June 2003 Bulletin

State societies’ achievements honored at NOLC banquet

Awards given to Georgia Orthopaedic Society and Florida executive director

Members of the GOS Board of Directors
who accepted the award for the State
Orthopaedic Society of the Year included
(from left) Craig T. Kerins, MD, GOS
president-elect, Peter L. Meehan, MD,
GOS past president, Sherri Hill, GOS
executive director, Steve M. McCollam, MD,
GOS secreatary treasurer and Francis B.
Kelly, MD, GOS past president

By Sandra Lee Breisch

The AAOS Board of Councilors (BOC) State Orthopaedic Societies Committee has long recognized the importance of each state orthopaedic society’s leadership and achievements.

Whether it’s striving to achieve political change, putting members in Congress, providing a forum for orthopaedists to exchange ideas and information on clinical research, continuing medical education, improving patient care and outcomes or mentoring their colleagues, state orthopaedic societies play an integral part in both their state and the entire orthopaedic community.

For the first time ever, the BOC State Orthopaedic Societies Committee honored state society organizations and individuals for their distinct achievements at the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) dinner held in Washington, D.C. in April. The AAOS presidential line and members of the AAOS Board of Directors (BOD), along with BOC leaders, were on hand to extend their congratulations.

AAOS president, James H. Herndon, MD, presented the 2003 state orthopaedic achievement award to the Georgia Orthopaedic Society, Inc. (GOS), including a check for $1,000 and a recognition plaque. The executive director of the year award went to Fraser Cobbe of the Florida Orthopaedic Society (FOS), who was presented with a check for $500 and a recognition plaque for his achievements.

"The state orthopaedic societies are very important to us. They are the grassroots of the AAOS," said John K. Drake, MD, chair, BOC State Orthopaedic Societies Committee, which developed the award process. "We have such outstanding state orthopaedic society executive directors and outstanding state societies that we wanted to recognize and encourage their work. That’s the reason we decided to develop an award program for them."

The winners were selected based on nominations that were reviewed and ranked by a subcommittee of the BOC State Orthopaedic Societies Committee and discussed by conference call before a final decision was made. The Executive Director award candidates were nominated and submitted by the leaders in their state orthopaedic societies.

State Orthopaedic Society of the Year

"What a huge honor this is for our society," said Sherri Hill, when the GOS was named State Orthopaedic Society of the Year. "The Georgia Orthopaedic Society Board of Directors, past and present, have been extremely dedicated to the mission of the society. Because of their efforts, the society has a strong presence in Georgia and continually remains focused on the needs of its members. I am delighted that we received this award so our outstanding leaders could be recognized for their dedication to the Georgia Orthopaedic Society and their profession."

Although Champ L. Baker, Jr., MD, the current GOS president, was unable to attend the meeting, Francis B. Kelly, MD, secretary of the AAOS Board of Councilors and past president of the GOS, was present and said that Dr. Baker deserves a lot of credit for the society’s success. "Champ has been a driving force behind our academic program at our annual meeting. He has been a quality supporter of our scientific program for many years and his organizational skills have been a great benefit to our annual meeting and our society as a whole," he explained.

Dr. Kelly also said that Hill and Steven M. McCollam, MD, GOS secretary and treasurer for the last three years deserve "a lion’s share of the credit" because they’ve "laid a very solid foundation for the society.

"We are financially solvent now and that has not always been the case," Dr. Kelly said. "They’ve done an excellent job of maintaining and recruiting members and have also done an excellent job of managing the budget.

"Additionally, we certainly need to acknowledge and give a great deal of credit to the leaders of the past. We’ve had excellent leadership for many years–and we really need to acknowledge their efforts, as well," added Dr. Kelly.

Some of the achievements for the GOS included a significant increase in membership in the past 24 months. "We had an additional 25 members this year, with total active membership at about 300," explains Dr. Kelly. "We’ve also added two meetings this year and now have a socioeconomic meeting once or twice a year that we did not have in the past. We also hold a residents’ meeting where they [residents] are encouraged to present their work. This is real important now because of the socioeconomic times. We also hold a practice management meeting to discuss topics such as proper coding techniques and ancillary services so they can learn how to develop different streams of income because there have been so many cuts in our reimbursement."

Additionally, Dr. Kelly noted that the GOS has been involved with the legislative advocacy process and they’ve obtained the services of a lobbyist in recent years. "In the past, we’ve never done that–but we’ve been very active in legislative process this past year," he said.

The GOS also continues to hold an "outstanding annual meeting," since 1946 that is well-attended. "We’ve had more than 100 orthopaedic surgeons attend with many outstanding guest speakers. This is a very positive aspect of our society," pointed our Dr. Kelly.

Says Dr. Drake, "The GOS has been a fine example of what we would want: increased membership. They’ve been politically active, addressed the needs of their members and worked hard in a number of areas."

AAOD President James H. Herndon, MD,
presented the 2003 Executive Director
of the Year Award to Fraser Cobbe (center)
of the Florida Orthopaedic Society, Inc.
John K Drake, MD, Chair, BOC State
Orthopaedic Society Committee proudly joins them

Executive Director of the Year

Proudly stepping on stage to accept the Executive Director of the Year Award was Fraser Cobbe of the FOS, whose political career began as director of the Manatee County Medical Society from 1998 through 2001. Andrew M. Wong, MD, chairman of the BOC communication committee, nominated him.

"I was definitely overwhelmed to be the first person to win," Cobbe said. "There’s so much talent in different state societies and experienced directors in other states. And it’s important to showcase all the good things that every state is doing," he said.

Cobbe credited the Florida executive committee and orthopaedists who have volunteered their time on behalf of their profession for his success. "I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with people who not only have given me opportunities–but enjoy my youth and enthusiasm," he said. "We saw the professional liability crisis emerging–where we don’t have a cap on non-economic damages at all and are one of the 18 crisis states in the nation. Our executive committee wanted to get out in front of the issue and model our legislation on California’s Medical Injury Compenstiona Reform Act MICRA."

Also, Cobbe said their patient awareness campaign was instrumental in providing tools to educate patients. They created a Web site (www.floridacrisis. com) and developed a political action committee.

He also pointed out that Abbott Kagan, MD, Florida’s state orthopaedic society president, "deserves much of the credit for effectively moving the FOS forward on three major issues–professional liability, overhauling workmen’s compensation and eliminating the no-fault automobile policy in the state."

Cobbe also points out, "What we do on a statewide level, what each individual does has an impact on our national organization–the AAOS."

Dr. Drake concluded, "If we can encourage the growth of our state orthopaedic societies, our Academy can be an even stronger organization for members."

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