Meet the new AO Spine Latin America Board Members


Following the elections held in recent months, the AO Spine Latin America (AO SLA) Board has the pleasure to introduce its new members. The three newly elected members started their terms on July 1, 2022.

  • Nestor Taboada from Colombia will be the next Chairperson. He will serve as Chairperson-elect until June 30, 2023, when he will take over as AO SLA Chairperson from July 1, 2023–June 30, 2026.

  • Cristiano Menezes from Brazil was elected as Education Officer. His term as Education officer-elect began on July 1, 2022, and his term as Education Officer will run from July 1, 2023–June 30, 2026.

  • Ratko Yurac from Chile is the new Network Development Officer. His term spans from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2025. 

What the future holds for AO SLA and young surgeons

Taboada's goal as AO Spine Latin America Chairperson is to consolidate the good results obtained by his predecessors while maintaining high standards and adapting to the post-pandemic scenario in both online and face-to-face education.

Menezes adds that he was preceded by great education officers who made AO Spine what it is today: the region’s leader in educational programs, offering high-quality courses and seminars, and constantly promoting new and customized educational activities.

Yurac will focus on continuing the work done by his predecessors, promoting communication, collaboration, and exchange among Spine Centers and Fellows while seeking to create new opportunities to further knowledge, research, and clinical practice in the region.

N Taboada

Nestor Taboada, Chairperson-Elect

Surgeon from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Neurosurgeon from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, spine surgery fellow, and a member of the Colombian Society of Neurosurgery and SSMS. He is the former Education Officer for AO Spine Latin America, former Chairperson for AO Spine Colombia, and National, Regional, and International Faculty on several occasions.

C Menezes

Cristiano Menezes, Education Officer-Elect

Surgeon from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, PhD in Health Sciences Applied to the Locomotor Apparatus from the USP School of Medicine. President-elect of the Brazilian Spine Society (SBC), former vice-president of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Committee of the SBC and former Regional Director for Latin America of SOLAS (Society of Lateral Access Surgery). AO Spine faculty member and course chairperson on several occasions.


R Yurac

Ratko Yurac, Network Development Officer

Traumatologist and orthopedist with subspecialty in Spine Surgery. Multiple trainings in Europe, USA, and Latin America. Chairperson of the AO Spine Country Council, former President of the SCHOT Spine Committee, former AO Spine Latin America Spine Centers and Fellowships officer. Member of the board of directors of the Latin American Spine Society SILACO. Chairperson, National Faculty, and Regional Faculty for multiple AO Spine events.

As Chairperson-elect, Taboada reminds the new generations of members that AO Spine is "the best academic organization of spine surgeons, in which it is possible to grow, share knowledge with surgeons across different regions, and that one day they will be the ones leading the education of this great community."

According to Menezes, "we always aim for personal development and better patient care, and AO Spine opens the world to any member who is interested in growing and participating in a meritocratic way." Yurac closes by remarking that "the growth of our specialty can only be sustained by you: the new generations of surgeons and specialists who will drive and foster growth in various fields of knowledge."

The election process was overseen and ratified by the Nomination Committee (NomCom), which has confirmed that the process was transparent, fair, and in full compliance with the AO Spine International Board (AO SIB) Terms of Reference, and approved by the AO SIB.

AO Spine Latin America congratulates the new members of the board and wishes them the greatest success in their new position.

Find out more about AO Spine's Governance structure and bodies here.