In my previous two presidential messages I introduced “LI” as a theme for this year and to promote our recently approved strategic plan: Leadership with Improvement, Innovation, Inclusion, and Inspiration. Improvement of education and programming at AOSSM is now underway with help from the Institute for Association and Nonprofit Research, and I thank all the members who participated in the survey to help enhance our educational offerings. Innovation through research also is advancing. The Research Committee has been busy, partnering with the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), awarding significant funding for multicenter grants, and seeding many new emerging opportunities.
That brings us to Inclusion, an American ideal that should be at the heart of any organization with education as its fundamental mission. It is simply a matter of recognition and acceptance—putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. AOSSM welcomes all members and perspective members regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or background; and, as an extension of that, seek to mentor, encourage and support those who aspire to leadership positions in our organization. Jesse Jackson noted, “Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” And growth is an important goal in our recently adopted strategic plan.
OK, how do we do that? The answer lies within our AOSSM professional team, specifically Christina Tomaso, Associate Executive Director of Operations and Marketing; Andrea Mitchell, Director of Marketing and Membership; Jenny Ramion, Senior Manager of Education; and several committees including the Membership Committee, Council of Delegates, Emerging Leaders, and the newest AOSSM Committee, Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Allow me to expand on some ongoing initiatives in your Society.
One of our core principles and a key strategic initiative is to recruit and retain new members. There are several thousand general orthopaedic surgeons who also identify themselves as practicing sports medicine surgeons. We will be reaching out to those individuals to make sure they are availing themselves of our plethora of sports medicine specific educational content. We are welcoming new members by making it easier to join; reducing prices for our meetings; delivering more value through exciting programs at our meetings and online; and creating meaningful opportunities such as hands-on skills training and testing.
One initiative we are very excited about is our new Emerging Leaders program. Your 2024 President, Dean Taylor, has a passion for this program and has worked with Jenny Ramion and the Emerging Leaders Committee to launch BOLD (Boosting Orthopaedic Leaders’ Development). This immersive, two-year leadership development experience is exclusively offered to AOSSM active and candidate members under the age of 45. Eighteen playmakers will engage in executive leadership education, collaborate with peers on a group project, and receive 1:1 executive coaching and mentoring to hone their leadership skills in the field of sports medicine. The first BOLD cohort will kick off at the 2023 AOSSM Annual Meeting. Applications are currently being accepted through May 12.
We are seeking diversity and inclusion in all our programs. As Harjeet Khanduja notes, “Diversity happens. Inclusion is a choice.” And at AOSSM, we will make that choice whenever possible. This is a major focus of the committee tasked with assigning volunteers to other committees, working groups and special initiatives, for which actively recruiting and encouraging diversity in our selections. We are partnering with the Gladden Society to invite diverse speakers for the Annual Meeting. We have also partnered with The FORUM, the leading organization for women sports medicine surgeons, for a recent surgical skills course and they will once again be a partner at our Annual Meeting.
At the Annual Meeting, we will also be collaborating with many other societies, including the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery, and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS) and the European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery & Arthroscopy (ESSKA), among others. We are planning a pre-meeting symposium on biologics with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Our “Game Changer” sessions will focus on leadership, practice management and performance optimization.
Our collaboration with ISAKOS extends throughout the year. We were partners on an extremely successful Specialty Day in March, with more than 600 colleagues in attendance to hear from Kennedy Lecturer Darren Johnson, MD, and to participate in a heartfelt tribute to Freddie Fu, MD and Peter Fowler, MD, two legends in the field who each served as presidents of both organizations. We will also host a masters-level surgical skills course on knee osteotomy at the OLC Conference and Education Center in Rosemont this October 6-7.
AOSSM was also the Guest Society for Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) 2023 Annual Meeting. Finally, we have robust relationships, including speaker exchanges, with many other organizations including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), the American Academy of Physical Therapy (AASPT), and numerous regional, national and international orthopaedic societies.
Inclusion includes all of us—and as your President, I promise that AOSSM will continue to focus on that principle and consider the views and values of every member and prospective member. To that end, we seek your feedback. What ideas do you have for inclusion? Let us hear from you at [email protected].