Latin America

The first years, and becoming a regional affiliate

In 1958, a group of Swiss surgeons, led by Maurice E. Müller, founded the AO (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen). Its primary mission was to standardize fracture care in order to improve patient outcomes. In Latin America, the history of the AO Foundation began in the early 1970s, with the first AO Courses being held in Mexico and Brazil.

It was in June 1998 when the AO Foundation established AO Latin America (AOLAT) as an official regional affiliate during its AO Trustees Meeting in Davos. The founders of AO Latin America included José Soares Hungria Neto, Gottfried Köberle, Cleber Paccola, Jaime Quintero, Fiesky Nuñez, Carlos Sancineto, Marcelo Somarriva and Alberto Fernandez. In the beginning, the new AOLAT affiliate had a number of challenges to overcome, including how to deliver the standards of fracture care in developing countries with a limited health system infrastructure. Despite these challenges, AOLAT grew considerably in the years that followed. Today, it is an important affiliate of the AO Foundation, delivering numerous educational activities in 17 countries.

Moving Forward: The evolution of Latin America as part of the AO Foundation

Today, AOTrauma is the AO Foundation's largest division, and since its creation in 2008, it has grown into a global community of best-in-class trauma and orthopedic surgeons, researchers and operating room personnel. AOTrauma continues to focus on its strengths: education, research and community development.

AOTrauma has representation from each of the five AO Regions on its International Board. In 2009, Sergio Fernandez became the first chairperson of AOTrauma Latin America, and the first representative to have a seat on the AOTrauma International Board.

In 2011, Mauricio Kfuri was elected chairperson of AOTrauma Latin America. Today, the AOTrauma Latin America Board Members are Carlos Dominguez (Education), Ivan Salce (Community Development), Juan Concha (Fellowships), William Belangero (Research) and Jaime Acosta (Regional director).

Over the past years, AOTrauma Latin America has evolved: The number of active AOTrauma members has doubled in the last two years; the region has more than 300 faculties across 17 countries; and its regional web page, www.aotla.org, showcases hundreds of videos on AO principles that are presented in either Spanish or Portuguese, the two main regional languages.

AOTrauma Latin America is also taking innovative approaches to education.  For example, in 2012, a 3D video session on surgical approaches was introduced during an official AOTrauma event. AOTrauma Latin America also invests in its faculty group, by offering them opportunities for continuous medical education. At the AOTrauma Latin America Weekend event, which was held in both 2013 and 2014, faculty groups gathered together for special training programs on how to chair courses and deal with soft tissues. To stay continually up-to-date with what is going on in AOTrauma Latin America, please visit the AOTrauma Latin America webpage.

AOTrauma Latin America’s mission

AOTrauma Latin America fully supports the main mission of AO Foundation: to implement care for patients with musculoskeletal disorders. The goal of AOTrauma Latin America is to make AO principles knowledgeable to a large community of Spanish and Portuguese speaking surgeons. To achieve this, AOTrauma Latin America recognizes the need to invest more in its faculty group to further improve the course outcomes. It also recognizes communication as a key element, in order to strengthen the network and deliver information in real time. The regional webpage delivers content and allows statistical analysis on what works and what could be changed. It is the aim of AOTrauma Latin America to reach excellence in medical education in order to standardize the approach to our patients.