Our journey

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The road to greater engagement with low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)

Building on a Swiss tradition of excellence in fracture care since 1958

AO Alliance is one of the most ambitious initiativesthat determines to reduce orthopedic injury-related morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We accomplish this by teaching and supporting best practices in patient care and the uptake of appropriate trauma and orthopedic nonoperative and operative principles.

1958 – AO Foundation

The AO (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen – Association for the Study of Internal Fixation) was created in 1958 by 13 Swiss surgeons. Having experienced firsthand the benefits of internal fixation of fractures using implants, they set out to promote the study of this relatively new branch of surgery and spread the news to others by teaching principles of operative fracture treatment.

Since its early days, the AO has been outward-looking, establishing reciprocal contacts with centers of excellence in Europe, North America, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and disseminating information to surgeons, trainees, and nurses throughout the world.

1999 – AO SEC

The AO Socio Economic Committee (AO SEC) was set up to respond to the need for fracture care education in LMICs. For over 15 years, it played a major role in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Pacific and in Latin America. Fellowships, targeted courses, and lectures from visiting surgeons and mostly local faculty were offered to healthcare workers in LMICs to raise fracture care standards.

2015 – AO Alliance

While AO SEC fracture care education and fellowships continued to expand, it became clear that the need to improve care of the injured in LMICs required a more focused approach.

The AO Alliance was created as a separate legal entity from the AO, taking over activities of AO SEC. Eleven Founding Fathers of the AO Alliance signed into being this new organization: Chris Colton, John Croser, Paul Demmer, Norbert Haas, James Hughes, James Kellam, René Marti, Peter Matter, Joseph Schatzker, Chris van der Werken, and Hansjörg Wyss.

AO Alliance began operations in January 2015 and is now a catalyst in knowledge development and transfer for trauma and orthopedic care in LMICs.