Bem-vindo, Brasil!

By Carolyn Rogers

AAOS welcomes Brazil, Guest Nation 2009

If it seems that “Brazil” is emblazoned on an unusual number of badges this year—you aren’t imagining things. This year’s Guest Nation has nearly 400 members of the Brazilian Orthopaedic Society (Sociedade Brasileira de Ortopedia e Traumatologia, or SBOT) in Las Vegas to observe, learn, and share knowledge and experiences with orthopaedic colleagues from around the world.

Established in 2005, the AAOS Guest Nation Program recognizes the contributions and achievements of the global orthopaedic community. Each year, during the Annual Meeting, a series of activities focuses on the achievements of the Guest Nation, as well as the issues con­front­ing the practice of ortho­paedics and patient care in that country.

Why Brazil?

“SBOT and AAOS have cooperated for many years,” explains Miguel E. Cabanela, MD, outgoing chair of the International Committee. Recent AAOS-SBOT cooperative ventures include several instructional courses presented by AAOS leaders in Brazil. SBOT also translates the Journal of the AAOS into Portuguese for its members and has translated other Academy books and materials as well.

As of November 2008, Brazil had the largest contingent of AAOS International Affiliate Members—734. The impressive accomplishments of Brazilian orthopaedic surgeons and the ambitious programs and activities of the SBOT organization were also key to its selection as Guest Nation.

Romeu Krause Gonçalves, MD (left), accepts the Guest Nation award from Miguel E. Cabanela, MD.

“Dynamic, modern, forward-looking”

SBOT is a recognized leader among the country’s medical societies and was recently named “most active” of the country’s 52 specialty societies by the Brazilian Medical Association. This reputation is due, in part, to its highly successful public health campaigns and advocacy efforts.

“Our society is very active politically—lobbying politicians and developing relationships with senators, deputies [representatives], and ministers of transportation, health, and justice,” explains 2007 SBOT President Marcos Musafir, MD, now medical officer for the Department of Violence and Injury Prevention at the World Health Organization. “We’re very involved in improving the quality of orthopaedic care, as well as the quality of life for the patient.”

Road safety campaign saves lives

SBOT extends its education mission beyond the membership to the general public. The association’s influential public health campaigns address osteoporosis prevention, scoliosis testing and awareness, fall prevention, and identifying abused and neglected children.

SBOT initiated its first public education efforts in 1990, with a road safety campaign encouraging the use of seatbelts. The society’s leaders also pressured the government to enact a seatbelt law. Two years later, SBOT stepped up its road safety efforts with an ambitious, long-term campaign to change the attitudes and behavior of Brazilian drivers. As a result, fatalities due to high-energy crashes have decreased by 48 percent; injuries have dropped by 28 percent.

“A model of organization, precision”

Nearly 6,000 Brazilian orthopaedic surgeons attended the Society’s 2008 Annual Congress (CBOT)—the largest industry and scientific orthopaedic program in Latin America.

Joining them was Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, AAOS first vice president, who presented two lectures and recalled the visit as extraordinary. “Orthopaedic surgeons in Brazil should be very proud of the innovative care they provide to their patients,” he said.

As the largest industry and scientific orthopaedic program in Latin America—with more than 100 technical exhibitors, numerous symposia, 150 electronic posters, and nearly 350 podium and poster presentations—the CBOT is “a smaller version of the AAOS Annual Meeting,” explains Lisa Cohen, manager of international education programs.

During the 2008 CBOT, the Society provided AAOS with a large, free exhibit that drew nearly 1,000 physician visitors over the course of the meeting. To promote Brazil’s role as Guest Nation at the 2009 Annual Meeting, the AAOS offered a special discount for AAOS international affiliate membership. By the meeting’s end, 400 Brazilian orthopaedists had joined, doubling the number of members from Brazil in just three days.

Guest Nation events

Brazil received special recognition during the opening ceremonies and will be honored throughout the meeting, both at a private reception and at the Guest Nation booth.

The 2009 SBOT president, Romeu Krause Gonçalves, MD, was recognized at yesterday’s International President’s Breakfast. In addition, this year’s international symposium—“International Controversies in the Management of Basic Spine Problems”—will feature two American and three Brazilian orthopaedists, including Dr. Krause as co-moderator. The speakers will com­pare and contrast the cultural and environmental differences in treatment approaches. The symposium will take place on Friday from 1:30-3:30 p.m., in Venetian Ballroom G.

The Guest Nation booth is located in the Venetian Foyer West, Level 2, just outside the Venetian Ballroom. It features videos that highlight both the country of Brazil, and the SBOT’s influential public education campaigns.

Members of the SBOT leadership will be available much of the time to talk about the healthcare system in Brazil, the society’s public education campaigns, the 2009 SBOT Congress in Rio de Janeiro, or to answer any questions you might have.

“We are here to learn from the AAOS, and to showcase our society,” he says. “We wish to increase the exchange of information, technology, and scientific knowledge; to improve as a society and as members of this huge world of orthopaedic surgery.”