How To Get Involved as a Young Faculty Member

Matthew Beal, MD

October 31, 2019

When you get started, first and foremost, you need to get your clinical workflow organized. However, once this starts to happen, most young faculty members are looking for some direction on opportunities that could strengthen their resume and allow their career to progress smoothly. Most of those opportunities are presented through mentorship within your individual departments. I will attempt to highlight a few opportunities that I found beneficial for my career.

Within your own hospital, committees will form that will require coverage from surgeons. These committees can be related to patient quality and outcomes, surgical equipment, and even staffing issues that occur within the department or even in the operating room. These local opportunities allow you to interact with multiple levels in the hospital including the staff that is helping you with your day-to-day workflow. By advocating for your staff you become someone that they can look to for LEADERSHIP. In addition, these opportunities sometimes give you a view of the inner workings of the operational side of running a department. If you have aspirations to advance your career to eventually being a chairman, these early opportunities can give you some insight into the decisions you will need to make later in your career.

I cannot overstate the importance of NETWORKING. You are not in this alone. There are other young faculty members at other institutions, some of whom you may know personally, that are going through the same trials and tribulations early in their career. Building consensus with these other faculty members gives you a bigger voice and can allow you to become active not only in research, but professionally through societies or regional meetings.  

In general, smaller REGIONAL MEETINGS allow you to network with faculty whom are geographically closer to you to allow you to get your name out to become more recognizable. This may involve sitting on committees, reviewing abstracts, or being at the podium. Some of the jobs you will undertake early are not the most glamorous, but if you handle the work and do a great job then more will come.

Finally, I think it is of utmost importance for young faculty members to get involved with a larger national organizations or society like the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) or the American Orthopedic Association (AOA). There are several entry portals to both organizations where you can have some impact. Find ways to become a better teacher and speaker. There are several leadership courses around the country which are put on by our national organizations. Within the AOA, the easiest entry point is through the EMERGING LEADERS PROGRAM (ELP). Again, this gets back to the networking issue and allows you to have contact with faculty to exchange ideas.   At the AAOS, there are several committees and councils that help govern the Academy and are always looking for dedicated volunteers.

DO NOT over think this.  Get involved, do the work you are handed, and build your reputation as someone who gets things done!

DISCLOSURES: AAOS- Board or committee member, American Orthopaedic Association- Board or committee member, Medacta- IP royalties; Paid consultant; Research support, National Institutes of Health (NIAMS & NICHD), Zimmer, Stryker, Mako Surgical- Research support, Zimmer- Paid consultant

Read the AAOS Discussion Group Terms, Conditions and Disclaimers HERE

Copyright© 2019 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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