June 2004 Bulletin

LFP: Inspiring, cultivating tomorrow’s leaders

By Carolyn Rogers

“Leaders are not born, they are made.”

Some members of the 2003/2004 LFP class and their mentors gathered at the 2004 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, including (back row, from left): Robert Wilson, MD; Robert Bucholz, MD; Susan Stephens, MD; Mark Brown, MD; Tom Hunt, MD; James Farmer, MD; Frances Farley, MD; Scott Scutchfield, MD; Susan Scherl, MD; David Teuscher, MD; Judith Baumhauer, MD; Vernon Tolo, MD; Stuart Hirsch, MD; (front row, from left): Michael Parks, MD; Craig Bennett, MD; Tammy Martin, MD; Bradley Nelson, MD; Ronald Navarro, MD; Gregory Brown, MD, PhD; and Peter Amadio, MD.

This oft-repeated line by Vince Lombardi neatly sums up the philosophy behind the Academy’s Leadership Fellows Program (LFP), now entering its third year.

The LFP seeks to create a “leadership legacy” for orthopaedics by identifying promising younger members of the Academy and preparing them to assume roles of responsibility within the AAOS and elsewhere in orthopaedics in the years ahead. These individuals participate in a one-year leadership training program that combines didactic leadership training with ongoing, one-on-one mentoring from established leaders in the orthopaedic community.

The young program, which is unique within the medical association field, is showing early signs of success. All 30 LFP graduates now hold committee responsibilities within the Academy, many have assumed leadership roles at their institutions, and two LFP graduates—Frederic M. Azar, MD, and Frances Farley, MD—currently serve as members-at-large on the AAOS Board of Directors.

The Leadership Fellows Program is unique in that “everyone’s goals are aligned,” says Stuart L. Hirsch, MD, an LFP mentor and chair of the AAOS Council on Communications. “Individuals are able to meet their personal goals, while at the same time we’re creating tomorrow’s orthopaedic leadership—not just for the Academy, but wherever orthopaedic leadership will be needed.”

The LFP “was probably one of the most broad-based programs I’ve ever been involved in,” says James C. Farmer, MD, a graduate of the 2003-2004 class. “The most beneficial aspect was getting to know how the Academy works, but I learned so much about leadership in general. We received training in communication skills, media training, completed psychological profiles, studied different leadership styles and learned about the political aspects of leadership, in terms of what happens in Washington, D.C. We learned what it means to be a good leader overall.”

The program “more than met my expectations,” he says. “I’d hugely encourage anyone who has even a remote interest in being involved in the Academy to consider applying.”

80 vied for 15 LFP slots in 2004

LFP fellows include men and women from all over the country, from a wide range of backgrounds and sub-specialties. A maximum of 15 orthopaedists—age 45 or younger—are selected for each LFP class. For the 2004-2005 class, 80 applicants competed for those 15 slots.

Mentors and fellows meet as a group four times a year. Each mentor and fellow pair also may schedule a site visit at either the mentor’s or fellow’s institution. All of the meetings, lectures, assigned readings and mentor visits are used to foster relationships between the participants and to delve into the meaning and actions of “leadership.” Topics discussed include communication skills, strategic planning, media training, and time and stress management.

2002-2003 LFP graduate Michelle A. James, MD, says she applied to the program because, “I hoped to learn the best ways to expand my sphere of influence within orthopaedics in the fields of ethics, education and the advancement of women, which are my foremost interests after my family and hand surgery,” she says.

When it came to the reading assignments, interaction with her mentor, and face-to-face meetings with other LFP participants, Dr. James says, “Instead of getting what I thought I wanted…I got what I needed. I learned how to distill my values and base my priorities on them and how to say ‘no.’”

Mentors serve as “catalysts”

The role of mentor is an integral part of the program. As advisor and confidant to an LFP fellow, a mentor fosters a close professional and personal relationship that continues throughout the fellowship year and beyond.

“To a certain extent, the purpose of the LFP is to enable fellows to achieve skills and abilities earlier than would normally occur—allowing for a longer, more fruitful and productive leadership career,” Dr. Hirsch says. “Mentors can serve as a ‘catalyst’ to this process… In the same way a catalyst can speed up a chemical reaction, a mentor can accelerate an individual’s development by helping them to attain the skills necessary to achieve their goals.”

LFP mentors are selected based upon the match between mentor and fellow in education, training, professional interests and non-medical activities. Mentors come from the highest leadership levels of the Academy, including members of the Board of Directors, as well as past AAOS presidents, council chairs, committee chairs and program directors.

Current and past LFP mentors include: Peter C. Amadio, MD; Mark D. Brown, MD; Robert W. Bulcholz, MD; S. Terry Canale, MD; William P. Cooney, MD; Robert D. D’Ambrosia, MD; John P. Dormans, MD; Maureen A. Finnegan, MD; Gary E. Friedlaender, MD; Mark C. Gebhardt, MD; Richard H. Gelberman, MD; Richard J. Haynes, MD; James H. Herndon, MD; Stuart L. Hirsch, MD; Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD; Ramon L. Jimenez, MD; Carl L. Nelson, MD; Michael F. Schafer, MD; Scott B. Scutchfield, MD; Clarence L. Shields Jr., MD; Marc F. Swiontkowski, MD; Vernon T. Tolo, MD; John R Tongue. MD; Laura L. Tosi, MD; Andrew J. Weiland, MD; and James N. Weinstein, DO.

Fellows praise LFP experience

To Michael Vitale, MD, MPH, a graduate of the program’s inaugural class, “LFP represents a great opportunity to get to know a diverse group of true leaders in the field. The mentoring system provides a unique insight into the way successful, dynamic leaders in our field have made their career and their lives ‘work.’”

LFP graduates speak highly of their mentors.

“Dr. Gary Friedlaender was a great mentor, and he still is,” says Mary O’Connor, MD, another graduate of the 2002-2003 LFP class. “He was always available, but not overbearing. I enjoyed talking with him about different leadership challenges he’s faced as orthopaedic chair at Yale.”

She calls Dr. Friedlaender “a great resource” that she can call on for guidance when facing her own leadership challenges.

Dr. O’Connor currently holds several leadership roles, including chair of the AAOS Women’s Health Issues Committee and associate dean of surgery education at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Fla. She also serves on the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors in Jacksonville, and chairs that board’s administrative committee.

“So I have plenty of opportunity to be challenged from a leadership standpoint,” she says. “In the future I hope to become our department chair.”

Susan Scherl, MD, a 2003-2004 LFP graduate, also speaks highly of her mentor, Richard J. Haynes, MD.

“Dr. Haynes is a very accessible mentor,” she says. “I don’t call him too often, but it’s nice to know that I can, whenever I need an opinion or advice. My site visit to Houston [where Dr. Haynes practices] was definitely one of the highlights of the program for me.”

Dr. Scherl now serves on both the AAOS Continuing Medical Education Courses Committee and the Trauma Committee of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, and chairs the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society’s Mentoring Committee. “I’m interested in medical student education, so I’m also participating in the AAOS Musculoskeletal Medical Educators Group that is working on Project 100, to get a musculoskeletal medicine curriculum in 100 percent of U.S. medical schools by the end of the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade,” she adds.

Camaraderie, friendship

In addition to their new leadership skills, LFP fellows say they’ve gained something even more valuable—meaningful friendships. The LFP program creates a shared experience upon which fellows can develop important, enduring relationships.

“I’ve been given an immensely valuable gift: the friendship and camaraderie of the other fellows,” says Dr. James.

Dr. Scherl agrees. “One of the best parts of the program was getting to know colleagues and peers from other subspecialties and areas of the country who I might otherwise not have had the chance to meet,” she says.

“Over the course of the year, we developed some very strong friendships that will continue well into the future,” adds Dr. Farmer. “We all share a common interest in making sure the Academy remains a viable and vibrant organization.”

LFP fellows come together to form a cohesive team, according to Dr. Hirsch. “These are really intelligent people who are used to high levels of performance and success, and they’re enjoying the synergies of working together.”

“The future is bright”

In an organization such as the Academy, the effect of that leadership is multiplied, and can create a powerful ‘ripple effect’ that influences the entire profession. In creating and supporting the LFP, the Academy has made a solid investment not only in its own future, but in the future of orthopaedics as well.

“I’ve gained a great deal of respect for the future of the profession, and the promise of orthopaedics, by observing the high level of abilities and skills these individuals possess,” Dr. Hirsch says. “It makes me comfortable that not only will we be in good hands—these people will be better trained and skilled in every way than the generation that preceded them… The future is bright.”

LFP class of 2004/2005:

Members of the LFP class of 2004/2005 are: Albert J. Aboulafia, MD; Laurel C. Blakemore, MD; Kevin Bozic, MD; Jack Flynn, MD; Jeffrey A. Guy, MD; Steven L. Haddad, MD; Valerae O. Lewis, MD; David C. Markel, MD; William R. Martin III, MD; Steven J. Morgan, MD; Charles L. Nelson, MD; William K. Payne III, MD; R. Lor Randall, MD; Ellen M. Raney, MD; and Richard A. Schaefer, MD.

LFP class of 2003/2004:

The 2003/2004 graduating class includes: Judith F. Baumhauer, MD; Craig H. Bennett, MD; Gregory A. Brown, MD; Frances A. Farley, MD; James C. Farmer, MD; Thomas R. Hunt, MD; Matthew L. Jimenez, MD; Tamara Lynn Martin, MD; Ronald A. Navarro, MD; Bradley J. Nelson, MD; Michael L. Parks, MD; Susan Scherl, MD; Susan E. Stephens, MD; David D. Teuscher, MD, and Robert H.Wilson, MD.

LFP class of 2002/2003:

The 2002/2003 inaugural class includes: Frederick M. Azar, MD; Joseph Benevenia, MD; Howard Epps, MD; Steven L. Frick, MD; David Hak, MD; Michelle A. James, MD; John S. Kirkpatrick, MD; Mary O’Connor, MD; Norman Y. Otsuka, MD; Craig S. Roberts, MD; David S. Ruch, MD; Kevin L. Smith, MD; Terry L. Thompson, MD; Michael Vitale, MD; A.J. Yates, Jr., MD.

Apply now for LFP class of 2005/2006

AAOS members and candidate members who wish to apply to the 2005/2006 LFP program must provide a completed application, two letters of recommendation from AAOS fellows who have in-depth knowledge of the applicant’s practice and leadership skills; and a 500-word essay describing why the applicant wishes to participate in the program. The essay is a key component in the selection of LFP Fellows, and is evaluated for both content and clarity of thought.

Applications and essays for the LFP class 2005/2006 must be submitted online by Aug. 2, 2004, via the AAOS Web site at http://www3.aaos.org/lfp/lfpappl.cfm.

Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically by Aug. 2, 2004. Applicants are responsible for contacting their references to ensure all letters of recommendation are received on time.

Become a mentor

AAOS fellows who wish to become LFP mentors should be actively involved in the orthopaedic profession—serving on the AAOS Board, as committee or council member, Board of Councilors member, orthopaedic residency program chair/director or leader in other specialty societies—and be willing to devote the time necessary to serve as a mentor and interested in developing future AAOS leaders.

Mentor applications and statements must be submitted online by Aug. 2, 2004, via the AAOS Web site.

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