Mark Markel elected first veterinarian president-elect of AO Foundation

Dr. Mark D. Markel
Dr. Mark D. Markel

Dr. Mark D. Markel, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, was recently elected president-elect of the AO Foundation (AO), effective July 1.

The AO is the world’s largest nonprofit orthopedic foundation, based in Switzerland, which is dedicated to the surgical treatment of bone fractures and disorders. Innovation plays a key part in everything the AO does, including basic research, product development, and clinical validation. The AO has around 20,000 surgeon members working in the fields of craniomaxillofacial, reconstructive, spine, trauma, and veterinary surgery.

Dr. Markel was elected to the position at the annual AO trustees meeting June 27 in Sydney, Australia. In two years, he will succeed Tim Pohlemann, MD, professor of traumatology and reconstructive surgery at the Saarland University Hospital in Homburg, Germany, as president from 2025-27. He will be the first veterinarian to do so.

As co-director of the Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory at UW-Madison, Dr. Markel (UC-Davis ’83) conducts research in comparative orthopedics focused on bone, cartilage, and tendon regeneration.

He received a doctorate in orthopedic biomechanics from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in 1990. That same year, he joined the Wisconsin veterinary faculty. He was associate dean for advancement at the veterinary school for 11 years before becoming dean in 2012.

Dr. Markel is a member of the university’s Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center and holds affiliate positions in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at the School of Medicine and Public Health and in the Institute on Aging.

He is also a past president of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS), and a past president of its board of regents.

“It is an incredible honor to be elected as the first veterinarian to lead the AO Foundation, and I’m very much looking forward to working with so many amazing colleagues and fellow surgeons to further improve patient care and outcomes for those suffering from trauma and musculoskeletal disorders,” Dr. Markel said. “The level of enthusiasm and gratitude I feel for the work we have ahead of us is only surpassed by the confidence I have in all that we will accomplish together.”

A version of this story appears in the September 2023 print issue of JAVMA