Stephen Burkhart, M.D.

A world-famous pioneer in arthroscopic shoulder surgery, Dr. Burkhart has decades of experience and is considered one of the top shoulder surgeons in North America and one of the most published authors on arthroscopic shoulder surgery. After completing his orthopaedic surgery residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and a sports medicine fellowship at the University of Oregon, he began private practice as an Orthopaedic Surgeon at The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. Throughout his tenure, he has served as a clinical associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and at Baylor College of Medicine, in addition to serving numerous fellowship director and visiting professorships. In 1983, he was one of just three surgeons performing shoulder arthroscopies nationally. A true innovator, his extensive research has resulted in several paradigm shifts conceptualizing shoulder disorders, and he holds patents on several surgical instruments and devices such as suture anchors and retrievers, graft fixations, self-reinforced tissue fixations and apparatuses for osteochondral autografts. His innovative spirit was recognized and celebrated as the selected lecturer for the inaugural AANA Innovations Lecture for Specialty Day 2020. 

Dr. Burkhart joined the AANA Membership in 1990 and has served in several leadership positions as committee chairs, on the AANA Board of Directors and as part of the Presidential Line, becoming AANA’s 21st president in 2002. He continues to frequently serve speaker positions at the national and international levels.


James Esch, M.D.

Dr. Esch can be credited for truly “pushing the envelope” regarding arthroscopic shoulder surgery. As a founding father of shoulder arthroscopy, Dr. Esch breathed new life into ways to treat arthroscopic rotator cuff and shoulder instability, pioneering numerous technical aspects. He completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Northwestern University followed by two years as a naval Orthopaedic Surgeon in San Diego, having served in Vietnam. Among his significant contributions related to shoulder arthroscopy is the founding of the San Diego Shoulder Arthroscopy Course in 1983, a premier destination for arthroscopic and open shoulder surgery education. His curious yet creative mind has produced many innovations in shoulder surgery, such as unique perspectives in maintaining shoulder distention and instruments for proper suture passing. He has helped educate countless surgeons by way of national and international lectures. His publications on shoulder arthroscopy are vast and include the textbook, “Arthroscopic Surgery of the Shoulder and Elbow.” He also served as co-editor alongside Richard L. Angelo, M.D., Ph.D. and Richard K.N. Ryu, M.D. for the 2010 edition of “The Shoulder,” part of the AANA Advanced Arthroscopic Surgical Techniques Series.

Dr. Esch has been a long-time AANA Member, serving on numerous AANA committees until he was named the organization’s 19th president in 2000. Dr. Esch received AANA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his fierce dedication to the organization at the 2019 AANA Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.


Stephen Snyder, M.D.

Dr. Snyder’s skills as a physician and surgeon are renowned. After starting his practice with the Southern California Orthopedic Institute (SCOI) as one of five founding partners, he quickly recognized that the discipline of arthroscopy would be a huge advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of various shoulder injuries. With shoulder arthroscopy being an unfamiliar surgical procedure at the time, Dr. Snyder partnered with several surgical equipment companies to invent and co-develop over 50 surgical products including suture anchors, arm support brackets, a full line of shoulder braces and much more. He is considered influential for coining innovative techniques for what are now common operations such as rotator cuff repair and shoulder instability. He is also to credit for pioneering the surgical teaching model “ALEX.”

In addition to developing many surgical techniques and models, Dr. Snyder founded a high-tech classroom, which holds the ALEX models and other virtual reality simulators, that resides in the SCOI Van Nuys location. This superior learning center helps to advance arthroscopy education as many Orthopaedic Residents and Fellows from around the world often visit to increase their skill set. He is also a prolific author, taking sole authorship of the first two additions of the “SCOI Shoulder Arthroscopy” textbooks. Dr. Snyder joined AANA in 1985 and served as the first coordinator of the shoulder arthroscopy section, in addition to chairing the AANA Education Committee and serving as treasurer of the AANA Board of Directors. is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
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