AO Foundation—Principles of AO Spine Educational Events
1) Academic independence
Development of all curricula, design of scientific event programs, and selection of faculty are the sole responsibilities of volunteer surgeons from the AO network. All education is planned based on needs assessment data, designed, and evaluated using concepts and evidence from the most current medical education research, and involving the expertise of the AO Education Institute (www.aofoundation.org).
Industry participation is not allowed during the entire curriculum development and planning process to ensure academic independence and to keep content free from bias.
2) Compliance with accreditation and industry codes
All planning, organization, and execution of educational activities follow existing codes for accreditation of high-quality education:
- Accreditation Criteria of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, USA (www.accme.org)
- ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities (www.accme.org)
- Criteria for Accreditation of Live Educational Events of the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (www.uems.eu)
Events that receive direct or indirect unrestricted educational grants or in-kind support from industry also follow the ethical codes of the medical industry, such as:
- Eucomed Guidelines on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals (www.medtecheurope.org)
- AdvaMed Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals (advamed.org)
- Mecomed Guidelines on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals (www.mecomed.org)
3) Branding and advertising
No industry logos or advertising (with the exception of the AO Foundation and AO Clinical Division) are permitted in the area where educational activities take place.
Sponsors providing financial or in-kind support are allowed to have a promotional booth or run activities outside the educational area with approval from the event chairperson.
4) Use of technologies and products in simulations
In case simulations are chosen as an educational method to teach skills, we only use technology approved by the AOTK System (AOTK)—a large independent group of volunteer surgeons developing and peer-reviewing new technology (more information about AOTK, its development and approval process can be found on the AO Foundation website: www.aofoundation.org).
Industry staff is not allowed to interfere with the educational content or engage in educational activities during the event.