AAOS forges international educational partnerships

Improving orthopaedic skills is a worldwide goal
Nearly 80 presidents of international orthopaedic organizations gathered yesterday to celebrate orthopaedic education efforts. At the International Presidents’ Breakfast, AAOS President James H. Beaty, MD, recognized the contributions to orthopaedics made by individuals from around the world, and noted that many of these innovations have been incorporated in the AAOS 75th Anniversary exhibits.

“We see the 75th Anniversary of the AAOS as a celebration of orthopaedics worldwide,” said Dr. Beaty, who encouraged all those attending to take the time to visit the many exhibits tied to the anniversary program.

Miguel E. Cabanela, MD, chair of the AAOS International Committee, put education in focus as he described a new initiative by the AAOS and American specialty societies that would provide basic and advanced training for surgeons in West Africa, where 80 percent of orthopaedic surgeries are trauma-related. He also introduced two local organizing committee members from Ghana—Drs. Abednego Ofori Addo and Henry Holdbrook-Smith.

A new initiative for West Africa brought Dr. Henry Holdbrook-Smith, James H. Beaty, MD, AAOS president, and Dr. Abednego Ofori Addo together at the International Presidents Breakfast.

International OLC
Patricia Cichlar, RN, executive director of the Orthopaedic Learning Center (OLC) in Rosemont, Ill., discussed the development of orthopaedic education, specifically for arthroscopic procedures. Early efforts, she said, employed vases, spider mums, and punched plastic to give surgeons-in-training a chance to learn how to use arthroscopic tools. These were replaced by plastic or animal models, as well as cadaveric models. Today, the OLC uses simulators as well as models in training.

With high-definition electronics, the OLC is able transmit lectures across the country and around the world.

A prime example of its versatility is the joint course sponsored by the AAOS and the Italian Arthroscopy Society, said Pietro N. Tonino, MD. Six programs have been conducted during the past 4 years, with more than 350 participants. With a ratio of one instructor for every two students, the lab/lecture course includes lecture, demonstration, dry-lab, and cadaver training.

“There are challenges,” admitted Dr. Tonino, who numbered cost, language, and finding good faculty among them. He emphasized that international societies would need a liaison in the United States and that support from industry and the society leadership is critical. But the exposure to multinational experts and the social interaction make such programs very beneficial.

International BJD
The session closed with a plea from Dr. Marcos Musafir, representing the International Bone and Joint Decade (BJD), for help in drawing attention to the global effects of road traffic accidents. More than 1.5 million people die in road traffic accidents each year—many of them youths. The BJD is hoping to establish an office in Geneva, Switzerland, as a headquarters for this initiative.