Hello, everyone. I am Manabu Ito, the new chairperson of AO Spine Asia Pacific from August 2019. I am a spine surgeon working at National Hospital Organization Hokkaido Medical Center, Sapporo, Japan. For the past 3 years, I had been working for AO Spine Asia Pacific (AP) as an Education Officer (Orthopaedic) with Satish Rudrappa (Neuro), to organize specimen courses and supervise many educational events across the entire region of AP. Under the great leadership of the past chairperson, Chung Chek Wong, AO Spine AP achieved a significant progress in the fields of education and research between 2016 and 2018. I am very excited to take over the chairperson’s role from Dr. Wong this year to make our society advance further during my 3 year-term.

Let me introduce our new team of board members in AO Spine AP from this August; Yoshiharu Kawaguchi (Education Ortho), Dong Kiu Chin (Education Neuro), Rushama Tandon (Community development), Jason Cheung (Research), Abhay Nene (Spine centres and Fellowships). All our new board members are well-known spine surgeons and leading scientists with abundant clinical and research experiences. And as you already know our Regional director, Mr. Kenneth Kam (Hong Kong office) is passionate to support not only our board members but also to take excellent care of all activities of this region. Ms. Rushama Tandon became the first female officer in the AP region and she has a strong intention to prepare more opportunities for female surgeons in our community. This is my utmost happiness to work with this strong team for the next 3 years.

As to the AO Spine membership in the world, the total number of AO Spine members in AP is 2092 as of 2019, which is the largest among the 5 regions in the whole world, followed by Europe and South Africa (1395), Latin America (1287), North America (718) and Middle East and Northern Africa (646). Inside the AP region, India is the largest (579), followed by Japan (578), East Asia (309), China (361), Korea (183), and Australia and New Zealand (AUNZ)(82). The new trend this year is that the number of members in China and AUNZ is growing by 30% than the previous year and that of Japan and East Asia is slightly decreasing. We are planning to take effective measures to recruit more young members and retain old members in our community by enhancing the values of the membership of our community. Also, since the total number of female members is 45 at present, which is only 2% of our whole community, there is an urgent need to make better environments for female spine surgeons in AP with Rushama.

As to our education events in our region, there are 63 education events in 2019 in total. The format of our courses is becoming more interactive with faculty members including specimen courses, hands-on courses rather than lecture centered symposiums. The biggest change in our education events in 2019 is collaboration with other international spine societies. Also, in late November we launched the first webinar in our region focusing on treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. The presenter was Prof. Kenneth Cheung, Hong Kong University, who is a world leading deformity surgeon. We will plan more webinars on interesting topics in 2020.

Research activities in our region are now improving significantly in terms of both their quality and quantity. Many excellent research proposals were submitted from our regions to the AO foundation and some of the projects get a large amount of funding from the foundation. We would like to create better research environments for young scientists in our region. Jason has a lot of new ideas how to maximize the research activities and publications from AP.

At the beginning of the first board meeting of our new team, I raised a slogan of the AO Spine AP for the next 3 years “One family. We are united”. Even though our region is too large and inherits a lot of diversities from place to place, if we have more chances to collaborate with each other, each country, or each industrial partner, our AO Spine AP has a tremendous potential to become one of the successful spine societies in the whole world. Welcome and thanks for joining a family of “AO Spine Asia Pacific”.

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2019 ACTIVITIES HIGHLIGHT AO Spine Asia Pacific Regional Course
3 Regional Anatomical Specimen Courses were organized in 3 different cities
  • 28-29 Jul 2019 I Bangkok, Thailand
  • 29 Aug 2019 I Kochi, India
  • 5-6 Nov 2019 I Chiang Mai, Thailand

More than 140 faculties and participants from 11 regions attended, including Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
2019 ACTIVITIES HIGHLIGHT AO Spine Asia Pacific Faculty Development
3 FEPs and 1 CEP were held with a total of 61 trained Faculty / Chairpersons from 13 country of origins. Participants were giving the opportunity to explore a variety of teaching methods that lead to an effective educational event for AOSAP.

4 faculties from AOSAP attended the LEP organized by AO. Participants were the highly experienced faculty members and chairpersons who got elected into important governance or education roles. They were taught about the important leadership skills to lead and manage educational initiatives.
2019 ACTIVITIES HIGHLIGHT "The Start of My AO Spine Journey"
Past fellows were invited to share their fellowship experience at education events, including what did they learn, what did they do after entering the community of AO Spine and what is the future plan in AO Spine.
MORE DETAILS Fellowship Experience Sharing at Education Events
2019 ACTIVITIES HIGHLIGHT AO Spine Asia Pacific Photo Gallery
2019 was a fruitful year with 63 events involving 612 faculty and 4690 participants. Every one of our AO Spine members make our events to be huge success. Check here to see the spine history that we have created together.


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