Emerging Leaders Program


Applications Open: July 18, 2022
Application Deadline: August 15, 2022
Notification: August 26, 2022
Program Start: September 15, 2022


Upon completion of an orthopaedic surgeon’s clinical and academic training, many COA members hold leadership positions including roles as departments heads or principal investigators.

The objective of this Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is to better prepare COA members for these leadership roles by providing training specifically designed to aid in their careers and community engagement. The ELP will help COA members identify how they can lead more effectively and work with other leaders who may share different strengths and challenges.

With the assistance of a professional coach, active COA members may benefit from a 10-part module, including a Core Values Index (CVI) analysis and one-on-one executive coaching.

The COA ELP will ascribe to no age limit or practice limit. A selection of 10 COA active members will undergo an application process via a Selection Committee.

  • Must be a COA Active Member for at least 2 years.
  • Must attend a two-hour facilitated peer-to-peer discussion per month.
  • Must read necessary materials and principles application (2-3 hours per month).
  • Must commit to completing CVI assessment, program modules, introductory and concluding survey and one-on-one coaching sessions.
  • Must be willing to report practical feedback to COA.
  • Must demonstrate applicability for developing leadership skills in orthopaedic surgery.

Module 1 – The Core Values Index (September 2022)
Module 2  – A Coach Approach for Orthopaedic Surgeons (October 2022)
Module 3 – Practice Coaching Sessions (November 2022)
Module 4 – Effective Communication with the Surgical Care Team (December 2022)
Module 5 – Four Leadership Skills for Orthopaedic Surgeons (January 2023)
Module 6 – Leading in the Operating Room (February 2023)
Module 7 – Managing vs. Leading (March 2023)
Module 8 – Entrepreneurship and the Planning Process (April 2023)
Module 9 – Change Management and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (May 2023)
Module 10 – Leadership Styles and Application (June 2023)

Dr. Kristen Barton
Dr. Barton is an Adjunct Research Professor at Western University and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, while pursuing her orthopaedic surgery residency at Western University. She has previously completed a BSc degree in Kinesiology, a MSc degree in Kinesiology, a PhD degree in Medical Sciences, and a medical degree – all at the University of Calgary. Further to this, Dr. Barton has completed a postgraduate certificate in Surgical Leadership at Harvard University. She is passionate about developing avenues for leadership in medicine.

Mr. Gord Aker, Professional Coach
Mr. Aker is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Professional Engineer in the Province Alberta and a leader with over 25 years of organizational leadership experience in different organizations, industries and sectors. He has previously completed a B.Eng degree in Mechanical Engineering, and a M.Eng degree in Aeronautical Engineering both at Carleton University. Mr. Aker continues to explore and develop his leadership skills in his capacity as the Chair of The Military Museums Foundation. He is passionate about helping professionals discover, develop, and deploy their leadership talent as early as possible so that they can take full advantage of their career and contribution potential.

Dr. Laurie Hiemstra, Banff Sport Medicine and President of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Dr Hiemstra is a Fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon working in Banff, Canada. She holds an Associate Professor appointment at the University of Calgary. The clinical and research program in Banff is focused on knee ligament injury, prevention of secondary injury, rehabilitation and surgical outcomes with an emphasis on ACL injury and reconstruction and patellofemoral instability. Laurie is on the Board of Directors of the Patellofemoral Foundation, Banff Sport Medicine Foundation, Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA) and the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS). Laurie has published over 70 peer reviewed papers and is a national and international speaker.

Dr. Olufemi Ayeni, McMaster University and 2nd President Elect of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Dr. Ayeni is a Professor and the Academic Head of Orthopaedic Surgery at McMaster University. He is currently the medical director for the Hamilton Tiger Cats (Canadian Football League) and Forge FC (Canadian Premier League) and previously served as the assistant team physician for the New Jersey Nets (National Basketball Association). He has published over 300 academic publications in sports medicine as well as several textbooks focused on sports medicine/research. His research addressing sports medicine related injuries has been funded by major organizations (CIHR, AANA, AOSSM). He is considered a leading authority on hip injuries and conditions in the young adult as this is a substantial portion of his clinical practice. He has spoken widely across the globe on evidence based approaches to evaluate and treat hip related syndromes and other conditions.

Dr. Marcia Clark, University of Calgary
Dr. Clark is a Clinical Associate Professor and Orthopaedic Surgeon at the University of Calgary and Lead of Surgery at the South Health Campus Hospital. As an executive director with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), her work sees her travel internationally to countries including China, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to speak and advise on medical education topics. As an orthopaedic surgeon, her work focuses on surgical arthritis care and sport medicine. She is heavily involved with many athletic teams including the Canadian Alpine Ski Team medical group, Calgary Wolfpack Rugby team, University of Calgary Dinos teams, International Speed Skating, and Formula One Motor Racing (Montreal). Through her involvement with UCeed and Creative Destruction Lab Rockies, Dr. Clark provides advice and mentorship to health technology startups.

Dr. Robert Litchfield, Western University
Dr. Robert (Bob) Litchfield is Medical Director of the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic and Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario since 2002. His primary area of clinical interest is the management of activity related injuries and conditions of the shoulder and knee. He is active in several professional societies including the American Shoulder and Elbow Society, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Herodicus Society, the Arthroscopy Association of North America and the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine. As well, he is a member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team Physician Group.

Dr. Danny Goel, University of British Columbia
In addition to being a treating orthopedic physician, and professor, Dr. Danny Goel is the CEO and a co-founder at Precision OS™, a company which brings together orthopedic surgeons and high end game developers creating the most innovative, realistic and educational medical orthopedic simulator experience. While maintaining a surgical practice, Dr. Goel is also a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He is a member of the Canadian Orthopedic Association, Canadian Medical Association, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and British Columbia Medical Association, an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a member of the UBC Residency Training Committee, Codman Society, American and Canadian Shoulder Elbow Societies. Dr. Goel is fellowship trained from the University of Western Ontario and Harvard University, and has had exposure to complex shoulder tendon transfers at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

  • Complete and forward the Application Form to policy@canorth.org with an updated brief Curriculum Vitae.
  • This is a COA ELP Pilot Program, all costs associated will be deferred to the organization, and free of charge for the applicant. The Pilot Program will be offered in English only. 

ELP students will be chosen by a Selection Committee. Information included in the review for consideration will be the following: personal essays capturing interest in leadership, career trajectory and potential impact of taking the ELP. The Selection Committee is composed of members from the COA Governance slate and invited colleagues.

A Note on collecting Personal Information:
The COA is capturing the current member profile to better serve its membership and orthopaedic community. Personal information disclosed on the Application Form are for use of the Selection Committee only and will not be divulged to the public. The COA recognizes that the privacy and protection of our members’ personal and practice information is important. Please view the COA Privacy Policy for more information.

  • Certificate of Completion presented at COA Annual Meeting in 2023 (Calgary).
  • Networking Event at COA Annual Meeting 2023
Sustainability Plans:
  • Participants with 80% attendance or higher will be invited to co-develop the second iteration of the COA ELP (2023-24) and provide peer support to the second ELP class.
  • Introductory and concluding survey will be used to capture gaps in knowledge or delivery.

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