OREF is a community of giving

Ramon L. Jimenez, MD, wants colleagues who may not be involved with research and education to follow his lead and give back to their profession.

“Having grown up in the early stages of total joint replacement and arthroscopy, I appreciate how basic research led to the successful treatment of patients in a clinical setting,” he said. “When the opportunity to become involved with the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) arose, I decided to give back.”

Dr. Jimenez began his medical career on a path toward cardiovascular surgery, but when he tried an orthopaedic rotation, he found the ability to return patients to full function after injury very rewarding.

Ramon L. Jimenez, MD

“In orthopaedics, you are presented with an injured patient. You operate on them and then rehabilitate them to their pre-injury state. It is very satisfying to watch them return to good musculoskeletal health,” he said.

He estimates that he has performed more than 3,000 joint replacements and credits researchers, some of whom began their investigations with OREF funding, for leading the way.

Giving back
Through AAOS meetings and conversations with colleagues, Dr. Jimenez decided that OREF would be a good conduit for his philanthropy. He has been contributing to OREF for more than 20 years. In 2005, he became an Alfred R. Shands Jr., MD Circle member. His Shands Circle–level commitment will continue to fund research and education for future generations, but OREF funding for current research and educational programs depends on the foundation’s Annual Campaign.

Dr. Jimenez—who is currently vice chair, development, for OREF—wants to convince those he terms “community orthopaedists,” with no particular affinity for research, of the value of OREF grants and awards and the need to contribute. Of the approximately 20,000 AAOS fellows, about 80 percent meet that definition.

If 2,000 fellows support OREF at the Order of Merit level ($1,000 or more each year), OREF would have $2 million more to fund research and educational projects this year and in years to come, he says.

Evolving orthopaedics
Dr. Jimenez reminds orthopaedists that their knowledge and skills are based directly and indirectly on education and research, and that both are important in continuing to help orthopaedics evolve.

“They’ll have to agree that orthopaedics has been good to them, and it has been good to their patients,” he said. “For orthopaedists to stay at the forefront of medicine and continue to benefit patients, our specialty needs funding for research and particularly for educational programs.

“If OREF explores the avenues for education—fellowships, continuing medical education courses, or other opportunities—it will continue to be strong,” he added.

Diversity increases competency
As the 2009 AAOS Diversity Award winner, Dr. Jimenez believes that orthopaedists should be a diverse group. Diversity within the group, he said, leads to diversity of ideas.

“We need to provide culturally competent care by teaching individual orthopaedic surgeons how to relate to patients and colleagues who are from different races, ethnicities, genders, and cultures. If you can treat a patient in a culturally competent manner, you surely treat them better,” he said.

Between increasing diversity and encouraging others to support OREF, Dr. Jimenez hopes he can help his specialty thrive.

“For me, orthopaedics has been a great career. I love it, and although I’m semi-retired and don’t operate anymore, I still enjoy taking care of patients. I still get a zing from a successful patient-physician interaction. By encouraging others to contribute to OREF, I can give orthopaedics something in return.”