AO College 2022 earns enthusiastic reviews as call for 2023 term quickly approaches

AO College

AO College, an immersive, three-month, cross-divisional program for highly enthusiastic and motivated young surgeons based in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region, graduated its 2022 class in December—and the call for 2023 participants is underway now.

Open to highly motivated and enthusiastic young trauma, spine, and craniomaxillofacial (CMF) surgeons who have graduated from medical or dental school and are within two to five years of their residency/training program, AO College is an intensive, three-month program focusing on helping them develop globally recognized excellence in surgical, research, teaching, and leadership skills. The program is supported by the AO Jubilee Fund, a pool of resources earmarked at the AO’s 60th anniversary in 2018 to safeguard the organization’s legacy and ensure that even more people around the world would have access to appropriate, timely care.

Enthusiastic feedback

One hundred percent of the 72 participants in 2022 rated the experience as excellent or good, according to feedback collected at the end of the program.

Spine surgeon Mohamed Ahmed (Egypt) described the AO College components he found most compelling.

“I learned a lot about spine fracture classifications, and I really think it is simple and genius work,” he explained. “The research section was a step-by-step process, well organized, and I enjoyed it a lot. The professional development section was so interesting; leadership, teamwork, and good communication are all important traits for a good doctor.”

Craniomaxillofacial surgeon (CMF) Raphael Onsongo (Kenya) noted that the AO College modules took his surgical knowledge to the next level.

“My surgical knowledge has improved by seeing what other clinicians are doing out there. The research module has helped me in my own school research assignments as well as final thesis,” said Onsongo. “The leadership module has led me to take on leadership more actively and on purpose in and out of the hospital. The program has been a blessing.”

Also representing CMF surgery, Egypt’s Omnia El Omrani called the AO College experience “transformative.”

“Participating in the program has contributed to my development as a young surgeon and global leader with the primary responsibility of benefiting my patients and communities in the same capacity I benefit myself,” she said, adding praise for AO College faculty. “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the faculty members who curated and delivered this exceptionally invaluable AO College that has been transformative for me on both the professional and personal levels. I was impressed by the diversity of expertise of both the faculty members and the experts of the AO Study Clubs.”

Trauma surgeon Fadi Ibrahim (Egypt) found it difficult to narrow AO College’s benefits down to just one.

“Apart from refreshing and enhancing my orthopedic knowledge, I think I benefited the most from the research course. It was one of the main reasons which drove me to participate in this program,” Ibrahim said.

‘Faculty were excellent’

Participants also praised the renowned AO College faculty.

“The faculty were excellent. The sessions were engaging and enjoyable,” said spine surgeon Kaleab Tesfaye (Ethiopia).

“All the faculty was extremely helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced. I learned a lot and want to thank all faculty and the AO from the heart,” added trauma surgeon Ilyas Khan (Pakistan).

The 2022 program concluded with a December 10, 2022, online graduation party featuring AO President Florian Gebhard and AO CEO and Vice-Chairman Christoph Lindenmeyer. Graduates were asked to dress in typical local attire and share their favorite drinks. The top three AO College participants per clinical specialty earned a CHF 300 voucher and the top ten each won a membership. Those winners were:

  • Trauma: Fadi Ibrahim (Egypt), Eveline Sikahanga (Tanzania), and Mustafa Yehia (Iraq)
  • Spine: Ahmed Al-huthaifi (Egypt), Christopher Anele (Nigeria), and Mohamed Ahmed (Egypt)
  • CMF: Faizan Abdul Hussain Lakhdir (Pakistan), David Deoglas (Tanzania), and Uchenna Egbunah, (Nigeria) 

The 2023 AO College program

The 2023 AO College program, scheduled for April 29 to July 29, takes a five-point approach focused on community development, mentoring and guidance, personal development, research, and education. A hallmark of AO College is the mentoring and support provided by expert international and regional AO faculty. Upon completion of and full engagement in the program, participants receive a certificate.