Best Practices / Research Oral Abstract

Global Implementation of a Competency-based Curriculum for Spine Surgeons (O044)

Laurence Rhines, MD (University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center); Carlo Bellabarba, MD (University of Washington); Michael Cunningham, PhD (AO Foundation – AO Education, Switzerland); Jane Thorley Wiedler (AO Foundation – AO Education, Switzerland, AOSpine Education Commission)


AOSpine has implemented a competency-based curriculum based on patient care and problems in a range of spinal pathologies. This consistent global framework for optimizing the effectiveness of educational activities to fulfill the learning needs of practicing spine surgeons throughout their career has been piloted in 10 events worldwide during 2011.


To describe the development and global implementation of the competency-based AOSpine Curriculum for the continuing professional development of spine surgeons with the aim of improving patient care and outcomes.


The new AOSpine Curriculum was implemented in 10 events in 9 countries during 2011, involving 350 learners and 80 faculty worldwide. The curriculum was provided as a framework for instructional design and content development and a complete module on implementation was developed and integrated into faculty training. Pre and postcourse assessment and a commitment to change were administered at all events.


Data and conclusions from the 10 Curriculum pilot events will be presented, with a focus on pre and postcourse self-assessments (subjective and objective components), commitment to change, and faculty development/involvement to ensure implementation. Regional variations will be highlighted, as well as an analysis of the differences based on the level of experience of the learners and on the spinal pathology addressed.

Applications and Future Directions

Experiences from the piloting of the curriculum components for addressing a global audience will be shared and discussed with the audience, who will have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions for broader implementation to a community of 5,000 practicing surgeons.

Funding Sources