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AAOE History
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The organization started as the result of correspondence by Walter "Tommy" Tompkins from The Orthopedic Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona; Donald Shearer from El Paso Orthopedic Surgery Group in El Paso, Texas; Knox Ramsey from Drs. Fowler, Eyler, Parrish, et al in Knozville, Tennessee; and Robert Leonard from Fort Worth Bone and Joint Clinic in Forth Worth, Texas. 

The first meeting was at the National Meeting in September, 1969 in Denver, Colorado, where it was decided that a chairman would be elected to edit a quarterly newsletter. 28 members took part in this initial meeting. In October, 1969, Don Shearer was elected as the first chairman and the first letter was sent. The organization was named Best Orthopedic Nationwide Evaluation Society (BONES), and was created as an organization that would facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between orthopaedic group managers.

BONES was incorporated in the lates 1980's in Birmingham, Alabama. During the early years, the society was member-run and centered around the annual meetings, which were relatively small and focused on networking and information exchange. Members would select the site of the conference and prepare the program. 

The organization truly launched in 1989 during the annual meeting in New Port, Rhode Island. The record-setting meeting had more than 100 attendees, educational sessions, and two formal social functions. The meeting included the introduction of a formal Board of Directors and the development of the initial bylaws. 

Attendance at the annual meetings continued to grow, and beginning around 2000, the board and paid staff, along with a volunteer conference committee, became responsible for planning and executing the annual conference. 


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