Recapping the 2021 Business & Leadership Symposium

Who we are: Michael Gagnon is part of the AOC Connect Team.

Michael R. Gagnon, MBA

Founder & CEO, AOC Connect & JobsInOrtho | Chief Administrative Officer- Emeritus Duke University Orthopaedics

Thank you to all our amazing attendees for making this symposium our best yet!

Thank you to the 49 universities and orthopedic programs that participated in our 2021 Annual Business and Leadership Symposium for Orthopaedic Clinical and Administrative Teams November 4-6 at UPenn in Philadelphia.

After nearly 2 years without in-person meetings, it felt like a “transfusion of awesomeness” to get all these incredible leaders into the same space, engaging and sharing their insights on what works and what doesn’t work across academic musculoskeletal enterprises.

Click to view video of L. Scott Levin, MD, Penn Medicine

View more videos from the 2021 Symposium

Click to view video of Mary Duvanich, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Click to view video of Grant Garrigues, MD, Rush University

Click to view video of Kristy Weber, MD, University of Pennsylvania

Click to view video of Ron Faulbaum, Washington University in St. Louis

An all-star lineup of speakers and presenters

When you get the right people in the room special things happen, and this meeting was punctuated by more than 30 incredible presentations from the country’s top academic leaders:

Our gracious host, L. Scott Levin, MD, Paul Magnusson Professor & Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania

Our keynote speakers:

Kristy Weber, MD, President, AAOS – 2019; Vice-Chair, Faculty Affairs, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UPenn; Abramson Family Professor in Sarcoma Care Excellence
James R. Ficke, MD, Robert A. Robinson Professor & Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Orthopaedist-in-Chief of The Johns Hopkins Hospital

And our distinguished presenters:

Cynthia L. Emory, MD, MBA, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Wake Forest School of Medicine; Associate Chief Medical Officer – Surgery, Wake Forest Baptist Health
Mark W. Pagnano, MD, Professor & Chair, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic
Michael L. Parks, MD, Clinical Director of Orthopedic Surgery, Vice Chair for Quality, Associate Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery; Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College
Neil Ravitz, MBA, Chief Administrative Officer, UPenn; Senior Vice President, AOC Connect
Theresa Wyrick, MD, Vice Chair, University of Arkansas; Co-Chair, AOC Connect Women’s Leadership Forum
Lisa Lattanza, MD, Chair & Professor, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University

Acclaim from Symposium attendees

"Great topics and honest dialogue."

AOC Connect’s unique “something extra”

As always, the special sauce that makes the AOC connect symposiums so highly regarded is the ample breakout session time and facilitated panels that get everybody talking. Lots of focus this year on:

  • Leadership
  • Culture
  • Physician engagement
  • The process of strategic planning
  • Diversity and equity
  • And the evolution of musculoskeletal enterprises from operational, financial, and perioperative standpoints.

History still happens in Philly

We also experienced a “first” when Dr. Kristy Weber‘s presentation received a standing ovation (that is, the first time we have ever had a standing ovation for a Symposium speaker). And then this was followed with only the second standing ovation in the history of our symposiums when Dr. Michael Parks came off the podium. These two extraordinary leaders who are pioneers for us nationally shared compelling messages on diversity and equity and the pathway forward.

Some other Symposium “firsts”:

  • Our first-ever Women’s Leadership Forum, gathering and empowering our women attendees
  • Our first-ever combined meeting, bringing together the administrative leadership and the clinical leadership of these academic departments with the thought that there would be better value and greater efficiency for all participants in so doing. (93% of attendees preferred this format, so we’ll bring it back for next year’s symposium.)
  • Our first-ever significant agenda focused on DEI.
  • Our first-ever significant agenda focused on research and education.

How did attendees rate the Symposium?

  • 95% indicated this meeting is the “best” or “among the best” of all meetings they attend for business and leadership.
  • 98% rated the Agenda Topics “A” or “A-”
  • 98% rated the Speakers “A” of “A-”
  • 94% rated the Value of the meeting (what you pay vs what you get) “A” or “A-”
  • 96% rated the OVERALL MEETING “A” or “A-”

Looking to the future, with your help

We also received some critical feedback that we’ll utilize to strengthen the Symposium next year. One of the great ideas that came forward is to organize a breakout session exclusively for chairs and vice chairs to gather and exchange.


Mark your calendar for November 10-12, 2022! We plan to return to Austin, Texas, for a combined conference for administrative and clinical leaders. Look for registration information by Christmas.

Once again, thank you to all who attended and made our 2021 Symposium an event that exceeded expectations. I’m incredibly energized by my experience there, and I’m eager to see important advances take shape in our national academic orthopaedic community.

Annual Business & Leadership Symposium Gallery