Reelected commission chairs

Three reelected commission chairs reaffirm their commitment to AO VET and its mission.

25 May 2018

AOVET Commission members
Three recently reelected AO VET commission chairs reaffirm their commitment to AO VET’s mission of advancing the practice of veterinary surgery to improve patient outcomes. Reelected in May 2018 were AO VET Research & Development Commission Chair Matthew J Allen, Vet MB, PhD; AO VET Community Development Chair Cassio Ferrigno, DVM; and AO VET Education Committee Chair Alessandro Piras, DVM. Their three-year terms begin in July 2018 and end in June 2021.

Key achievements: AO VET Research & Development Commission Chair

Mathew Allen

Matthew is Professor of Small Animal Surgery and Director of Clinical Research at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge (GB), where he works on a range of preclinical research studies encompassing musculoskeletal oncology, bone/joint infection, joint replacement, musculoskeletal biomechanics, and biomaterials development. He has served the Orthopaedic Research Society as chair of its Basic Science Education Committee and its Council for Communications and is a section editor for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. He is also on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Orthopaedic Research.

“R&D represents a very small fraction of the overall AO VET budget, but the work of the Commission is extremely important,” Matthew says, adding that he looks forward to overseeing an impending transition in the composition of the AO VET Research & Development Commission and welcomes the increased global representation that change will bring.

Matthew says his key achievements during his first term fall into three categories: research education, AAALAC member organization status; and the future of the AO VET/AO Research Institute Davos grant program. These achievements include efforts to make best use of R&D monies in a challenging funding environment and enhancing AO VET’s visibility and relevance; membership in AAALAC, the gold-standard international body for voluntary accreditation of laboratory animal care programs and recruitment of external advisors to serve on the new AO Animal Welfare Advisory Group; and efforts to maximize return on AO VET/ARI grant funds.

“I believe that while R&D funds are limited, it is up to us to ensure that we use them wisely to develop research outputs that can be used to leverage additional funding in the future,” Matthew explains. In parallel, he says, it is critical that AO VET establish itself as a collegial, knowledgeable and productive member of the AO family.

Key achievements: AO VET Community Development Committee Chair

Cassio FerrignoCassio is a member of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (FMVZ) at Brazil’s University of São Paulo (USP) and in June will complete a three-year term as AO VET Latin American Chair.

As a specialist in veterinary orthopaedics, Cassio traces his interest in the AO philosophy back to the early days of his career, calling AO courses “the higher standard in education in the field of trauma and orthopaedics.”

During his first term as AO VET Community Development Chair, the clinical division increased its membership by 25 percent.

“[This was] due to continuously working very closely with the Community Development staff [as well as] promoting a bold and different approach with the marketing strategies,” Cassio says. “Those strategies can be described as a new image and colors for AO VET and tackling the beginning of social media development tools.” 

Those initiatives, he says, will give AO VET a strong foothold in the marketing of veterinary orthopedics courses and step up its ability to communicate better and more broadly with both existing and prospective members in veterinary orthopedics.

Cassio’s leadership as AO VET Community Development Chair is informed in part by his experience as AO VET Latin America Chair.

“Since the beginning of my mandate as AO VETLA Chair, I heard the needs and expectations of our members in Latin America and tried to fulfil [them] in the best way possible because I believe the future of AO VET is based on strong community activity and closeness to the AO Foundation,” he says, adding that maintaining and expanding AO VET membership will add value to the clinical division’s membership program.

Key achievements: AO VET Education Commission Chair

Alessandro PirasAlessandro, who is head surgeon at the Referral Centre for Orthopaedics and Canine Sports Medicine San Benedetto Veterinary Hospital, Italy, said he is privileged to have been part of a great team during his first term as AO VET Education Commission Chair and proud of the commission’s achievements during that time.

“When I applied the first time for my position, I summarized my plans for education in four action points with the goal of implementing a range of novel strategies to maintain the reputation of AO VET as the world leader in providing education in trauma,” Alessandro explains.

Those four action points were innovation in education; educating the educators; development of a global strategy; and sustainability. Significant progress has been made on all of those fronts, he says.

“Regarding innovation in education, we can now proudly claim that we are in a new era of teaching,” says Alessandro. Thanks to cooperation with the AO Educate Institute, the AO VET Education Commission produced a competence-based curriculum for principles and advanced courses and successfully piloted the new course formats in the United Kingdom in 2017. New pre-course modules were developed and laboratory exercises and interactive sessions were structured and improved. Furthermore, evaluation tools were standardized. 

On the “educating the educators” action point, Alessandro has focused on implementing faculty education through Faculty Education Program (FEP) and a course chair program. With AO Education Institute support, the AO VET Education Commission made FEP available in four regions and—after three years—161 faculty members worldwide have completed the program. 

Under Alessandro’s leadership, and with support from the AO Education Institute, AO VET now has educational programs that address local needs and are harmonized in a global education strategy. Additionally, Alessandro says, the AO VET Education Commission continues to address the clinical division’s need for self-sustainability and will continue to do so over the next three years.

“We can presently proudly say that we can satisfy the educational needs of the majority of the countries worldwide, thanks to a network of commercial and logistic partners that are willing to support AO VET,” he says, adding that his vision is to see AO VET regaining total leadership in quality education and innovation by establishing curriculum courses worldwide—a target that can be achieved by reaching self-sustainability.

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