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History of the Missouri State Orthopaedic Association

Missouri State Orthopedic Association began in 1969 at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting in Chicago in late January.

A primary goal of the AAOS was to promote the formation of state orthopaedic societies. Dr. Charlie Heck, executive director of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons contacted Lee Ford, a prominent St. Louis orthopedic surgeon and prior president of the St. Louis Orthopedic Society, and asked him to form The Missouri State Society. Lee accepted the challenge and gathered several prominent Missouri orthopedists together at the January AAOS meeting. The first Missouri State Orthopedic Association meeting convened on January 29, 1969 in the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. Present at this formative meeting were Bob Fitzgerald from Kansas City, Dan Yancy from Springfield, Garth Russell from Columbia, and Dick Lord from St. Louis. They met again later in the year to draw up the plans for the new society. Lee's wife Mary Ford recorded the minutes and prepared the bylaws and constitution. Mary had taken a course in parliamentary law while serving as president of St. Louis Medical Society Auxiliary. Dues in 1970 were $10 per year and stayed that way for about ten years. Presently dues are $400 per year.

The first formal meeting of the new association was held at the Lodge of the Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks on June 12-14, 1970. Lee Ford officiated as its first president. Ford worked hard to promote the meeting and invited orthopedists from throughout the state. However, only about 18 orthopedists came and by Sunday morning the number was down to about 15. Charlie Heck was the society's first honored guest speaker and Lee said he was quite embarrassed when Charlie spoke to such a small assembly on Sunday morning. An additional scientific speaker in 1970 was Dr. Robert Ray, the Chairman of Orthopedics at the University of Illinois. Dr. Ray's scientific lecture was on a new procedure called total hip replacement, which was "in vogue" in England.

The following year, 1971, Robert Fitzgerald from Kansas City assumed the presidency of the association and Marcus Stewart from the Campbell Clinic in Memphis was the guest speaker at the annual meeting. Story has it that at the 1971 meeting, Garth Russell had noted that the drinks, especially the scotch, seemed weak. He notified Lee Ford and Lee confiscated a bottle of scotch, took it back to St. Louis with him and had it analyzed in the hospital lab. The alcohol had been diluted and Lee notified the owner of the Lodge of Four Seasons who investigated and subsequently dismissed several of his employees.

The third president was Dr. Dan Yancy from Springfield, Missouri. Dan was also a founder of the Mid-Central States Orthopedic Society in 1952 and was the first orthopedic surgeon to practice in Missouri outside the two major metropolitan areas. Fred Tietjen of Jefferson City was the 4th president followed by William Medlicott of Kansas City.

In 1974, Dr. Dick Lord became the sixth president of the society and again held his meeting at the Lodge of the Four Seasons. Having a reception and dinner on "The Season's Queen" boat on Lake of the Ozarks became a tradition.

The first seven meetings of the State Society were held at the Lodge of the Four Seasons. After "the weak scotch scandal" the society was allowed to bring its own liquor which represented a great savings to the meetings. Garth Russell was commended for having negotiated "the scotch compromise'" with the lodge and was voted in as the 7th President. Garth was the first resident from the University of Missouri program and had a flourishing practice in Columbia, Missouri.

The membership and annual attendance grew greatly. The roster for the 1975 meeting listed 112 orthopedic surgeons with over 40 in attendance at the annual meeting. By the mid 1980's the membership reached 400 and Missouri was granted two counselors to the academy. The counselors were elected through the MSOA. Dr. Garth Russell subsequently was elected national chairman of the board of counselors. Dr. Lowry Jones Jr., MSOA President in 1996, also has served as the national president of the Board of Counselors of the Academy.

MSOA has received great support from the University of Missouri Department of Orthopaedics through the years, initially from Dr. Lynn Litton and then subsequently from Dr. William Allen who was a long-term Chairman of Orthopaedics at the University of Missouri. Dr. Allen himself frequently spoke at the state orthopedic meetings and always encouraged his residents to apply for the residency awards which they frequently won. Approximately every six years, the Missouri State Orthopedic Association would meet with the Mid-Central States Orthopedic Society. The majority of the early annual meetings were held at the Lake of the Ozarks, however occasional meetings were held either in Kansas City or St. Louis. One annual meeting was held in Springfield under the presidency of Dr. Marion Wolf in 1985. The annual meetings have always highlighted prominent guest speakers and many times original research from the state's four orthopedic residency programs.

Beginning in 1993, Osteopathic Orthopedists joined MSOA. This was an initiative of President Joseph M. Sudekum of St. Louis. Dr. Keith Frederick of Rolla was the first osteopathic orthopedist to assume the Association's presidency in 2002.

From its inception in 1969 and for many years the society was administered through the Missouri State Medical Association. Mr. Don Wilson, executive with the Missouri State Medical Society in Jefferson City was the executive secretary of MSOA for approximately 16 years. Since 1992 independent executive secretaries have led the society. Since 2002, Treece Phillips Government and Public Relations firm in Jefferson City, Missouri serve as the executive director and lobbyists for the Assocation. In 2006 TreecePhillips was honored by the AAOS as the Executive Directors of the Year. The firm continues to provide outstanding leadership for orthopedic causes at the state and federal level.

The author, Dr. Michael S. Clarke, has practiced orthopedic surgery in Springfield, Missouri since 1974. His fellowship training was at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis. He is a past president and active board member of the MSOA.

Contact Us -

Missouri State Orthopaedic Association                   Phone:  573/556-6762

P.O. Box 2124

Jefferson City, MO  65102                                             Email:

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