Successful AO Trustees Meeting 2023 in Sydney, Australia

The Trustees Meeting 2023 kicked off on June 22 with a warm welcome from AO President Florian Gebhard, explaining the ten reasons why he chose Sydney as the location for this year's event. This was followed by a heartfelt presentation from keynote speaker Mark Mathews, a famous local professional big-wave surfer who explained in detail the nature of life-changing injuries sustained during a surfing accident and his arduous but inspiring journey back to surfing. This very much set the stage for further fascinating talks by local AO Trustee Marinis Pipiris on AO and diversity in Australia before Jake Meney, Head of Reptiles and Spiders at the Australia Reptile Park, gave the audience a fascinating talk on how he milks snakes and spiders for their venom as part of his anti-venom program. After coffee, sports medicine specialist Rawiri Durie gave a deeply personal talk on his Maori roots, the "true" meaning of the All Blacks Haka, and the nature of injuries in rugby. The morning session was rounded off by local AO Trustee Michael Schuetz, who gave a fascinating insight into the nature of polytrauma care in remote areas in Australia, illustrating its challenges and dangers from his own experiences.

The afternoon was devoted to the Annual Meeting, with reports from the President, Past President, CEO and AO Foundation Board Vice-Chair, CFO and COO, and Chair of the Ethics and Compliance Committee. The election of Tim Pohlemann as the new AO President for a term of two years starting July 1, 2023, and the election of Mark Markel as the new AO President-Elect also took place. The election results were warmly received.

The morning sessions on day two were dedicated to in-depth reports from the executive directors of the AO Research Institute (Geoff Richards), AO Education Institute (Urs Rüetschi, outgoing; and Tobias Hüttl, incoming) and AO Innovation Translation Center (Claas Albers) on the myriad projects, programs, and initiatives their teams are working on across the AO. This was followed by a partnership update from Aldo Denti, Company Group Chairman DePuy Synthes, and a presentation from the AO Research Institute program leader on regenerative orthopedics (Martin Stoddart) on regulating stem-cell fate by mechanics. The morning concluded with an engaging breakout session on the topic of "From good to great—a life as a surgeon," run by the chairs of the International Boards of the clinical specialties.

The final day of the meeting on June 24 started with a practical session from Australian doctor Bill Nimo, a snake and spider-bite expert, on how to survive venomous bites. This was followed by a trilogy of informative sessions on robotics: the first from AO Trustee Loic Dejardin on robotics for screw placement in small animals; the second from AO Recon surgeon David Liu on robotics in joint replacement; and the third from local AO Spine surgeon Aaron Buckland on robotics in spinal surgery. The final talk before coffee was on 3D printing and patient-specific implants by another Australina AO Spine surgeon Andrew Bucknill.

The final session in the scientific program was an interactive social media training for surgeons delivered by the AO's Head of Communications & Events (Olga Harrington). During this session, the AO Foundation Board industry expert Christina Busmalis shared recommendations on the appropriate usage of social media, and a lively panel discussion on how surgeons should and could use social media ensued with a high level of engagement from the audience.

To conclude the final day, the incoming AO President Tim Pohlemann gave a glimpse into the future of his presidency, while the last words were given by outgoing AO President Florian Gebhard, closing an excellent AO Trustees Meeting 2023.

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