Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed.
Medacta USA, an orthopedic manufacturer with an uncommon dedication to surgeon education, has teamed up with the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), to launch the 2020 Medacta Challenge campaign. The program, now in its fifth year, encourages residents and fellows to engage in charitable giving at an early stage in their careers.
“We are thrilled to be working with the OREF in reaching young surgeons as they create the future of our field via research,” stated Medacta USA president, Eric Dremel. “Ours is an ideal partnership in that the OREF undertakes the fundraising and Medacta helps to promote this impactful annual campaign. In addition, we are reaching out to residency programs and program chairs in order to further demonstrate the role of the OREF.”
And it is working. To date, Medacta USA has helped raise more than $500,000 to support OREF research through the Medacta Challenge, direct funding for OREF research, and personal contributions from Medacta USA leadership.
OREF’s CEO Lee Grossman stated, “This partnership gives OREF the opportunity to expand upon our mission to reach young clinicians and educate them about the meaningful difference that OREF makes. It also helps us reach a larger audience and show how OREF is expanding the role of research in improving clinical outcomes.”
OREF, which has funded approximately 4,700 grants and awards since 1955, supports multispecialty research and frequently collaborates with other orthopaedic organizations. “Orthopaedics has a dearth of research in comparison to other medical specialties,” said Grossman. “We are trying to move that needle and currently are managing 131 individual research projects, which correlates to $8.5 million dollars.”
OREF Board of Trustees President, Richard Kyle, M.D. stated, “A primary mission of the OREF is to support researchers as they generate data needed to secure larger funding from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In fact, there is evidence that we are on track, with a 2017 study demonstrating a 22% conversion rate that compares favorably to the overall NIH funding success rate of 18% (2014). Particularly impressive was that 46% of 41 Career Development Grant winners later received NIH funding compared with 12% of 85 other award winners.”
“Medacta has a gift for getting trainees involved in research early on and helping them understand its true value,” added Dr. Kyle. “This way, these individuals are on the fast track for education and are likely to be engaged in research for their entire careers. This is vital as research is the engine that drives clinical practice.”
“There is a high chance that anyone who walks into an orthopaedic clinic will be the beneficiary of some research that has been supported by OREF. There is just an incredible amount of information developed through research that directly impacts patient care—and patient care is our top priority.”
Regarding the issue of research being cumulative, Dr. Kyle noted, “OREF educates young researchers and gives smaller grants to young residents and fellows, which opens their eyes to research. Many of them go on to engage in a much larger research project with NIH funding and other large funding areas within their institutions.”
“In addition, OREF does its utmost to highlight our funded research projects at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Often, the most impactful research receives an award from AAOS, with some projects being featured in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
Another way that OREF generates interest in research is via its annual symposia. Lee Grossman: “We sponsor numerous resident symposia each year that are hosted by rotating medical centers. These include a competition where we receive roughly 70 research proposals submissions per event, with the best 25 proposals being chosen through a peer review process. I have been pleasantly surprised by how many residents have told me that prior to attending an OREF symposium they were not drawn to research, but that the event had ‘lit a fire’ in them.”
Dr. Kyle added, “OREF is collaborative in nature. Not only do we work with the 21 different orthopaedic specialty societies, but we are cognizant of the other fields that touch orthopaedics. Working with the Orthopaedic Trauma Association and the Department of Defense, we have raised money through the War Extremity Program to allow for rapid care delivery in the field, followed by transport to Germany within 24 hours.”
And the research on osteoarthritis and post-traumatic arthritis saves millions of healthcare dollars down the road. Dr. Kyle stated, “When I began my career, if someone broke a femur then he or she would be in the hospital and in traction for 4-6 weeks. Often, they would end up with a stiff knee and sometimes a deformity. Thanks to OREF-supported research on intramedullary rods, now a broken femur can be repaired with a rod and the person can leave the hospital in 1-2 days and return to work within 2-3 weeks. That is an astounding economic impact on the nation’s healthcare budget.”
Commenting on the longevity of the partnership between Medacta and OREF, Eric Dremel noted, “Because one of Medacta’s core values is medical education, the concept of matching residents’ and fellows’ gifts to OREF through the Medacta Challenge dovetails perfectly with that core value.”
Curiosity drives OREF, OREF drives research, and research drives patient care.
Curious residents and fellows, please explore the Medacta Challenge by visiting http://www.oref.org/residents.