Humanitarian Award

The Humanitarian Award recognizes living Fellows, International, and Emeritus members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons who have distinguished themselves through outstanding musculoskeletal-related humanitarian activities in the United States or abroad.

What is a humanitarian? A humanitarian endeavors to improve the human condition through saving lives, improving the quality of life, and alleviating suffering, while supporting and contributing to the basic human dignity of those in need.  

A humanitarian:

  • Gives of him/herself regardless of compensation
  • Provides services without expectation of remuneration
  • Provides services to all equally, impartially, cooperatively and neutrally
  • Embraces common moral decencies such as altruism, integrity, freedom, justice, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility and compassion
  • Respects and embraces human diversity
  • Improves the lives of those in need through selfless, courageous, creative and compassionate acts

A humanitarian is not:

  • Someone who provides limited pro bono services in the course of daily business
  • Someone who provides services to an underserved/disadvantaged or other population segment in the course of daily business/employment for which they receive remuneration
  • Someone who provides services only to those who qualify

Examples of the variety of musculoskeletal efforts eligible for the Humanitarian Award include, but are not limited to:

  • Fundraising for recreational activities such as summer camps for people with disabilities
  • Championing the rights of people with disabilities
  • Acting as pro-bono staff/volunteer in outreach clinics, mobile facilities, and other aid missions for underserved United States or world populations
  • Overseas volunteer medical service, either independently or through organizations such as Orthopaedics Overseas, Doctors Without Borders, Rotary International, etc.
  • Leadership during disaster relief

Candidacy Criteria:

  • Candidate must either be a living Fellow, International, or an Emeritus member of the AAOS.
  • Candidate must have demonstrated an exemplary and outstanding commitment to musculoskeletal-focused humanitarian activities, either domestically or abroad.
  • Only one person may be nominated. Candidates may not be jointly nominated or considered.
  • The candidate must accept the nomination by completing the 2020 Humanitarian Awards Candidate Form in full and submitting the application to AAOS.
  • Candidate must update his/her profile on the  AAOS Orthopaedic Surgeons Disclosure Program.
  • Candidate must agree to and be able to attend the 2020 AAOS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas at candidate's expense if selected to receive the award.

Application Process:

The 2020 awards nomination period is closed.
  • Sponsors must complete the 2020 Humanitarian Award Sponsor Form to nominate a candidate. The candidate will be notified of his/her of the nomination via email within 2 business days.
  • Sponsor and/or the Candidate must provide a minimum of two letters of recommendation, with a maximum of three letters of recommendation, in addition to the nomination form submitted by the Sponsor.
  • Sponsor may independently send out requests for letters of support on behalf of the candidate.
  • Candidate and/or sponsor must e-mail a combined maximum of 10 pages of supporting material(s), and one (1) head shot photo of the candidate to Abby Watson at  by  Friday, June 14, 2019. Late and/or incomplete entries will not be accepted.
  • All completed nominations will undergo three rounds of review by AAOS peers. Candidates will be notified of the 2020 Humanitarian Award results by late November 2019.
  • The 2020 Humanitarian Award recipient will be presented with the award at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' 2020 Annual Meeting in Orlando.

NOTE: There is no limit to the number of times an individual may be nominated for an award. Nominators are encouraged to submit updated information as appropriate. However, new sponsor and candidate forms will need to be completed each year.

For more information please call Abby Watson, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, at (847) 384-4036 or e-mail