Educational Award winners and Fellowship Alumni

Kenneth Cheung awarded Germán Ochoa Traveling Fellowship


The ʻGerman Ochoa Traveling Fellowshipʼ is aimed at senior AOSpine surgeons with a desire to act as ambassadors promoting AOSpine as a global community and a leader in spinal education.


Cheung comments: “German Ochoa was a dear friend. Being awarded a fellowship in his honor means a lot to me. We share ideals and passion in educating the next generation of spine surgeons, and the award is an additional impetus for me to continue this journey.” During his fellowship, he plans to travel to Baku, Azerbaijan and Tibilisi, Georgia to teach, see patients and assist in surgeries.



Germán Ochoa

A founding member of AOSpine Latin America and the first chairperson of its Education Committee, in 2000 Germán Ochoa was elected as member of the AOSpine International Board for Education. He chaired the global AOSpine Education Commission 2011–2014. His involvement with AO Education for over 25 years speaks for his passion, immense experience in the academic field and exceptional contribution to bringing AO and AOSpine to the forefront of surgeon education.




Inspiration and Leadership—The Winners of the AOSpine Educator of the Year 2017 Awards


Nestor Fiore—AOSpine International Educator of the Year 2017 Award.


The AOSpine International Educator of the Year Award distinguishes a long standing and highly respected member of the AOSpine community who has demonstrated sustained and significant contribution to educational excellence.

The Review Committee consists of the current and past AOSpine Education Commission Chairpersons. The committee scores the nominees on their contribution to AOSpine education and their passion for surgeon education as well as their ambassadorial role within the community.



Nestor Fiore, "International Educator of the Year" award winnerNestor Fiore, "International Educator of the Year" award winner1 - 2<>


Nestor Fiore (BRA): “I consider the award an acknowledgment of my activities regarding the permanent changes in postgraduate medical education. It is very gratifying for me to be a member of this community that allows me to work in education, by contributing to the medical training universe for better patient care.”


AOSpine Regional Educator of the Year 2017 Award winners:


  • Matti Scholz (Europe)
  • Amer Aziz (Middle East)
  • Abhay Nene (Asia Pacific)
  • Daniel Gelb (North America)
  • Luiz Gustavo Dal Oglio Da Rocha (Latin America)



Abhay Nene, "Regional Educator of the Year" award winnerDaniel Gelb, "Regional Educator of the Year" award winnerLuiz Gustavo Dal' Oglio da Rocha1 - 3<>


Each winner has been honored by AOSpine for their leadership in educating surgeons. They are all experienced educators in their respective regions and act as AOSpine faculty at a local, national, and international level. They all share a passion for high-quality teaching with great motivation, inspiration and enthusiasm, and have demonstrated tremendous commitment in passing on their knowledge and experience to other spine surgeons.


The winners were announced at Global Spine Congress in Singapore.




Daniel Gelb

“I am extremely flattered to receive this award. AOSpine is the pre-eminent spine educational organization in the world. To be recognized by your peers for such an award is a great honor. This award inspires me to continue to improve spine education for North America and the world.”


Abhay Nene

“To be selected as the regional educator of the year in a group that consists of the who’s who of Spine—is an immense honour obviously.... but the best part is that this reward comes for doing what I love to do—teaching. I thank AOSpine for giving me a boost to continue teaching and learning in true AO style.”


Amer Aziz

“AO spine truly recognises excellency in education and motivates to do even better. This award is like a boost and encourages me to continue giving my best for AO spine educational activities. A magnificent way to thank the AO spine  faculty and has given me a great sense of pride.”


Luiz Gustavo Dal' Oglio da Rocha

“The Regional Educator of the year award  means not only the recognition of the role we play as faculty but also is a motivational way of  stimulating those engaged with the AOSpine educational project. It's such a motivation to win this award!”


Matti Scholz

“After a long journey with AOSpine this award means a lot to me. It is a confirmation of my work done in the past and a motivation for the ongoing work in education of the future generation of spine surgeons.”







Congratulations AOSpine Fellows Alumni Steering Committee


Fellows Alumni activities well received during the Global Spine Congress 2018.


In 2015 the AOSpine International Board considered that AOSpine̕s past fellows did not get the correct attention deserved after they had finished their fellowships and therefore tasked the AOSpine Education Commission to devise a plan to ensure all AOSpine fellows felt a valued part of the community after their fellowship experience.


In Dubai during the GSC 2016 the first dinner for past fellows was held and the concept of forming a Fellows Alumni was discussed. Out of this meeting a Fellows Alumni Steering Committee was formed with interested members from Europe and the Middle East. Tarek ElHewala, (Egypt), Harry Gebhard, (Switzerland), Cordula Netzer, (Switzerland) were the founding members with Rick Bransford (USA) and Kenny Kwan (Hong Kong) joining later in 2018.


In Milan at the GSC 2017 the alumni association was officially launched with a reception and exclusive scientific sessions for the members during the congress. After extensive research from the AOSpine Fellows Alumni Steering Committee they decided to hold a dinner in Singapore for all alumni members and AOSpine Ambassadors plus two sessions during the congress: one discussing the various pathways members of the organization can take to become more involved, and one providing a practical session on teaching techniques. All 3 activities were well received and in the future additional marketing will be done to optimize the experience for those who join.


The Fellows Alumni Steering Committee will continue to work towards offering more benefits to its alumni members and AOSpine would like to officially thank the founding members:



Tarek ElHewalaHarry GebhardCordula Netzer

And the new members


Rick BransfordKenny Kwan







Newsletter 17 | July 2018

Newsletter 17

July 2018

AOSpine |


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