Celebrating Associations is a weekly blog produced by .orgCommunity, celebrating the achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.
Association and History: Nearly 2,000 members worldwide belong to the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA), which has been shaping musculoskeletal injury care for 32 years. The Rosemont, Ill.-based association provides the most current information on diagnosis, optimum treatments and ways to treat and prevent traumatic musculoskeletal injury to bone, muscle, ligaments, tendons and the spinal cord. In 2015, OTA transitioned from third-party management to being self-managed. OTA now experiences more independence for initiating complex business administrative projects and developing alliances.
About its Members: OTA represents orthopaedic trauma surgeons, as well as researchers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, residents and fellows.
We’re Celebrating at the OTA Because … of its many meaningful collaborations with other groups that are advancing OTA, the specialty and the orthopaedic field as a whole.
We’ll learn more about OTA’s inter-organizational collaboration in an interview with OTA Executive Director Kathleen Caswell, CAE.
Q: What’s a particular challenge that OTA faces?
A: Our members are highly engaged, really forward-thinking people. They have more great ideas than we can possibly keep up with. We are a small association, with only seven full-time and three part-time staff. To overcome unlimited resources in staff and funding, we’ve entered a number of partnerships. These partnerships make it possible for us to do things we may not be able to do alone.
Q: What are some of these partnerships, and how are they beneficial to OTA and its members?
A: There are six examples I’ll share of partnerships that help move our mission forward.
- PSAs. OTA partners with American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to increase awareness about a variety of safety topics through jointly funded public service announcements ranging from motorcycle and ATV safety to distracted driving and falling prevention. With both societies’ logos attached to the PSAs, the messages are more impactful and more credible.
- Research grants. Research and education are core to OTA’s mission. Through multi-center projects and multi-organizational funding, OTA can help with offering larger grants that support members with cutting-edge research leading to breakthroughs addressing orthopaedic trauma. OTA along with the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), AO Foundation, Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons (SOMOS), among others, pull resources to support research to improve function, eliminate pain, and restore mobility that individual organizations couldn’t fund on their own.
- Disaster preparedness and response. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, OTA joined forces with several specialty organizations, including AAOS, SOMOS and POSNA to leverage their expertise and help the field better prepare for and respond to disaster situations. The team provides a customized, orthopaedic-specific training course to help prepare members for service in disaster situations. The project team also helped create and populate the AAOS-Registered Responder Database, which connects trained volunteers with response agencies in the event of a disaster. Through the recent escalation of mass casualty events and terrorism, the Disaster Preparedness Project Team realized an even greater need for a more organized approach to disaster response, and is working to identify opportunity to strengthen and improve disaster preparedness into the future.
- International knowledge exchange. OTA initiated a “Guest Nation” program in 2011 for sharing knowledge and experience with international colleagues. For example, the OTA entered a destination program with the Indian Orthopeadic Association (IOA) in 2015: OTA members delivered an education trauma presentation at the IOA’s annual meeting in December. In return, representatives from IOA will participate as symposium presenters at the OTA Annual Meeting in October. OTA is providing complimentary meeting registration and booth space for IOA and is offering a one-year complimentary membership to interested colleagues from India provided that they meet the current membership requirements. Since 2011, similar arrangements were made with organizations in Germany, Brazil, China, Mexico and Italy.
- Advanced education. Sometimes these alliances are as simple as partnering with one specialty group. During the AAOS Specialty Day in March, the OTA and the American Orthopeadic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) will take part in a half-day joint session and offer scientific programming relevant to both audiences.
- Scholarship offerings. OTA partners with SIGN Fracture Care International—a humanitarian group assisting orthopaedic surgeons in 52 developing countries with surgical implants and training. Each year, two SIGN scholars receive a $10,000 scholarship to attend the OTA Annual Meeting. A SIGN fracture lab is also offered at the OTA Annual Meeting.
Q: Who gets the credit for recognizing these opportunities to collaborate?
A: The leadership of both the OTA and partnering organizations—which includes many doctors who are also great visionaries. And some credit also goes to the staff offices, who implement the initiatives.
Q: If you could wave a magic wand and accomplish or obtain anything for OTA, what would it be?
A: It would be increased resources to allow us to move forward with all the great ideas from the OTA leadership and membership. There are more ideas and initiatives than there is funding and manpower.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing associations over the next 10 years?
A: Member engagement of younger generations and making sure what you offer is relevant and meaningful. You must demonstrate how you are changing with the times. Also, funding is a challenge—whether those resources come from the industry, government or dues-paying individuals—and probably will continue to be a challenge.
Q: What do you enjoy most working for OTA?
A: The work the field does is meaningful and important. We work with a passionate group of doctors that continues to raise the bar for the type of care they provide to patients. Their passion is contagious.
Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its industry or for its operations? Contact email@example.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed.
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