AO Davos Courses 2019

The AO's flagship educational event, the AO Davos Courses opened on Sunday December 1.
Robert McGuire
Robert McGuire, AO President, at the AO Davos Courses 2019 opening ceremony

The AO's flagship educational event, the AO Davos Courses, started on Sunday, December 1.

The opening ceremony began on a sombre note, as AO President Robert McGuire, assembled participants, and faculty, honored the legacy of Prof. Stephan M. Perren, who died suddenly on Thursday, November 21, 2019, in Davos, Switzerland.

In his opening address, McGuire focused on the particular qualities that set the AO apart from other organizations in its fields: the emphasis it places on peer-to-peer cooperation, the opportunities it offers health care professionals to enhance their skills throughout their career, and the advances it is making in research, development, and innovation.

President-Elect Florian Gebhard stressed the extent to which innovation has been at the core of the AO since it was founded. He outlined the AO's innovation landscape and gave an overview of the ways in which the AO supports the broader community in helping bring their innovative ideas from paper to patients. Through its strategy fund and development incubator, the AO helps surgeons develop their innovative ideas and bring them to market.

The AO's new digital offering, myAO, was unveiled during the ceremony. myAO offers surgeons the opportunity to connect with other medical professionals in their specific fields of interest, and provides a new way of accessing dependable, verified, content that is tailored to their needs. Find out more about myAO in this short video.

AO Trauma International Board Chairperson Kodi Kojima, shared some insights into AO Trauma's plans for the coming year, and focused in particular on its Competency Training and Assessment Program (CTAP), and simulation in surgeon education. The goal is, he explained, to foster the position of the AO as a global leader in postgraduate medical education, and to establish the AO as provider of internationally recognized certificates of proficiency in key areas of trauma surgery.

Bassam Masri reported on AO Recon's future plans. Founded five years ago to meet the rapidly emerging need for high quality arthroplasty education, AO Recon now forms an integral part of the AO landscape. Since it was founded, AO Recon has held almost 110 educational events in 32 countries, involving around 20,000 participants."That's a tremendous amount of growth in the last five years," Masri said.

In 2019, the AO Recon Skills Lab was rolled out, training surgeons in specific steps for primary hip and knee arthroplasty procedures. In 2020, AO Recon is introducing anatomical specimen and drylab practical exercises as an essential addition to its Complex Hip and Knee Arthroplasty curriculum.


Geoff Richards, Director of the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) focused on how influential Prof Stephan M Perren's strain theory has been for the work carried out at ARI. He explored ARI's work to develop new ways of delivering antibiotics to infected areas around fractured bones. Hydrogel has a number of advantages over antibiotic-loaded cement, can be applied repeatedly, and is supported by robust proof of efficacy in both prophylaxis and treatment. He looked at the use of soundwaves in the real-time creation of complex, functional, cellular structures that support tissue vascularization.

Richards closed his presentation with some words about his mentor, Professor Stephan M Perren, and his approach to research, quoting him as saying "In research, questioning generally accepted theorems allows and unleashes creativity." Freedom of thought in research and development is especially important today, in a regulatory environment that is increasingly complex, and in markets that are particularly risk averse.

Delivering real improvements in patient care and outcomes requires spaces, like the AO, where the finest minds in their field can come together, experiment, and create solutions that deliver lasting impact.

The speakers all brought their own perspective on the AO's current activities, but the message was clear: the AO is an inherently innovative organization dedicated to improving patient care and outcomes.

“In research, questioning generally accepted theorems allows and unleashes creativity.”

Professor Stephan M Perren