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Education task forces

  • General information

    The task forces are surgeon led working groups. Most of the work is done virtually. The following criteria applies to all task force positions

    1. Commitment to and active engagement with AO Spine as a paying member for at least a year;
    2. Established regional/international AO Spine surgeon network to help obtain buy-in;
    3. Demonstrated experience and expertise in the specific focus area of the task force;
    4. Recommendation letter from a longstanding and respected AO Spine member.

    Task force members are selected on merit. All interested AO Spine Members are welcome to contact the AO Spine office to discuss how they can add value to task force activities. Individual surgeons can also be recommended for a task force position. The final selection is made by the Task Force Leader and the AOSEC Chair.

  • Faculty Management Task Force

    The Faculty Management Task Force aims to ensure that AO Spine has the best teachers in spine education by providing opportunities for AO Spine members to become better teachers. Its key objectives are to provide opportunities for:

    1. Personal development of teaching skills (faculty portfolio);
    2. Progression as AO Spine faculty;
    3. Feedback, self-reflection, and improvement;
    4. Recognition of achievements in teaching.

    Words from our AO Spine Task Force leader

    “The Faculty Management Task Force is an amazing group of surgeons from all over the world, working to improve the quality of the education offered by our faculty and to give AO Spine members the opportunity to pursue a career as faculty. We strive to be transparent, egalitarian, accountable, and meritocratic. The great opportunity in coming years will be to develop new tools for AO Spine faculty reflecting the latest trends and technologies in surgeon education.”

    Juan Emmerich, Past Faculty Management Task Force Leader

    Task Force Members:

    John France

    Task Force Leader
    West Virginia University
    Morgantown, United States

    Juan Emmerich

    National University of La Plata
    La Plata, Argentina

    Mohammad El-Sharkawi

    Assiut University Medical School
    Assiut, Egypt

    John L. T. Chen 

    Singapore General Hospital

    Patrick Tropiano

    Patrick Tropiano

    Hopital TIMONE
    Marseille, France

    Task Force Manager

    Kate de Boer

    Kate de Boer

  • Fellowship and Spine Centers Task Force

    The Fellowship and Spine Center Task Force aims to improve patient care by bringing together learners, teachers, and experts and providing lifelong learning pathways that are innovative and inspirational. Its key objectives are to ensure AO Spine's education is:

    1. Based on a needs assessment and linked to a curriculum; 
    2. Modular training programs with certification levels; 
    3. Incorporating fellowships and mentorships.

    Words from our Task Force leader:

    "The Fellowship and Spine Centers Task Force will create lifelong learning pathways that are innovative, inspirational, and relevant to surgeons’ needs throughout their careers. We will co-ordinate transformational change in how AO Spine delivers education, where that learning takes place, and who delivers the teaching. We will create more opportunities for mentorship and peer-to-peer learning, and enhance our global fellowships and spine center programs."

    Michael Grevitt, Past Fellowship and Spine Center Task Force Leader

    Task Force Members:

    Bryan Ashman

    Bryan Ashman

    Task Force Leader and AO Spine Education Commission Member
    Canberra Hospital
    Canberra, Australia

    Mohammed Assous

    AOSpine Spine Center and Fellowship Officer Middle East
    Razi Spine Clinic
    Amman, Jordan

    Fernando Alvarado

    Fernando Alvarado

    AO Spine Spine Center and Fellowship Officer Latin America
    Instituto de Ortopedia Infantil Roosevelt
    Bogota, Colombia

    Nene Abhay

    Abhay Nene

    AO Spine Spine Center and Fellowship Officer Asia Pacific
    Lilavati Hospital
    Bombay, India

    Pedro Berjano

    AOSpine Spine Center and Fellowship Officer Europe
    IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy

    Daniel Gelb

     University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America

    Task Force Manager:

    Kate de Boer

    Kate de Boer

  • Educational Strategies Task Force
    The Educational Strategies Task Force aims to lead innovation in spine surgery education by delivering education that reflects the learning culture in the surgical workplace. Its key objectives are to ensure AO Spine education includes:
    1. Blended learning 
    2. Hospital based events 
    3. Hands-on courses that are realistic 
    4. Remote access events that are low cost

    Words from our Task Force leader:

    "The Educational Strategies Task Force will allow AO Spine to develop and offer innovative educational programs on a variety of platforms to meet the changing needs of our members."

    Steven Theiss, Educational Strategies Task Force Leader

    Task Force Members:

    Steven Theiss

    Steven Theiss

    Task Force Leader
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Birmingham, United States

    AlaaEldin Ahmad

    Arab Care Hospital
    Ramallah, Palestine

    John DeVine

    AOSpine Education Commission Member
    Augusta University
    Augusta, United States

    Harry Gebhard

    Kantonsspital Baden, Switzerland

    Luiz Gustavo

    Hospital Universitario Cajuru
    Curitiba, Brazil

    Jose Manuel Ignacio

     University of the Philippines
    Manila, Philippines

    Alpaslan Senkoylu

    Gazi University
    Ankara, Turkey

    Muzahem Taha

    Sedram Private Hospital
    Erbil, Iraq

    Task Force Manager:

    Staffan Källbäck  
  • Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) Task Force

    The MISS Task Force aims to see AO Spine become the leading educator in minimally invasive techniques and procedures and meet surgeons' needs for improved surgical outcomes and reduced morbidity. Its key objectives are based on the following focus areas:

    1. Target – Optimized patient selection
    2. Technology – Optimal combination of access, visualization, navigation, instrumentation, biologic augmentation
    3. Technique – Principles, approaches, neural protection, decompression, stabilization
    4. Training – Simulation, observation, mentorship
    5. Testing the boundaries – MISS for deformity, robotics.
    We appreciate feedback on your local needs. To share your feedback with us, please follow this link.
    If you are interested in becoming a faculty member for MISS courses, please provide us with your details here.


    Words from our Task Force leader:

    "The MISS Task Force spearheads the process within AO Spine to better define the role of MISS going forward, to evaluate the great variety of technologies and techniques available, and to establish successful ways to teach and train surgeons globally and at every stage of their career."

    Roger Härtl, Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) Task Force Leader

    Task Force Members:

    Roger Härtl

    Roger Härtl

    Task Force Leader
    Weill Cornell Medical College
    New York, United States
    Richard Assaker

    Richard Assaker

    Centre Hospitalier Regional Universitaire
    Lille, France

    Mohammed Assous

    AOSpine Spine Center and Fellowship Officer Middle East
    Razi Spine Clinic
    Amman, Jordan

    Christoph Hofstetter

    University of Washington
    Seattle, United States

    JinSung Kim

    Spine Center
    Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Avelino Parajon

    Avelino Parajon

    Hospital Universitario 
    Ramón y Cajal
    Madrid, Spain

    Néstor Taboada

    Barranquilla, Columbia

    Paul Taylor

    Spines WA
    Perth, Australia

    Task Force Manager:

    Melanie Schatz

    Melanie Schatz
  • Quality Management Task Force

    The Quality Management Task Force aims to deliver education that offers the best value for money and effort that prioritizes improving patient outcomes. Its key objectives are the following:

    1. AO Spine's education offers a modular learning pathway
    2. All events are planned based on needs assessment and learning outcomes 
    3. Educational content is based on best evidence and clinical guidelines 
    4. Education is provided in a format that is appropriate to learning outcomes 
    5. A metrics-based evaluation is continuous and all activities deliver value based on cost/benefit analysis 
    6. Provides quality improvement based on changes to practice and patient outcome measures.

    Words from our Task Force leader:

    "The Quality Management Task Force helps AO Spine ensure our education is modular, providing a lifelong learning pathway that meets the highest quality standards. We strive to do this by assessing and evaluating every educational activity we organize, and by using the data available to do what we do in education even better."

    Bryan Ashman, Quality Management Task Force Leader

    Task Force Members:

    Bryan Ashman

    Task Force Leader
    Canberra Hospital
    Canberra, Australia

    Atiq Uz Zaman

    Ghurki Trust Teaching Hospital Jalo Moore
    Lahore, Pakistan

    Claudius Thomé

    Medical University Innsbruck
    Innsbruck, Austria

    Klaus Schnake

    Schön Klinik Nürnberg Fürth
    Fürth, Germany

    Asdrubal Falavigna

    Caxias do Sul University
    Caxias do Sul, Brazil

    Michael Fehlings

    University of Toronto
    Toronto, Canada

    Task Force Manager

    Ginesa Aviles 

Bryan Ashman about AO Spine Education Task Forces

“The AO Spine Education Task Forces are the true engines of the Education Commission. They deliver what is needed to ensure AO Spine continues to be at the forefront of spine surgeon education.”

Bryan Ashman, Chairperson AO Spine Education Commission

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