OREF Rededicates Itself to Collaborations that Move the Specialty Forward

By: Michael L. Parks, MD

Editor’s Note: Incoming Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) president, Michael L. Parks, MD, shared his thoughts on the future of orthopaedics and OREF’s role in moving the specialty forward through its research programs.

As orthopaedic surgeons, we are accustomed to being on the leading edge of patient care. Many of the options we offer our patients today would have seemed wholly remarkable even 20 years ago, if we had even conceived of them. These incredible advances don’t just materialize one day in a journal article or in a medical school textbook. In many, if not most, cases, they are the result of years of hard work by an investigator and his or her team, hundreds of answers to doggedly pursued questions, and millions of dollars of research.

Research has always been a critical component of medicine. Without it, a specialty stagnates. The flow of new knowledge, new treatments, and new care slows to a trickle and then dries up. As orthopaedic surgeons, we strive to not only heal our patients, but to provide the kind of care that helps patients maintain mobility and avoid disease and injury, making it more imperative than ever that we continue to support the high-quality research that will enable us to provide that kind of care.

In the coming year, as part of its mission to facilitate more of the research noted above, the OREF board will focus the foundation’s financial and intellectual resources on programs and projects that support one or more of the following strategic priorities:

  • encourage greater interaction and cooperation among orthopaedic partners
  • leverage our considerable shared resources to facilitate breakthrough orthopaedic research funding
  • identify the skills, knowledge, and technology that will move orthopaedic patient care forward

As I assumed the role of president at the OREF board meeting this past Monday, I shared my belief, and the belief of every OREF trustee, that OREF must continue to be a unifying force in orthopaedic research and that its 63 years of grant administration and fundraising experience be leveraged for the good of all of orthopaedics.

It’s more critical than ever that all of orthopaedics comes together to identify research priorities to improve patient care and establish shared goals that move each of our subspecialties forward with energy and purpose. If we commit to that action, to that level of collaboration, there is no limit to the good we can achieve for our patients and our specialty.

To further its mission, OREF is committed to exploring ways to partner with others to move the field of musculoskeletal research forward.

Michael L. Parks, MD, is president of OREF; he may be reached at president@oref.org.