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Leading Learning

By Dean C. Taylor, MD, COL (ret) USA

    • From the President

Education is the Essence of AOSSM!

The sports medicine world looks to us for evidence-based and experience-based education that enhances the lives of athletes and patients. As we rush headlong toward the Annual Meeting, our largest educational event of the year, let’s dive in to how the Society is Leading Learning, the fourth of our 2023-24 strategic initiatives and a deep passion of mine.

To lead sports medicine education, AOSSM emphasizes a blend of technical and non-technical learning that together provide excellence in patient-centered care. This is superbly reflected in our upcoming Annual Meeting and in the outstanding work of Program Chairs Alison Toth and Jonathan Dickens. I am grateful beyond words to Alison and Jon for their relentless efforts to create a world-class program. To address technical learning, they have chosen the all-stars from of a record number of scientific abstract submissions and complemented them with keynote presentations by subject matter experts from across the international sports medicine landscape, “gold medal” debates, and cutting-edge surgical demonstrations.

Drs. Toth and Dickens and the entire education team have also put together a brilliant program of non-technical education, exemplified by our Presidential Guest Speaker Tiki Barber and the “The Winning Playbook for Elite Athletic Care” session, which I highlighted in the last SMU. In addition, we will have a record number of Game Changer sessions providing a multifaceted review of issues critical to the future of our field:

  • The Unequal Playing Field” in partnership with the J. Robert Gladden Society tackles reducing racial disparities in health outcomes.
  • Innovations in Orthopaedic Sports Medicines in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine” looks at technical progress and partnering with industry as tools for problem-solving.
  • Going for the Gold” is a deep dive into patient/team physician interactions and how the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Medical Network in particular cares for a team of athletes under immense pressure.
  • Risky Business” goes beyond headlines to discuss how team physicians manage the liability risk of caring for athletic patients, and how best to develop a team of teams to succeed in practice.
  • Leadership and Mentorship for Our Future” -{ not sure of the exact title }– will be an especially meaningful fireside chat between me and General Bob Brown, as promoted in the last SMU issue’s Q&A

And speaking of leadership, I want to emphasize that Leading Learning doesn’t happen in isolation, and the Annual Meeting is no exception. All our strategic initiatives will be on display in Denver. To name a few:

  • We will be both Leading Learning and Leading Collaboratively in expanding the educational offerings from our partners at other member societies and industry.
  • Through the efforts of Chair Ben Ma and the Research Committee, we will be both Leading Learning and Leading Discovery through a new think tank, the ever-popular research workshop, and the Playmaker Grant Lab (a Shark Tank-style competition that will fund three research proposals in real time).
  • Chair Meghan Bishop and the Early-Career Engagement Committee are again Leading Learning and Leading For the Future in the highly successful Resident & Fellows Forum.
New sports medicine fellows receive hands-on training during the 2023 Fellows Course at the OLC Education & Conference Center.

While the Annual Meeting is the culmination, we also have to recognize the entire awesome year of Leading Learning. We started with a bang at the annual Fellows Course, which sells out each summer. Incoming sports medicine fellows received an intensive overview of sideline management, return-to-play decisions, athlete mental health, experiential surgical learning, and other vital information team physicians need to deliver high-caliber care. AOSSM will continue to provide all sports medicine fellows complimentary membership (with generous support from Össur) to ensure we are Leading Learning from the first days of their journey. The Early Career Engagement Committee contributed to Leading Learning and Leading For the Future through the popular “Nightcaps,” a series of free webinars on a wide range of topics from engaging with industry to building an online brand.

J. T. Tokish, President of AANA, addresses leadership of AOSSM and SOMOS at the MAST Summit in November 2023.

The lines of Leading Learning and Leading Collaboratively overlapped last fall at the Surgical Skills Masters Course: Osteotomies Around the Knee in partnership with ISAKOS, where faculty from four continents came together to share knowledge and camaraderie. The trend continued as our own Vice President, Eric McCarty, stepped into the Co-Chair role for the AAOS/AOSSM/AANA Sports Medicine Course, sparking new ideas and conversations in Park City and across the field. At Specialty Day, AOSSM teamed up with the American Shoulder and Elbow Society for a robust look at emerging research, as well as an inspiring Kennedy Lecture from Bob Arciero.

Even as these events were taking place, Chair Brian Wolf and the Education Committee have been developing new courses with new modalities. Both the AOSSM/NHL Hockey Summit in August and a new surgical skills course in partnership with SLARD and AMECRA, Global Innovations in Complex Shoulder Surgery this October, will offer in-person and live, interactive virtual learning. Both courses will have faculty at the OLC Education and Conference Center, as well as an expanded roster of experts joining live from locations across North, Central and South America.

I am excited to share that AOSSM and AANA are collaborating on several important education initiatives. For example, in partnership with J.T. Tokish and the AANA leadership, we created a memorandum of understanding on fellowship education that includes task forces to effectively and efficiently combine our educational efforts to best teach and assess arthroscopic surgical skills. We have created a foundation from which to build an even stronger future for our field, together. I look forward to sharing more about our collaborative efforts with AANA during my presidential address at the Annual Meeting.

Dr. Bruce Reider addresses the audience at the 2023 AOSSM Annual Meeting.

Finally, I would be remiss to leave AOSSM’s publishing arm out of a discussion on Leading Learning. Through four exceptional peer-reviewed journals, the Society is at the forefront of delivering sports medicine science and education to the world. This educational delivery is in large part due to the efforts and leadership of Dr. Bruce Reider, who recently announced he will transition from his role as Executive Editor-in-Chief for AOSSM and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Sports Medicine after 23 remarkable years. He will remain editor-in-chief of the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine and host of the Easy Reider podcast. We are grateful for all of Bruce’s contributions and we will celebrate his work together in Denver.

Writing this article has been a rewarding burden—rewarding because I have been able to share all that our volunteer leaders and professional team are accomplishing in education. Together, our Society is exceptionally Leading Learning, Leading Collaboratively, Leading Discovery and Leading For the Future. I am grateful for everyone’s leadership efforts and look forward to learning and celebrating with all of you in Denver, where you will once again see first-hand that AOSSM is AWESOME!

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