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president's message

A Report on Activities

Dr. UlrichBy Gary S. Ulrich, DO, FAOAO, FACOS
AOAO President

Dear Members,

It certainly is hard to believe that my term as president is approaching its final months. I will conclude my service in this role at the Annual Meeting in Colorado where First Vice-President, James Pollifrone, DO, FAOAO, will assume the office.  This has been a very productive year, and I am satisfied that many of the objectives set forth at the start of my term have been realized. Confident in its principles and philosophy, we have used our strategic plan as a template for the development of our activities, and will continue to do so in the near future. Eventually our strategic plan objectives and goals will need to be revised, but as it now stands, the three main objectives include education, advocacy and outreach.  Below I have summarized some key activities of the Board over the last nine months.

We have initiated a Resident and Fellow Conference at our Annual Meetings each fall.  This is a forum where our orthopedic surgery residents and fellows can present, discuss, and receive feedback about their research in a semi-formal setting. Although it will continue to evolve and we may have some structural changes over time, we feel this  conference will be a successful forum for our younger surgeons to grow professionally. I would encourage all of our members to visit this session during the upcoming meeting at The Broadmoor in October. We encourage all to enjoy the interaction with our residents and fellows, and would welcome suggestions on how this session may continue to grow.  One improvement being explored is the possibility of obtaining corporate sponsorship for this portion of our meeting. If anyone has other thoughts or suggestions on how to improve this session, please share these with our administrative office

Another important activity has been the reorganization of our committee structure. As the AOAO has grown, our committee structure has become less effective and has needed updating to give each group a practical charter and more focused goals.  The committee structure was carefully analyzed, and the AOAO Board approved the reorganization of our committees which are now more streamlined for increased efficiency.  All committees are currently energized with chairs and members that are engaged in activities. Currently we have a Board member involved in each committee as a way of invigorating and supervising the reorganization project. We anticipate board level involvement will decrease as the committees continue to evolve.    

Advocacy for members has been continuing as well. The AOAO leadership has remained abreast of the American Osteopathic Association’s activities in Washington with representation of our group at the House of Delegates meeting as well as having a presence at the new advocacy center in Washington DC. For legislative updates, log into that section on our website at  http://www.aoao.org/members/protected/legislative_update.iphtml.

Our outreach projects have included continued engagement with our residency programs.  In addition, the Board has begun to meet at various medical schools in the same locale where our meetings are being held.  This puts us in touch with students that are interested in orthopedic surgery, allows us to get a sense of the academic needs of medical schools in the orthopedic surgical discipline, and simply continues to provide our organization with good publicity. 

Among our many projects, one very exciting effort is the reformation of the American Osteopathic Association Foundation.  We hope that such a foundation will be an avenue to secure funds for sponsorship of AOAO activities, residency and fellowship initiatives, as well as various other projects. We would hope with such funding we would be able to expand on the number of osteopathic orthopedic fellowships available at our teaching institutions. We are also updating the residency log system with the aim of creating a streamlined, efficient, and easily accessible tracking mechanism.  Our Evaluating Committee continues to be engaged in evaluating residency programs both new and established. As the demand for orthopedic training programs rises, we want to maintain high standards and promote responsible, high quality, and well structured growth. 

Finally, we have secured an exciting keynote speaker this year for our Annual Meeting, Dr. Eric Heiden, former United States Olympian. Dr. Heiden is currently an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Utah and we felt that our membership would enjoy hearing him speak on both his Olympic and orthopedic surgical experiences as it ties in with the Colorado Springs locale. 

I hope to see you all at The Broadmoor for the Annual Meeting; the program is well organized and includes excellent clinical topics. I believe the location speaks for itself.  

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your President and I hope to conclude my term in a positive fashion and to see some of the ongoing projects to completion. 

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