What is Operation Walk?
Operation Walk’s first mission trip was to Cuba in 1997. Over the past 25 years, Operation Walk has performed hip and knee replacement surgery for an astonishing 17,000 individuals in 20 countries with very few complications. Operation Walk has matured into an international movement with over 20 non-profits in the USA, two in Canada, and one in Ireland. A central coordinating body is now operated by the AAHKS Global Outreach (AAHKS-GO) foundation, established by the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, and Operation Walk’s growth has been accelerated by this leadership.
Operation Walk performs hip and knee replacements in underserved countries that typically requires a team of 45-55 medical professionals and volunteers for a week-long mission. All those who participate in a mission volunteer their time, and the doctors pay their own airfare. Implants, surgical materials, medications, and recovery equipment are donated by generous American companies, valued at about $1 million for each mission. Operation Walk typically operates on 50 to 100 patients during each mission.
AAHKS-GO supports the Operation Walk coordinating body, serves as a centralized recipient of medical material donations, negotiates discounted group purchasing agreements and recruits mission participants from the AAHKS membership. Encouragement and support is provided by AAHKS-GO to those who simply want to participate in a trip or to those who want to form new Operation Walk affiliates.
Orthopedic surgeons who want to give back to their profession and society in gratitude for their career should volunteer to participate in Operation Walk. This is an opportunity for the satisfaction and fulfillment that accompanies unconditional giving, and will reinforce your love of medicine, challenging surgery, and helping others. It completes the four pillars of education, advocacy, research, and humanitarianism that your membership in AAHKS makes possible.