ASEAN Orthopaedic Association History
The year 1979 marked the inception of an association that would later be known as the ASEAN Orthopaedic Association, or AOA.
The idea came about when several orthopaedic surgeons gathered in an informal discussion, an offshoot of the formal Indonesian Orthopaedic Association (IOA) Annual Scientific Congress being held that year in Bandung, Indonesia. Sprung from that casual communication was the idea of organizing themselves to have a more formal exchange of orthopaedic knowledge and concerns. Prof Soelarto Reksoprodjo of IOA, Dr Jose M. Pujalte of the Philippines, and some members of the Thailand and Singapore Orthopaedic Association were in that informal gathering and decided to formally organize themselves and form one association where Dr. Pujalte was given that task for a period of one year. And the date was set, February 26, 27 and 28, 1981 – after three days of a rigorous organizational meeting at the Army and Navy Club of Manila, the ASEAN Orthopaedic Association (AOA) was born. And during those 3 days in February and after extensive brainstorming, the AOA mission-vision, Constitution and By-Laws was drafted. The Officers who will carry the torch were also elected. The 5-member nations that founded the AOA are Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
The organizational meeting was participated in by: Prof. Soelarto Reksoprodjo and Prof, Chehab Hilmy from Indonesia; Tan Sri Dato (Dr.) Abdul Majid Ismail and Prof P. Balasubramanian from Malaysia; Dr Jose Pujalte, D, Jose Silao Jr., Dr. Vicente Pido, Dr. Antonio Montalban, Dr. Ellewellyn Pasion, and Dr. Rimando Saguin from the Philippines; Dr. Ong Leong Boon and Prof. Robert W.H. Pho from Singapore; Dr. Thamrongrat Keokarn & Prof. Natee Rukpollamuang from Thailand. They all became the founding members of the AOA.
All fellows of each national association automatically become individual members of the AOA. The scientific meetings since then have been held annually, the hosting of which was determined alphabetically by country. Jose M. Pujalte was the AOA Founding president in 1981 and starting in 1982, the presidency rotated among the 5 countries alphabetically. The other AOA council members elected were: Prof Soelarto Reksoprodjo as Senior Vice President; Three Vice Presidents in the persons of Tan Sri Dato Dr. Abdul Majid Ismail, Dr. Thamrongrat Keokarn, and Prof. Robert Pho. Dr. Ong Leong Boon was named Founding Secretary-General. The directors were Drs. Chehab Hilmy, Antonio Montalban, Ellewellyn G. Pasion, Vincente Pido, Jose V. Silao, and Prof. Balasubramanian. All officers were officially inducted in to office during a combined meeting with the Philippine Orthopaedic Association (POA) at the Hotel Intercontinental, Makati City, Philippines last December 6, 1981
The AOA has the following objectives:
- To establish and maintain an association of orthopaedic surgeons, not for pecuniary profit but for the benefit of humanity by advancing the science of orthopaedic surgery and the ethical and competent practice of its art
- To engage in scientific research to determine the cause, nature and cure of diseases through each national association
- To promote friendship and camaraderie among the members by frequent exchange of fellows through scholarships, traveling fellowships, and regular scientific and social intercourse in the ASEAN and other regions of the world
- To contribute to the stability, peace and progress in the ASEAN region through the science and technology of the orthopaedic specialty
- To be at par with first world countries in the field of orthopaedic by beginning of the 21 century
- To encourage healthy competition as well as cooperation among the AOA member to promote closer ties and friendship
- To accept possible future members of AOA, from among the other ASEAN countries
The hosting of the annual meeting rotates among the five ASEAN member-nations in alphabetical order. The host nation organizes a comprehensive scientific congress that feature foreign speakers coming from the rest of the orthopaedic world. The host nation: chooses the theme for a particular congress; prepares the scientific program and incorporate time for fellowships for all AOA delegates which include the induction of new AOA officers for that year during the closing banquet. This brings about fun and closer camaraderie, renewing old ties and making new friends among the AOA members.
Dr. Ellewellyn G. Pasion succeeded Dr. Ong Leong Boon as the new Secretary General on December 2006 during the AOA congress hold in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. The Vietnamese Orthopaedic Association headed by Dr. Vo Van Thanh was inducted as a 6th AOA member country during this congress. The Myanmar Orthopaedic Society headed by Prof. Tsaw Lwin and Prof. Myint Thaung was accepted as the 7th country member of the AOA during the AOA Congress in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2012. The Orthopaedic Society of Brunei Darussalam headed by Dr. Kylath G. Mamman was accepted as the 8th AOA country member during the AOA Congress in Kuching, Malaysia in 2013.
The AOA council created also three new committees: the AOA Outreach programs committee in 2011 headed by Dr. Peter Lee; the ASEAN Journal Committee headed by its editor Pro. Saw Aik (2011); and the Orthopaedic Education and training committee chaired by Prof. Lee Eng Hin in 2013.