|Three members of TOA’s Residency Council – Max Danilevch, MD (UTMB), Jacob Murphree, MD (Texas Tech) and Joey Romero, MD (UT Southwestern) joined the Texas Orthopaedic Association for its annual trip to meet with the Texas Congressional Delegation on Capitol Hill in June 2018.
The three orthopaedic surgeons had an opportunity to meet with numerous Members of Congress on opioids, surgical hospitals, bundled payments, and other key issues that affect the musculoskeletal health of Texas patients.
The following is a Q&A that TOA conducted with the three residents.
TOA: Why did you decide to get involved with TOA’s Resident Council and its trip to Washington, DC?
Max Danilevich: I’ve always had an interest in how policy was created and molded by politicians and physicians, but I had little idea how to get involved, until I was approached by another resident (now practicing orthopaedic surgeon), Eugene Stautberg. I jumped at the opportunity to join the council, and I’m glad I did. It’s been a great way to learn and politically contribute to orthopaedics on a local and national level.
Jacob Muphree: Prior to being involved in the TOA, I did not understand what the organization was about. I simply thought it was a conference that occurred once a year. After being approached by a former member of the resident leadership council, I decided to join forces with the TOA. It was in the quarterly meetings that I found out the TOA is so much more than just a conference. It’s a group of orthopaedic surgeons who have come together to ensure that our field is well advocated for in the political world. The organization took me along with them to Washington, DC in 2017 for a trip to Capitol Hill to discuss the current hot topics in orthopaedics. I was a little overwhelmed on my first visit. Thankfully, I was invited to go again this year. I was much more comfortable this trip and was able to contribute in the discussions with the congressmen.
Joey Romero: A previous member of the Resident Council, Eugene Stautberg, MD, invited me to a TOA meeting in Austin. The meeting provided useful insight into current legislative issues affecting orthopaedics and motivated me to seek involvement as a member of the council.
TOA: What was your impression of the trip to Washington, DC?
Max Danilevich: This trip was an amazing experience. Being in DC opens up your eyes to how much is going on at once in terms of the sheer number of people and number of issues being discussed. It was extraordinary to be able to sit down with politicians and discuss face-to-face the issues that will affect the entire specialty of orthopaedics.
Jacob Murphree: I have really enjoyed my time with the TOA as a resident member. It has shown me the importance of being politically active for things that matter to you. I plan on continuing being involved in advocacy on the state and national level after I graduate.
Joey Romero: Ultimately, I hope to continue involvement in orthopaedic advocacy on a state level with the TOA and the national level with AAOS. Resident education, regional access to care, and value-based care initiatives in arthroplasty are the issues that I plan to be most involved in throughout my career.
TOA: What are your future plans?
Max Danilevich: I plan on continuing to be involved in the TOA Leadership Council throughout residency, and I hope to stay involved as I begin my practice in a few years. I’ll be applying for a fellowship in orthopaedic trauma surgery this year, after which I plan on returning back home to Texas to begin a practice.
Jacob Murphree: I am currently in my final year of residency at Texas Tech University. My department has supported me being involved in the TOA and advocacy, which I greatly appreciate. I will be doing a trauma fellowship at the University of Florida after I graduate. I am not quite sure where I will be practicing after I am done with fellowship, but I do know that I will try to stay in Texas, if at all possible.
Joey Romero: I graduated from resident at UT Southwestern in Dallas this year, and I will be moving to New York City for a fellowship in hip and knee replacement at the Hospital for Special Surgery. My wife and I are native Texans, and we plan to return after my fellowship to start a career and raise our children in this great state.