Revolutionizing Residency Training: Introducing the MAAS Program by AANA


AuthorAdrienn Papp

In the realm of orthopedic education, the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) has once again set a precedent with the launch of its Mobile Advanced Arthroscopy Simulator (MAAS) program in 2023. This innovative initiative has already made waves across various residency programs, showcasing its potential to redefine how surgical skills are acquired and honed.

The MAAS program was conceived with a clear objective: to provide structured, proficiency-based training to residency programs, underscoring the invaluable role of simulation in enhancing learning outcomes. Spearheaded by Joseph Tauro, M.D., FAANA, who serves as both the initiator and program lead, alongside his role as AANA Secretary, the program has garnered substantial acclaim for its efficacy.

Dr. Tauro reflects on the program's early success, stating, "We anticipated significant demand and impact, but the level of engagement from both residents and faculty on-site has surpassed our expectations. The statistics speak volumes: residents dedicate an average of 5 hours to training during the 6-week structured program, with some exceeding 19 hours. Remarkably, many programs have achieved a 100% completion rate of the curriculum, indicative of the tangible skill enhancement observed in both metrics and real-world surgical settings."

Integral to the program's design is the collaboration with VirtaMed, led by Martina Vitz, Ph.D., Chief Impact Officer. Drawing on decades of expertise, VirtaMed has played a pivotal role in shaping the curriculum and ensuring its alignment with the learning objectives. Dr. Vitz emphasizes the synergy achieved through this partnership, noting, "Our collaborative efforts with Joe and the team have yielded a comprehensive 6-hour kickstart curriculum, complete with a baseline exam. This curriculum serves as the cornerstone for residents, providing them with a solid foundation and guiding them through a progressive proficiency-based learning journey within a condensed timeframe. Witnessing the transformative impact of our simulators, coupled with data-driven insights and collective enthusiasm, is truly gratifying, empowering residents to refine and elevate their skills."

Participant feedback further underscores the program's efficacy, with one resident remarking, "Having mastered the tools, anatomy, and procedural basics through the MAAS program, I can now fully engage with my attending physician, maximizing my learning experience." Similarly, program directors have noted a marked improvement in residents' confidence and comfort levels in surgical settings, attributing these enhancements to the structured training facilitated by the VirtaMed platform.

While the MAAS program represents a pivotal step in residency training, it is important to recognize that skill development is an ongoing journey, best cultivated through practice and routine over extended periods. Nonetheless, the MAAS program offers a unique opportunity for residents to embark on this journey with a solid foundation and the requisite confidence to excel.

AANA has introduced the Mobile Advanced Arthroscopy Simulator (MAAS) Program, aiming to provide advanced training in knee and shoulder arthroscopic procedures to orthopedic residency programs nationwide. The program, which recently underwent successful beta testing at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, offers a structured curriculum to demonstrate proficiency in arthroscopy, aligning with AANA’s commitment to advancing minimally invasive surgical education. With two portable simulators provided by VirtaMed, the MAAS Program ensures accessibility by rotating them across residency programs in the United States and Canada. It allows residents to engage in self-administered training with immediate, unbiased feedback and performance metrics, thus addressing the critical need for effective surgical education.

Characterized by comprehensive training modules and pre- and post-meetings with AANA Mentors, the MAAS Program sets a new standard in residency training. The program's official launch in November 2023 at Nassau University Medical Center marks a significant milestone in advancing the skills of aspiring arthroscopic surgeons, emphasizing AANA's leadership in educational innovation and research endeavors, and promising a transformative impact on orthopedic medicine.

About AANA: 

The Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) is an international professional organization of more than 5,000 orthopedic surgeons and other medical professionals who are committed to advancing the field of minimally-invasive orthopedic surgery to improve patient outcomes. We endeavor to be up-to-the-minute, free of commercial bias, and to curate the most relevant information for our members and customers.

AANA is incorporated as a non-profit organization and is governed by an elected Board of Directors comprised of 14 Active Members. Our programs, products, and services are driven by 15 committees of members and executed by a full-time staff of 21 professionals.

Our Education Foundation has raised over $1 million to support AANA's mission of advancing the field of arthroscopic surgery and improving patient outcomes.

Media contact:

Christine Nogal, MBA, CAE
Chief Operations and Business Development Officer, Arthroscopy Association of North America

About VirtaMed:

VirtaMed believes that all patients should experience surgical excellence. Since 2007, we empower surgeons to reach proficiency by integrating state-of-the-art, virtual reality-based, data-driven education into medical training.

 Our vision is to improve the quality of medical care using mixed reality simulators for minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic interventions in orthopedics, urology, ob/gyn and general surgery. Combining virtual reality graphics with original instruments and anatomic models for realistic tactile feedback, VirtaMed simulators provide structured courses and performance-based proficiency assessments.

 VirtaMed also partners with medical societies and internationally renowned experts to develop standardized curricula and training courses for professional development.

Media contact: 

Adrienn Papp
Digital & Content Marketing Manager