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Brian Cole, M.D. Discusses Leadership of AANA

by Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed.

Brian Cole, M.D., M.B.A., a Managing Partner at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago, Illinois was recently named president of The Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA). As such, he has big plans in store for the organization.

As a sports medicine surgeon, Dr. Cole knows a lot about shifting and pivoting, things that are particularly vital during the time of COVID-19. He told OSN, “AANA’s core mission is focused on education, research and fellowship training. I am blessed to be working with an amazingly talented board of directors who know they can lean on one another when necessary. As such, we have modified our hands-on learning courses to a new hybrid format that is supported by the AANA Safe Strides™ initiative and includes social distancing and safety measures ensuring the well-being of course participants and staff.” Cole indicated that AANA has “evolved toward an efficient, high-value e-learning platform that allows the timely introduction of relevant time-sensitive content.” Further, he states that AANA has “increased advocacy initiatives and developed a value-based platform to ensure the membership is getting the most that AANA can deliver in this environment.”

“Fundamentally,” says Dr. Cole, “we will be defining the needs of membership. While many needs are uniform, at times younger surgeons have needs that are unique as compared to established orthopaedic surgeons. For example, senior surgeons have largely mastered practice management, while much of it is unknown to junior surgeons. In addition, many of our younger surgeons are interested in advocacy and strategic planning.”

Dr. Cole is also Associate Chairman and Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics, Director of the Cartilage Restoration Center and head of the Orthopaedic Master’s Training Program at Rush University Medical Center. “AANA has nearly 6,000 members and we are aiming to increase that number. Because younger surgeons have new and developing needs, some of my focus will be on cultivating and mentoring young people who want to get involved with teaching and research. We are focusing on opportunities through innovative committee structures, participation and initiatives that allow direct involvement of some of the most thoughtful emerging leaders in our profession.”

The devil—and the daily practice of medicine—is in the details. Given this, Dr. Cole wants to provide concrete solutions for AANA members that will improve their daily lives. “We are increasingly offering things that impact and streamline how members run their practices. Our practice management offerings will address reputation management, coding, billing and back-office functions. The senior members of AANA have a wealth of experience in these areas and can guide younger surgeons as they learn about practice management.”

Knowing that the field would stagnate without a robust dedication to research, Dr. Cole states, “AANA will be a conduit for clinical trials and can get members involved or provide an opportunity for patients to be involved. This will be accomplished through a web-based platform that will house all relevant clinical trials where orthopaedic surgeons can become involved directly or through extending opportunities to their patients with unique problems. Historically, our journal—Arthroscopy—has been one of the top five in the field as far as impact factor. We will continue to provide grant opportunities for young investigators to commence their research efforts, as well as provide opportunities for seasoned researchers.”

And, because younger surgeons are increasingly populating the AANA Membership, Dr. Cole wants to ensure that these up-and-coming surgeons have a chance to cut their teeth in the leadership realm. “I want to make sure that any member who seeks to develop leadership qualities has ample opportunity to do so. We have numerous positions on various committees that could be a vehicle to learn about leadership.”

Dr. Cole will be handling these myriad responsibilities, in addition to his duties as Head Team Physician for the Chicago Bulls and Team Physician for the Chicago White Sox…and that’s not to mention his role as co-host of the radio show, “Sports Medicine Weekly” on 670AM The Score in Chicago.

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Elizabeth Hofheinz

Two time winner of the MORE award Ms. Hofheinz was the first writer employed by Orthopedics This Week. The MORE award is granted annually by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to recognize excellence in journalism. Ms. Hofheinz is currently the Director of Communications for Ortho Spine Partners (OSP).

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