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Penn's Kristy Weber, MD, Named First Female President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)

Kristy L. Weber, MDKristy L. Weber, MD, Chief of Orthopaedic Oncology at Penn Medicine and Director of the Sarcoma Program at the Abramson Cancer Center, made history as she took office as the first woman president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) last month. Previously, Dr. Weber held the position of vice president.

Dr. Weber will serve as the 87th president of the AAOS until March 2020. Founded in 1933, the AAOS has more than 39,000 members and is the world's largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists.

According to the most recent AAOS census, only 6 percent of AAOS fellows are women. Recent Association of American Medical Colleges data shows that 15.1 percent of orthopaedic residents in the United States are female.

As president, Dr. Weber plans to define a new set of core values and shape a more inclusive culture within the AAOS by removing barriers for women and minorities in the field of orthopaedic surgery.

In a speech given during her swearing-in ceremony, Dr. Weber said, "I stand here today as a proud woman in a profession that is 94 percent male. I really loved several different subspecialties in medical school but decided on orthopaedics after I was told that women couldn't get into this field." She continued, "I have never regretted that decision for one minute."

She concluded her speech by stating, "Our differences should stimulate curiosity, not judgement, and we need to celebrate our common interest and commitment to improving the musculoskeletal health of our patients."

Dr. Weber encouraged the audience to create a more welcoming culture and to remove the subjective barriers to "inclusion, advancement and leadership in our practices, institutions and the Academy."

Dr. Weber's speech also detailed how she will lead the organization to become "the trusted leaders in advancing musculoskeletal health" by focusing on advocacy, technology, partnerships and communications.

In addition to her clinical and research work and leadership role within the AAOS, Dr. Weber has served on the Boards of Directors of many prestigious orthopaedic and cancer organizations, including the American Orthopaedic Association (AOA), Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) and the Connective Tissue Oncology Society.

Dr. Weber is also a past president of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society and the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society (RJOS), as well as the former secretary of the ORS.

She also served as chair of the AAOS Council on Research and Quality for four years, where she spearheaded initiatives regarding clinical practice guidelines, evidence-based medicine, appropriate use criteria, patient safety, biomedical engineering, biological implants and the development of orthopaedic physician-scientists.

Dr. Weber's Work at Penn Medicine

In her roles at Penn Medicine and as a respected thought leader, Dr. Weber has dedicated herself to guiding the future of orthopaedics. She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of bone and soft tissue tumors in children and adults, with a focus on complex limb salvage techniques for the hip, knee, shoulder and pelvis.

Dr. Weber has conducted research on metastasis to the bone from breast and kidney cancer, as well as sarcoma metastasis to the lung. She is also the founder of the Kristy Weber Research Program, a collaborative effort between Penn Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn Vet.

Under her leadership, the Program researches and develops new approaches to diagnosing and treating pediatric and adult bone and soft tissue tumors, including Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma.

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