Charles Fisher is next Chairperson of the AO Spine Research Commission

“With high quality, impactful, multicenter research, we can affect the care of patients around the world”

01 July 2020

Charles Fisher
Charles Fisher

It gives us great pleasure to congratulate Charles Fisher on being elected as the next Chairperson of the AO Spine Research Commission. Fisher will take on Chairperson-elect responsibilities from July 2020 and start his three-year term from July 2021.

In this important role, Fisher will follow Dino Samartzis, who is more than confident that Fisher will do an amazing job at the helm. "I could not imagine a better person suited for this position than Charles," Samartzis says. "He is a man of integrity and inclusion. What he accomplished with the AO Spine Knowledge Forum Tumor is simply mind-boggling, a fantastic example of 'team science' and what is possible if we all work together and maximize global impact."

An inspiration to many

Fisher has impacted the way patients are managed all over the world. He has devoted his career to addressing spinal conditions, as well as being a mentor, an inspiration, and a leader to many.

Over the last 6 years, Fisher has led the AO Spine Knowledge Forum (KF) Tumor. Validating the first ever spine oncology-specific patient-reported outcome tool (SOSGOQ), developing and validating the Spinal lnstability Neoplastic Score (SINS), publishing metastatic and primary tumor treatment guidelines, and building the KF to a research network of over 50 worldwide spine oncology experts, are just some of the highlights. He recently passed the Chairpersonship into the very capable hands of Laurence Rhines and Arjun Sahgal.

In his new role, Fisher will lead AO Spine's global research activities and steer the Research Commission in its mission to improve patient care through innovative spine research programs. He will follow the tremendous efforts and work of Dino Samartzis to affirm AO Spine's position as the leading global academic spine society, and to involve our members in the scientific advancement of spine care through participation in translational and clinical studies.

Understand the context and utilize synergies

Fisher states that one of the most important principles in doing successful research is understanding the context of your practice; it is the context of your practice that you should study. "For example: there is no point in studying spine tumors if your hospital sees 3 a year. But if you see 250 infections, study spine infection."
Spine pathology, heath care resources, and treatment vary tremendously throughout the world. To Fisher, this provides a virtual petri dish of research potential that we are not utilizing. "By engaging local and regional clinicians, many of whom now have 'book smarts' to do research, we can start to exploit this tremendous research potential. We must however provide these researchers with purpose, autonomy, and the opportunity to improve and influence others in the region and get the recognition they deserve."

Fisher is convinced that AO Spine is the vehicle to achieve these lofty goals. "Through the Knowledge Forums, Regional Committees, and the entire AO Spine Community, we can produce high quality, impactful multicenter research that is truly global. We must, however, go forward slowly and follow the right road. If we rush, it will be easy to stray off course."

Fisher reminds we must be cognizant of the great work that has been done across AO Spine research, both clinical and basic science, and continue to foster that work. He believes some groups may require refocusing and a return to fundamentals in order to be more productive and impactful. "We must pursue peer-review funding and partnerships with professional societies to reduce redundancy and utilize synergies. We must be transparent and work for the greater good. In this time of limited resources, it is critical to do research that is cost effective."

We wish Charles Fisher success in his new role and look forward to supporting him his future endeavors.

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