A local orthopedic surgeon and joint replacement specialist has gained
national recognition as an “emerging leader” among his peers.
In the process, he has increased other leading orthopedic specialists’
awareness of the Tri-City community and the services offered through the
Institute for Joint Restoration and Research (IJRR) at Washington Hospital.
Earlier this year, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
named Alexander Sah, MD, to its 2016-2017 AAOS Leadership Fellows Program
(LFP). The LFP identifies outstanding young orthopedic surgeons to encourage
and prepare them for greater roles of leadership in the field of orthopedics.
Co-director of the IJRR, Dr. Sah is one of only 10 specialists in the
nation selected for the prestigious program.
As part of his LFP involvement, Dr. Sah participated in the AAOS National
Orthopaedic Leadership Conference held May, 4 to 7, in Washington, D.C.
The conference focused on various national legislative issues that impact
orthopedic service providers and their patients, including:
The Flexibility in Electronic Health Record (EHR) Reporting Act, which addresses the time available to plan for and implement systems
and infrastructure changes required by the EHR beginning January 1, 2017.
The Healthy Inpatient Procedures Act, which would affect the Medicare reimbursement model for hip and knee
The Protecting Access, Competition and Equity Act for Physician-Owned Hospitals, which addresses the expansion of physician-owned hospitals and patient
access to care.
The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, which would provide legal protection for traveling sports medicine professionals
and allow them to practice in “secondary states” outside their
primary state of licensure.
“This was a fascinating experience in learning how to work with national
leaders in my field and federal legislators to improve medical care,”
notes Dr. Sah, who also is medical director of the Outpatient Joint Replacement
Program at Washington Hospital. “The 10 members of the LFP group
had the opportunity to meet with the presidential line of the AAOS and
gain insight to the leadership aspects of the organization. We then met
in groups with various legislators and their staff members to discuss
these legislative acts.”
Dr. Sah was able to meet with staff members for Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
(D-CA, 18th District), Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA, 2nd District)
and Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA, 17th District). Dr. Sah also met with
Wendell Primus, senior policy advisor on health issues to House Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, 12th District). In addition, Dr. Sah met with
AAOS President Gerald Williams, MD, and AAOS Second Vice President David
Halsey, MD, to discuss their leadership experiences and recommendations
for leadership opportunities for LPF fellows.
“It was amazing how the members and leaders of the AAOS recognize
the LFP fellows as future leaders and would go out of their way to meet
and share their knowledge with the 10 of us,” says Dr. Sah. “We
recognize that this was a privilege and a unique opportunity.”
In late June, Dr. Sah attended the 129th Annual Meeting of the American
Orthopaedic Association (AOA) in Seattle, Washington. Speakers at the
event in Seattle addressed topics such as leadership techniques, the opioid
epidemic, delivery of care via tele-health and the role of orthopedics
in managing population health.
Dr. Sah also participated in the Emerging Leaders Forum that took place
in conjunction with the AOA Annual Meeting. The forum offered members
of the Emerging Leaders Program of the AOA the opportunity to discuss
various aspects of leadership development, such as “Developing and
Leading a Team” and “Managing Personalities and Organizations
Founded in 1887, the AOA was the first orthopedic association in the world,
and its members were largely responsible for the development of orthopedics
as a discipline separate from general surgery.
“The AOA focuses heavily on leadership development,” says Dr.
Sah. “Participating in their annual meeting and the Emerging Leaders
Forum helped me learn about how the AOA works. It also helped me appreciate
the importance of being involved in other orthopedic organizations, such
as the California Orthopaedic Association.”
Dr. Sah’s involvement with the California Orthopaedic Association
currently includes serving as program co-chair for the 2017 Annual Meeting,
scheduled for May 18 – 27, 2017, in San Diego. In addition, Dr.
Sah was elected to the nominating committee, which is responsible for
selecting the leaders of the organization for the coming year.
“My recent experiences as an LFP fellow have given me great exposure
to leaders in orthopedics throughout the country,” says Dr. Sah.
“That exposure also benefits Washington Hospital and our community.
For example, in talking with orthopedic surgeons at the conference in
Washington, D.C., I was able to share with them the services and research
offered by the IJRR at Washington Hospital. This has increased the visibility
and recognition of the contributions our programs have made through clinical
practice and research.”
Dr. Sah says his involvement in these leadership programs also has made
a difference in his ability to provide the best quality of care for his
own patients in the local community.
“Being involved in these organizations allows me to become an advocate
for patients and to speak up for patients’ needs and their rights,”
he explains. “There’s an old adage that says, ‘If you’re
not at the table, then you’re on the menu.’ My involvement
with these organizations puts me at the table on behalf of my patients,
and it is exciting to participate on a national level in improving patient
care, which also directly affects patients in our own community.
“These events allow us to share our own experiences – both
positive and negative – with other experts in orthopedic surgery
and joint replacement,” he adds. “Then each of us can take
steps to advance the quality of care for our own patients. Leadership
and teamwork require continual improvement to remain current and to achieve
optimal outcomes. As proud as we are of our current programs at the IJRR,
we are always trying to improve, and these interactions with colleagues
across the nation give me a different perspective and knowledge that I
wouldn’t have otherwise.”