AO VET’s Cassio Ferrigno looks to the future


28 June 2021

Cassio Ferrigno

As AO VET Community Development Commission Chairperson Cassio Ferrigno has handed the reins to his successor, Bruno Peirone, he recounts with pride the many community development achievements since he took on the role in 2015.

Ferrigno, a small animal specialist who earned his Ph.D. in veterinary surgery and began his career at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil, took on the role as AO VET Community Development Commission chairperson before it was a formal entity.

“When I started as chairman, I was by myself, and one of my goals was to establish social media to engage with our members and to market our courses and activities. Another goal was to have a real commission, and it was formed two years ago with participants from the four major AO VET regions,” he says.

Real engagement, the actual value

The engagement Ferrigno envisioned is essential, because he knows all the value the clinical division brings to veterinary orthopedic surgeons worldwide.

“Our educational opportunities are evidence-driven,” Ferrigno explains. “And, due to our global orientation, we can go anywhere in the world, and we often learn from surgeons in other parts of the little world things that can improve our surgeries and patient outcomes. The exchange of knowledge is among the best in the world, and we need to ensure that our online teaching is the same gold-standard quality as our on-site courses.”

In addition to harnessing social media to engage the AO VET network and attract new members, the clinical division has made an agile pivot to online education in order to counter the shortage of on-site, face-to-face courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic affected community development a lot. Participants are very happy with our webinars and we have had an excellent turnout to these events, which we have offered as free, open education to the world,” Ferrigno says. “This opened a window of opportunity to offer AO VET masterclasses during the AO Davos Courses 2020, allowing participants to learn from master surgeons as faculty.”

A better surgeon and teacher

Ferrigno first encountered AO VET in 1995 when he took part in an AO Trauma course in Brazil. That enticed him to participate in the popular AO VET courses in Ohio—the longest-running annual AO courses offered outside Davos, Switzerland—where he met AO VET luminaries Jörg Auer and Alessandro Piras and discussed taking AO VET to Brazil. It wasn’t long before that vision became a reality—and Ferrigno became chairperson of AO VET Latin America.

“Thanks to AO VET, I have become a better orthopedic surgeon, and through our networking opportunities, I have gotten to know the main players in veterinary orthopedics around the world,” he says. “AO VET has also made me a better teacher, not only through teaching with the best but through the AO Faculty Education Program (FEP) and the AO Chairperson Education Program (CEP).”

This summer, he will take his AO VET-influenced expertise to the University of Tennessee (Knoxville, United States), where he has accepted a position as Associated Professor in veterinary orthopedics. It’s the realization of a long-time dream and a step into a future that—naturally—will include continued camaraderie with the AO VET network around the world.

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