AO Davos Courses community spirit

The AO community in action at the AO Davos Courses
AO Davos Courses Community Group

Healthcare professionals at all stages of their career, working in a diverse range of specialites relating to trauma and musculoskeletal disorders, come to the Swiss mountains each year to attend the AO Davos Courses, where they can learn from the best in their fields, share knowledge, and benefit from being part of the AO community. Amir Elbarbary explains what the AO Davos Courses means to him: "Attending the first AO course was such a wonderful, memorable, experience. This is where it all started, it's inspiring, even before you get to Davos and you start the course, you think about the journey and how you got involved with it and that makes it special."

Rico Vannini, AO VET Faculty, describes why he attends the AO Davos Courses year after year "it's not only to interact with the AO VET family, but also the chance to learn and improve. You are never too old to learn. You are forced to be up-to-date as a teacher, and to do this, you have to be in tune with current knowledge. It provides a nice way to force one's self to stay active."

Simon Lambert, who is AO Trauma Faculty and Chair of the AO Technical Commission Upper Extremity Expert Group, explains the value of the AO Davos Courses to his development within the AO community over the years: "I've attended many Davos Courses, now as faculty, and the reason I come back is because I really think this is the forum, through the various educational modalities used now, that is going to change young surgeons' lives. I believe that, and I am very happy to contribute to that. I come back because I see people change. It's when you talk to them one-to-one, they say 'that has changed how I look at something,' and that is a very precious thing to give someone."


In 2019, after a successful global launch, AO PEER's highly interactive courses will be offered in Davos. Participants will be able to learn about the principles of evidence-based medicine, and how evidence is developed in a scientifically sound and regulatory correct way, to learn the principles of appraising published research and evidence, to understand the principles behind designing, performing, and publishing clinical research, to learn how important teamwork is in clinical research, to learn about Good Clinical Practice, ethical imperatives, and regulatory frameworks for clinical research.

What makes AO PEER and the AO Davos Courses such a natural fit is the emphasis they both place on learning as an interactive and multi-directional process. The surgeons, researchers, and specialists who teach AO PEER courses are available throughout all AO PEER course days, and view course participants as colleagues. Being approachable, and open to dialogue, are essential parts of the AO community.

AO Spine Education Commission Chairperson and Course Director for AO Spine Bryan Ashman says "the greatest advantage of meeting with other disciplines is you have a chance to understand how other clinicians solve musculoskeletal problems. I remember my first experience of watching the AO VET course, and there was a presentation on fixing fractured wing bones in eagles, the difficulty of fixation in these tiny, fragile, bones without interfering with the feathers, was just amazing. You don't get that kind of cross-fertilization in any other course that I'm aware of."

Ashman continues "the networking aspect of the AO Davos Courses defines the AO. It's the aspect of peer interaction, you meet mentors, you meet your mentees, and its an opportunity to expand that network, because surgeons belong to a community of practice."

The AO Davos Courses offers participants unparalleled access to leaders in their field. It is a chance to learn, to grow, and to reflect on future directions.

"It's a camaraderie, it feels like your are coming into a place that is an incubator for knowledge and the dissemination of concepts in orthopedic trauma," explains AO Research Institute Davos Advisory Committee member Prof Theodore Miclau.

Speaking at the AO Davos Courses 2018, AO Trauma first-time participants highlighted the appeal of the event as being rooted in the face-to-face teaching element and the fact that it offers direct contact with senior and highly experienced surgeons.

This direct contact with leaders in their field, who are open to interaction in a spirit of camaraderie, remains an essential feature of the AO Davos Courses. This is combined with a constant focus on ensuring it responds to the healthcare community's changing needs.

In 2018, this was exemplified by AO Recon's Skills Lab, which was designed to meet the demand in the surgeon community for this approach to learning skills needed to perform specific surgical steps that enable successful primary hip and knee procedures to be successful. Different stations focus on specific surgical steps that lead to successful primary hip and knee replacements. At each station, expert faculty instruct course participants and help them reflect on their performance. The learning outcomes are maximized by the optimal participant-to-faculty ratio.

The AO Davos Courses experience is different each year, but it consistently offers participants the opportunity to be part of the AO community, as they share their insights into the common problems that they face in clinical settings, and in so doing – help further the AO's mission of improving patient care.