President’s Message

Entering the Winter Season …. An Update

John Antoniou M.D., PhD, FRCSC
President, Canadian Orthopaedic Association

As we settle into another Canadian winter, Johanna and I have enjoyed a very busy fall travel season returning from informative meetings in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Our respective hosts were extremely gracious and all society meetings raised thought-provoking themes and discussions.

During a symposium at the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) meeting, the Carousel Presidents were asked to discuss the role of physician assistants in our respective countries.. Canada currently has the lowest concentration of orthopaedic surgeons per 100,000 population in the Western world (3.6/100k), which is less than half that in the US, and a far cry from Sweden (19.5/100k). We need to continue advocating for increased resources from our government to help employ our graduating residents.  A continued inclusion of physician extenders is critical to delivering orthopaedic care in Canada.

At the Australian Orthopaedic Association meeting, we discussed spiralling health-care costs around the world with varied system performances. Canada spends 10% of its GDP on health care, yet ranks 9th of 11 industrialized nations when it comes to markers of performance. This compares poorly to Australia’s 9% of GDP with a number two ranking. We have ample room to improve our system’s efficiency, and must learn from our counterparts. Also revealed at the AOA meeting was the latest registry data. It is becoming clear that the revision burden is diminishing overall, as we improve our implant choices. One apparent outlier is the increasing revision rates for infection in the obese population. We must continue advocating and informing our patients about the consequences of the rising obesity rates around the world.

The COA’s 2019 Annual Meeting planning committee met recently to develop next year’s COA and ICORS meeting programs.  The event promises to be very stimulating and well attended, with participants and speakers attending from around the world to share knowledge, research, and developments in the field of orthopaedics. Please click here for a list of this year’s invited guest speakers.  Next year’s program will also feature a compelling symposium where Carousel Presidents address the important topic of identifying and managing surgeon under-performance and competence. The ICORS program will feature keynote lecturers within many of the various paper sessions, along with 38 workshops hosted by the ICORS member societies like the ORS and EORS. In a special Closing Ceremony, leaders in orthopaedic research from around the world will be honoured with a Fellow of International Orthopaedic Research (FIOR) designation.  Fifteen CORS members will be recognized as FIORs at the 2019 meeting, and a special debate and panel discussion among international FIOR members will also be included in the program.  With over 1000 abstracts submitted, this is expected to be the largest and most educational combined meeting yet!  Abstract notifications have been sent out to all submitters and registration will open in January.  Please contact meetings@canorth.org if you have any questions about your podium or poster presentation.

The COA’s Executive, Board of Directors, and various committees will be meeting in early January at the Mid-Winter Meeting to discuss important new initiatives and projects. These conversations include the results of the physician wellness survey that was distributed last month to COA members.

A number of leadership and mentorship programs will also be launched in 2019.  A session for local women medical students will take place at the Annual Meeting where students from McGill University and Université de Montréal are invited to participate in a session led by female faculty.  The session is meant to provide more exposure to the specialty, debunk myths, answer questions, and encourage discussion.  Confirmed faculty thus far include Drs. Magda Tarchala and Monika Volesky from McGill, Drs. Sophie Mottard and Veronique Drapeau-Zgoralski from Université de Montréal. We hope to offer this program to local students at every Annual Meeting.  Please have a look through the second installment of our spotlight on women leaders in the specialty by clicking here.  A different member will be featured in each edition of COA Bulletin.

2019 will be filled with exciting new projects, initiatives and programs, and I encourage your involvement, engagement, and participation throughout the year.