AAOS will "chart a steady course," says Dr. Berry

By: Jennie McKee

By Jennie McKee

When Daniel J. Berry, MD, assumed the role of AAOS first vice president at yesterday’s Ceremonial Meeting, he pondered this question: “How do we maintain the dynamism, strength, and forward-thinking attitude that have been so good for our patients and our profession?”

To “chart a steady course,” said Dr. Berry, special emphasis must be placed on achieving four important goals.

“In the next year, the Academy will hold two workshops to explore how we can bring new technologies to bear. We need to hear from our younger members, who are at the forefront of this sea change.”

– Daniel J. Berry, MD

Responding to a “sea change”
The first goal, he said, is to continue to provide the best, most effective orthopaedic education.

“The Academy, in partnership with orthopaedic specialty societies, has provided phenomenal professional education for the past two decades, and we still do,” said Dr. Berry. “But, we can feel the sand shifting under our feet.”

Economic pressures are making it harder for members to take time away from their practices for meetings and courses, he noted. “Faster than any of us might have anticipated,” he said, “the power of the electronic environment has become glaringly apparent.”

The Academy will seize opportunities that new technologies provide, and will make “a quantum leap” in the education and information it provides.

“In the next year, the Academy will hold two workshops to explore how we can bring new technologies to bear,” he said. “We need to hear from our younger members, who are at the forefront of this sea change.”

Staying committed to advocacy
He also underscored the importance of advocating for the rights of patients and for the profession.

“Although we are not sure what form it will take, we all understand that healthcare reform will mean substantial changes to our healthcare system,” he said. “We must use the opportunities created by healthcare reform constructively.”

He noted that in the past year, AAOS President Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, and Academy staff members “worked unbelievably hard to influence healthcare reform legislation in the most positive manner.”

“At times,” he said, “I suspect we may have all felt that, despite our efforts, we could not influence the process as much as we wanted. One thing is certain: As a new system is created, we must stay deeply involved. We must insist the new system is responsive to the needs of our patients.”

Championing research
Dr. Berry then turned his attention to supporting clinical research, pointing out that one of the reasons orthopaedics is so dynamic is that it “translates science into technologies that directly help patients.

“We need to support clinical research that rises to a higher standard of evidence,” he said. “We must also leverage investments in practice guidelines to define areas for comparative effectiveness research.”

He also urged responsible and ethical collaborations with orthopaedic industry to continue developing new technologies. This work must be done, he said, in ways consistent with “our evolving understanding of conflicts of interest.”

Fostering unity
Finally, said Dr. Berry, superb education, advocacy, and research aren’t enough to accomplish all of the important goals he outlined. The Academy must use its influence and resources to maintain a strong, forward-looking orthopaedic community, despite the challenges of political and economic pressures.

“We can coordinate many efforts with our sister organizations, such as the American Orthopaedic Association, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF),” he said.

“And let’s remember the important role the Academy plays internationally,” he added, calling the AAOS Annual Meeting “a touchstone and crossroads for orthopaedics worldwide.”

“As our colleagues have shown in Haiti, our organization can help build a stronger international community for the benefit of orthopaedic patients everywhere in the world,” he said.

The future of the AAOS
Dr. Berry is honored he was chosen to help lead the Academy.

“I do not view this as an opportunity to put forth a personal agenda for our organization,” he said. “Our great leaders of the past have successfully coordinated a long-term approach for our Academy.

“I will work in close coordination with the Board of Directors and presidential line, past and future leaders, and Academy staff members to consider our strategic needs and how to get us to where we need to go during the next decade.”

Dr. Berry also acknowledged that despite the best planning, the course of leadership is often determined by events that occur.

“Our immediate needs include managing the finances of the Academy prudently, paying close attention to how we define and manage conflicts of interest, responding to healthcare reform, and embracing the quality and value movements in medicine,” he said.

Education and achievements
A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Berry completed orthopaedic surgery residencies at Harvard, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed his fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is currently a professor of orthopedics at the College of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., as well as chair of the department of orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic.

A recipient of numerous honors and accolades, including awards for clinical research from the Hip Society, the Knee Society, the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, and the OREF, Dr. Berry has been an active AAOS volunteer since 1998. He has served on numerous committees and task forces, including the American Joint Replacement Registry Oversight Board and the Continuing Medical Education Courses Committee. He has also served as a leader of the ABOS, the Hip Society, and the Mid-America Orthopaedic Association.