Career-spanning AO involvement motivates Stefan Scharvogel to ‘pay it forward’ as a member of the AO VET Europe and Southern Africa Board
27 September 2021
Stefan Scharvogel (C), AOVET Course, practical exercise, small animal, Challenges in implant removal and osteotomy failure (DPO), AO Davos courses, December, 2017
In his new role as a member of the AO VET Europe and Southern Africa (AO VETESA) Board and its representative to the AO VET Education Commission, longtime faculty member Stefan Scharvogel is eager to pay forward all that he has gained from his AO VET involvement over the past 25 years.
A small animal specialist in Munich, Germany, Scharvogel says his motivation to serve on the board is motivated by his “most sincere opinion that well-founded, high-quality education and training are the foundation for excellence in veterinary medicine.”
“Due to the fact that as an active AO VET member—including activities as faculty, chairperson, mentor, and AO Trustee—I have profited immensely from AO VET,” he explains. “In return, I strive to repay by contributing to the AO by bringing education competence as a member of the AO VETESA Board.”
Scharvogel believes the AO—both historically and currently—leads the way in scientific, evidence-based knowledge and its ongoing development in veterinary medicine.
“This understanding has become very clear to me in the many years that I have been active in different institutions, initially working in research, then as a clinician, and later on as a specialized veterinary orthopedic surgeon,” he says. “Education and training on the basis of scientific evolution at its best is the hallmark of the AO. In the beginning of my career, I was happy to acquire this knowledge in training courses, and even more so later when I was able to pass this on to younger colleagues during classes or while actively practicing as an orthopedic surgeon.”
Looking to the future, Scharvogel says it is important to maintain current AO VET educational structures while—at the same time—developing and successfully implementing innovative ideas.
“Currently, we are living in exciting times. The world is changing more rapidly and intensely than in many prior years,” he says. “A significant digital transformation is underway that will alter our lives and working environments, as well as enormously influencing AO education and training. In the long-term, hands-on courses will remain the core of our training system, as they are essential for high-quality practical education in our field of expertise. At the same time, we must be open to innovation and developing novel models of digital or a combination of on-site and digital training.”
Scharvogel says the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these change processes and that transformation will continue well into the future.
“A step into the future was our AO VET masters course—for which I was responsible as chairperson—at the AO Davos Courses 2021,” says Scharvogel. “We will learn from this and develop new models for the future.”
Scharvogel is a 1991 veterinary medicine graduate Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München and earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Technical University of Munich (TUM). His specialty training includes work at LMU, Heidelberg University, and the University of Leipzig. He earned his Fachtierarzt (German national specialist designation in small animal medicine) in 1996 and the Fachtierarzt für Chirurgie (German national specialist designation in veterinary surgery) in 2000. Since 2001, he has been a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. Additionally, from 2003–2019, he was owner and head of the clinic and surgical department with Tierklinik Haar in Germany, and currently is owner and head of scharus GmbH, providing training and mentoring in small animal orthopedics and traumatology. Until 2020, Scharvogel chaired the “friendship circle” of German-speaking AO VET members. He was also an AO Foundation Trustee until 2019.