Based on the philosophy of lifelong learning, the AO Spine curriculum provides continuous acquisition of the necessary knowledge and skills that will aid lifelong career progression.

The AO Spine curriculum is a framework based on entrustable professional activities (EPA’s).

An EPA is an essential activity that can be entrusted only to those who have acquired the requisite ability to work independently in a given healthcare context to achieve a desired outcome.

The AO Spine curriculum focusses on the final level of autonomy, independent practice, which is the level at which surgeons perform their clinical activities.

Watch a video on how the curriculum was developed

Delivering your curriculum

All AO Spine educational events are linked to the curriculum. Event planning starts with an assessment of the needs of learners for a particular topic and the curricular competencies to be covered are specified before the event so that learners can provide input into their current level of experience and their desired level.

This informs the pre-event preparations and reinforces the link between the event content and the AO Spine curriculum. Each event is aimed at a particular domain or competency with the curriculum, and the event content relates directly to the learning objectives, learning methods, and resources of that particular educational experience.

The AO Spine Principles


Stabilization to achieve a specific therapeutic outcome


Balancing the spine in three dimensions


Etiology, pathogenesis, neural protection, and tissue healing


Preservation and restoration of function to prevent disability

“The AO Spine curriculum greatly helped improve the learning outcomes of our activities.”

Pablo Vela, Educational Director at Degeneration Seminar, La Paz, Bolivia