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Orthopedic Surgeons Return to their Roots at AAOS Annual Meeting

Talk about homecomings. Orthopedic surgeons worldwide are returning to the official birthplace of their professional trade group this week, gathering in Chicago, Ill., for a five-day extravaganza of continuing education, procedural workshops, scientific exhibits and new product showcases.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is holding its annual meeting in the Windy City for only the third time in its 80-year history. The 36,000-member group last met there in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina practically leveled New Orleans, La.

An estimated 32,000 AAOS members, guests, healthcare professionals and exhibitors are expected to congregate with-in the sprawling expanse of McCormick Place (the nation’s largest convention center) to take advantage of various educational resources, including 28 symposia, 825 papers, 580 posters and 217 instructional courses presented by expert faculty. More than 85 scientific exhibits on extended studies or complex procedures - as well as the AAOS Resource Center, the Orthopaedic Video Theater, the Electronic Skills Pavillion and the “Ask an Expert” sessions - will vie for participants’ attention.

“This year’s scientific program will cover all areas or orthopaedics,” Steven L. Frick, M.D., chairman of the Central Program Committee, told AAOS Now, a monthly journal published by the academy. “In addition to clinical topics, we are offering symposia on topics designed to inform attendees about issues of quality, compliance and diversity.”

Some of the more noteworthy symposia include: “Debates on the Use of BMP in Spine Surgery” (March 21, 4 p.m.- 6 p.m.); “Women as Surgeons and Patients : Obstacles and Solutions for Increasing Diversity and Improving Care” (March 22, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.); and “New Concepts Regarding Athletic Induced Mild Traumatic (Concussion) and Catastrophic Brain Injuries” (March 22, 10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.).

Meeting organizers added a special educational session this year for community orthopedists to update their know-ledge of accepted practices in treating common conditions like hip and knee re-construction, trauma surgery, and elbow and shoulder replacement. In addition, a newly expanded review course program on March 19 will help those preparing for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery’s Maintenance of Certification process. Review courses will focus on sports medicine, hand and wrist, trauma, shoulder and elbow, and spine.

Another new edition to this year’s meeting is the poster awards ceremony on March 22 that will honor the winners of the best poster in each classification as well as the winner of the overall best poster.

Many returning favorites from past meetings have been enhanced this year. The iPosters project, for instance, now features audio narration from presenters. Attendees can now listen to the presenter’s commentary and interact by sharing their thoughts, comments and questions via smartphone, tablet or computer. Though authors of posters and scientific exhibits will be on hand in person during the meeting (11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. March 20-22), the enhanced iPosters and iScientific exhibits provide author access anywhere at any time, even after the meeting’s conclusion (when the exhibits are posted online).

“I am convinced that iPosters gave our project wider exposure,” a 2012 presenter confided to AAOS Now. “I found being able to access other posters whose authors participated in iPosters to be a terrific development, especially the ability to scan, tag and download the poster for further review.”

Live streaming webcasts of symposia during the meeting will enable registrants to be in two places at once, or watch symposia after they have been present- ed. In addition, the meeting will feature an electronic skills pavilion that teaches participants ways they can make better use of their smartphones, presentation software, mobile applications and other digital tools important in today’s world.

Meeting registrants can build an itinerary of desired presentations and events through the “My Itinerary” tool on the AAOS website ( By selecting “Participant Search and Itinerary Builder” on the left-hand navigation panel, participants can view itineraries on their desktop calendars or mobile devices and can sync their itineraries with the AAOS Mobile Meeting Guide application.

One of the events participants may want to include in their itineraries is the keynote address by presidential guest speakers Alan K. Simpson and Erskine B. Bowles on March 21 in the McCormick Place Grand Ballroom. The bipartisan duo will address “America’s Debt and Deficit Crisis: Issues and Solutions.”

Simpson, a third-generation lawyer, currently is a partner in the law firm of Simpson, Kepler and Edwards, the Cody, Wis., division of Burg Simpson Eldredge, Hersh & Jardine PC. He served 13 years in the Wyoming House of Representatives, holding offices of Majority Whip, Majority Floor Leader, and Speaker Pro-Tem. The lifelong Republican was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 and served three terms; in 1984, he became Assistant Majority Leader.

Bowles is the founder and CEO of Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co., a middle-market investment banking firm. He also founded Kitty Hawk Capital, a venture capital company and co-founded Carousel Capital, a middle-market private equity company. He has served on the boards of directors of various companies, including Morgan Stanley, First Union Corporation, Merck, VF, Cousins Properties, Norfolk Southern Corporation, General Motors Corp., Belk and Facebook.

A loyal Democrat, Bowles joined the Clinton administration in 1991 as Small Business Administration director. In 1993 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff and later, Chief of Staff. While Deputy Chief of Staff, Bowles coordinated the government’s response to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; as Chief of Staff, he served on the National Security Council and National Economic Council.

In 2010, Bowles and Simpson were named co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which produced a solution (the Simpson-Bowles plan) to reduce the nation’s deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years. The duo also co-founded “The Campaign to Fix the Debt,” a nonpartisan movement to put America on a better fiscal and economic path.

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