Inaugural AO Trauma NA fellows forum provides valuable experiences for fellows, faculty alike

Attendees share their thoughts on the first event of this kind hosted by AO Trauma NA

17 June 2021

Socializing, connecting, but “really so much more” 

In a year where most in-person courses and events were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, fellows and program directors alike were extremely grateful to have the time and space to learn, network, and share experiences. With two dinners, two receptions, and a boat ride, the first AO Trauma NA Fellows Forum included a variety of occasions for attendees to interact and spend time together, and the smaller group size, nearly 1:1 program directors-to-fellows, meant that interactions could be worthwhile for all. 

One program director, Roman M. Natoli, MD, PhD, describes the value of these connections. “I’m only five years into practice and I wish something like this existed when I was a fellow. There was ample mentoring to be had! It was also great to sit with other PDs and faculty at different programs to exchange ideas about AO.”

Our fellows said

  • “The social events and awards dinner were not to be outdone and were a great way to end each day.” Brandon G. Wilkinson, MD
  • “Being able to interact and connect with other fellows and faculty was one of the best parts. This is a small community and missing out on the past year’s meetings and courses was really unfortunate.” Michelle Gosselin, MD

Other comments from program directors include

  • “The social aspect and connection were the high point, as intended.” Christopher McAndrew, MD, MSc
  • “The real highlight was engaging with fellows from around the country and developing relationships. I guess this would fall under ‘social aspect’ or ‘connections,’ but it was really so much more.” Roman M. Natoli, MD, PhD 

Can’t get enough case discussions, especially regarding complications

Managing surgical complications, and delivering the bad news often associated with them, is an indispensable part of surgical practice. For this reason, case-based discussions on the topic were a key feature of the forum, as program directors shared experiences regarding complications and reviewed recommended techniques for delivering bad news. Fellows and program directors agree that these discussions were highly beneficial and could have been expanded upon further.

Our fellows said

  • “I particularly liked the complication session and would have liked to have gone over a couple more.” Nicole Stevens, MD
  • “Small group case discussions are fantastic.  We can do those all day and I think incorporating a little bit more of them would be awesome.” Michelle Gosselin, MD
  • “I also enjoyed the case discussions, in particular, the How to Manage Complications session.” Andrew Mills, MD

Our program directors said

  • “Case discussions were great, should have had more time allocated to them.” Meir Marmor, MD

Non-clinical lectures provide valuable career insights

Final-year residents are in high demand in the United States. Transitioning to independent practice is a major step, and there are many concerns surrounding the subject. The forum provided an opportunity for fellows to discuss this issue and get career advice from recent graduates and attending physicians on topics such as earning a good income, educational debt, work-life balance, insufficient practice management knowledge, and dealing with payers.

Our fellows said

  • “The fresh attendings talking about their experience was very helpful.” Nicole Stevens, MD
  • “The lecture by Chip Routt was great, as well as the one about your first year in practice and the demands of academic time.” Andrew Mills, MD

Our program directors said

  • “Lectures by late-career AO members on career and life advice were excellent.” Meir Marmor, MD
  • “The lectures were excellent, really providing some insight into the transition to independent practice.” Roman M. Natoli, MD, PhD


Diverse, well-executed, and well-paced programming

Kudos to the AO NA staff involved in the project, especially Andrea McClimon and Carol Yambrick, for arranging an event that, according to our fellows, provided a wealth of different activities and opportunities to learn and relax together.

Our fellows said

  • “Excellent mix of lectures, discussion, and down time for networking.” Nicole Stevens, MD
  • “Despite COVID, it was simply one of the best conferences I have attended.  The whole event was professional, impressively planned, and even better ran from start to finish.” Brandon G. Wilkinson, MD 

Related pages

AO Trauma NA

Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.