SALIDA, Colo.-Robert Hunter, M.D., director of the Orthopedic Center of Excellence at
Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, is working to expand opportunities
for continuing education for military orthopedic surgeons.
As a board member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA),
Dr. Hunter has been instrumental in developing an annual course designed
to provide military orthopedic surgeons with cutting edge, hands-on experience
with the latest arthroscopic surgical techniques. Arthroscopy is a minimally
invasive surgical procedure on a joint using an arthroscope, which is
inserted in the joint through a small incision.
This initiative began in 2010 when the Society of Military Orthopaedic
Surgeons (SOMOS) approached AANA for help training their active-duty orthopedic
surgeons and residents in arthroscopic surgery. "AANA has provided
a once per year course since then-with the exception of 2013 when sequestration
made all military travel and training impossible-combining both didactic
lecture and cadaveric laboratory exercise," said Dr. Hunter.
"AANA has fully funded this course so it can be offered at no charge
to military attendees," continue
Dr. Hunter, who is on the teaching faculty for the course. "This effort
has been met with wonderful praise and gratitude from our military colleagues
but we are only touching 48 surgeons once per year, which is the capacity
of our learning center in Chicago, when there are 400 to 500 orthopedic
surgeons on active duty with teaching needs and desires that could be
addressed by AANA."
As chairman of AANA's Development Committee, Dr. Hunter was entrusted
with find a funding source that would allow the organization to expand
its commitment beyond a once per year weekend course.
"We have been working over the past 18 months to gain access to Department
of Defense (DOD) funding by introducing legislation to allocate DOD funds
towards physician education with particular focus on arthroscopy,"
said Dr. Hunter. "As of June 1, we have successfully introduced language
in both Senate and House defense appropriations bills thanks to a very
concerted effort to gain support from Senate and House members. Although
there is a great deal more to do before we can actually expand our teaching
efforts, we are well on the way to succeeding with our mission: to improve
the quality of care provided to our active duty troops and their dependents."
In addition to his work with AANA, Dr. Hunter lectures around the world
and has published more than 40 articles in refereed journals on sports
medicine topics. He sees patients at the HRRMC Medical Clinics in Salida
and can be reached at 719-530-2000.