AO: Narratives from our members

Atiq Uz Zaman: My AO journey
Atiq Uz Zaman, professor of orthopedic and spine surgery at Lahore Medical and Dental College and Ghurki Trust Teaching Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, shares his AO Journey: 

As a proud member of AO Spine since 2005, I am honored to share my story and highlight the organization's commitment to celebrating diversity and promoting change within our field. When I first joined, I was apprehensive about the high cost of AO Spine's educational events and their accessibility to surgeons in low-income countries. However, to my surprise, I discovered that AO Spine is an incredibly inclusive organization that creates opportunities for promising surgeons from all backgrounds.   

My own experience—which may not represent everyone else’s experience— is this: I am a Central Asian surgeon practicing in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region, and AO Spine has been instrumental in revealing my personal qualities and providing me with the tools and opportunities to excel in my profession as an educator and leader. Over the past 18 years, I have had the privilege of contributing to 15 international courses as a chairperson and 13 as a faculty member, as well as 36 national courses as faculty. Additionally, I have had the humbling experience of serving the Global Spine Diploma (GSD) Program as a member of the curriculum committee, module chairperson, and—currently—as GSD chairperson.   

My passion for education has only grown stronger during my time with AO Spine, and I have since obtained a master's degree in medical education. I am now a supervisor and examiner for the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan for postgraduate surgeons and was honored with the Regional Educator of the Year Award in 2021. I am also proud to serve as the MENA regional education officer, a role that allows me to continue to contribute to the AO’s mission. All of these opportunities and honors are due to the AO’s commmitment to diversity, inclusion, and mentorship.  

I strongly encourage young surgeons to consider joining AO Spine to boost both their engagement and professionalism. AO Spine is more than just an educational resource; it is a community of diverse individuals committed to advancing the field of spine surgery while celebrating our differences. Let us continue to work together towards a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

Recognizing that not everyone has had the same opportunities I did, AO Access offers many chances for everyone to engage with open access.

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