Back in 2009, the American Orthopedic Association (AOA) decided to take action against a growing epidemic in the United States. Though over 44 million Americans are impacted by osteoporosis or low bone density, seven years ago, few were getting adequate treatment. When patients had fragility or low-impact fractures, only 20% were getting treated for the underlying cause, often leaving the hospital without being aware of their osteoporosis and without learning how to prepare against future fractures.
The AOA sought to close this treatment gap and reduce future incidence of fractures by creating the Own the Bone program. A national post-fracture, fragility fracture prevention initiative, it also strives to improve communication and behavior between doctors and patients.
“We wanted to help make sure patients are getting the treatment they need so they don’t have recurring fractures and can keep a better lifestyle,” says Jessica Yanik, Program Coordinator for Own the Bone.
Dr. James Leipzig, a Virginia spinal surgeon specializing in procedures including minimally-invasive spine surgery and disc arthroplasty, is AOA’s physician champion. Having seen the program’s value and realizing his own mother was part of the 80% not getting the quality of her bone quality adequate addressed, Dr. Leipzig launched the program at Virginia Spine Care and LewisGale Medical Center a few months earlier. He has helped train nurses on how to best educate patients and has connected with other institutions in the area to encourage their involvement.
“Dr. Leipzig saw the value in bringing this program and supporting the team,” says Yanik. “He saw that this was the right thing to do and wanted to make sure it was successful in the community.”
In the few years since its launch, there are institutions with the program in every state and there are over 43,000 patient encounters in the registry — 35,000 of which had just come in for initial fractures and who would have otherwise left without having been counseled on bone health. Through Own the Bone, Dr. Leipzig and other medical experts are able to use their knowledge to give back to the community and help people live healthier, more fulfilling
Dr. Leipzig is a board-certified Virginia spine surgeon serving Roanoke and Salem communities with over two decades of experience. He treats spinal stenosis, specializing in procedures like minimally invasive lumbar laminoplasty, microsurgical lumbar surgery, robotic spine surgery, disc arthroplasty, and more. To learn more about Own the Bone or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at (540) 725-9771.