be a non-voting member of the Board and the Finance Committee. The Board established qualifications for the position as part of its emphasis on knowledge, experience and interest rather than constituency for mem- bers in decision-making positions. This extends to the selection of Council and committee members, says Dr. Gelberman. The AAOS is planning to develop a database of members to identify people with knowledge in specific areas that might be needed for Council or committee positions.

The Board will be utilizing project teams of Board members to explore issues and make recommendations to the Board and will increase the responsibilities of the Councils and committees to assist the Board in making decisions.

The decision to revise the process of approving resolutions and Bylaws was designed to encourage greater participation of the members in the approval process and to make effective use of advances in technology. Under the recommended approach of the Board’s Resolutions/Bylaws Project Team, chaired by Dr. Herndon, a minimum of 20 percent of the current membership would have to return ballots to legitimize the process.Fifty-one percent of that would be required to adopt resolutions and two-thirds will be required to adopt amendments to the Bylaws.

Voting would be done by written or electronic ballot shortly after the Annual Meeting.

"These changes will give us greater participation in the approval of resolutions and Bylaws" says Dr. Gelberman, "Now, we have less than 200 votes (at Business Meetings) on important issues out of more than 15,000 members. That’s an embarrassingly small percentage. There is a potential for making mistakes because not enough people are involved in the approval process.

"The change in the approval process will allow the AAOS to make more effective use of advances in technology; eventually all the voting will be online." In the future, Dr. Gelberman sees sending questionnaires electronically, allowing members to provide their thoughts on AAOS activities and programs.

Board of Directors composition in 2004*


First Vice President

Second Vice President

First Past President


4 Members-at-large

Board of Councilors


Board of Councilors


Board of Councilors








Layman member


Executive Vice President

(Ex officio)

*Subject to approval of members at 2001 Annual Meeting

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