AO Access—diversity, inclusion and mentorship

At the heart of the AO community

About AO Access

On June 24, 2020, the AO Foundation Board approved AO Access, establishing the diversity, inclusion, and mentorship initiative firmly within the AO. This further demonstrates the AO’s commitment to addressing existing inequalities to entry and advancement, and to identifying and overcoming barriers.

Our vision

Be a diverse and inclusive organization with equitable access, and opportunity for advancement within the AO organization at all levels, regions, clinical divisions, and units.

Our mission

Implement dedicated programs, policies, and organizational structures that reflect a diverse and inclusive global community of health care professionals including mentoring to make us the most productive, innovative, and sustainable learning community for the benefit of our patients.

Get involved

AO Access mentoring

Grow your relationship with the AO: Discover a personally and professionally enriching experience via mentorship.

Accessing AO: narratives from our members

Share you story and create a culture and climate where everyone feels welcome, safe, respected, and valued and feel they belong.

Submit your narrative here (AO login required):

AO Access task force recruiting

The success of AO Access is tied to engagement and self-nomination. We welcome your involvement.

The second round for self-nomination continues to be open for future collaboration. To get started please complete this short survey.

Diversity statement

The AO is an international network of surgeon specializing in the treatment of trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. The AO recognizes that a diverse and inclusive community of surgeons, operating room personnel, health care professionals, and researchers is of paramount importance in its mission of promoting excellence in patient care and outcomes. The AO will focus on recruiting staff, faculty, and leaders that represent the cornerstone of this diverse, global, network. The AO is committed to cultivating diverse leaders who are passionate about advancing its mission and enhancing its position as a world leader in education, research, innovation, and clinical practice.

“Although words are important, actions matter most: Our leadership ought to look more like our members and the patients they serve. AO Access is our vehicle to identify, train and support our community and beyond in order drive change. One of my goals has been to evolve the culture and governance of the AO’s boards, committees, and volunteer structure to become more innovative and diverse.”

Robert McGuire, MD, AO Foundation Past-President

Educational webinars on diversity, inclusion and mentorship

In a series of interactive webinars targeting particular aspects of diversity and inclusion, mentorship and sponsorship, selected AO experts and invited speakers share their experience and answer your questions.

If you were not able to join live, please sign in with your AO login or register now to watch it on AO videos.

The Right Mentoring Connection May Change Your Life

The AO recognizes that mentoring is a life-long process with unique age dependent requirements which may vary between members of a diverse and inclusive community of surgeons, operating room personnel, health care professionals, and researchers.

A text version of the question-and-answer session from the webinar is available for you to read: The right mentoring connection - AO Access webinar QA summary

Please sign in with your AO login or register now to watch:

Recorded webinar here


Robert McGuire

AO Foundation Board representative

MD, AO Foundation Past-President


Marinis Pirpiris

Associate Professor, MBBS, BMedSci, GradDipEpidBiostat, MEpi, PhD, FRACS, FAOrthA


W. Brad Johnson, PhD

Professor of psychology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law

United States Naval Academy Faculty associate in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University


Annette Holian

MBBS FRACS FAOrthA MSurgEd Monash Children's hospital

Division of Surgery-Orthopaedic Surgery

Group Captain, RAAF Reserves Australia


Samantha Leigh Morello

Faculty and leader development task force lead


Associate professor of large animal surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Amy Kapatkin, Matthew Allen, Tatjana Topalovic

Growth, Sustainability, and Innovation Through Enhancing Workplace and Organizational Diversity

The second webinar demonstrated the importance of workplace and organizational diversity, which are vital for the AO's growth, sustainability, and innovation, featuring academic diversity and inclusion leader David J Brown, MD, and AO CMF surgeon Lamont R Jones.

A text version of the question-and-answer session from the webinar is available for you to read:

Diversity to enhance the AO’s cultural journey: QA summary (coming soon)

Please sign in with your AO login or register now to watch:

Recorded webinar here

Lamont R Jones, MD, MBA, FACS

Vice-Chair, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Director of Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic

Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit, Michigan, United States)

Otolaryngology service chief

Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital (West Bloomfield Township, Michigan, United States)

David J Brown, MD

Associate professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Associate vice president and associate dean for health equity and inclusion

University of Michigan Medical School (Ann Arbor Michigan, United States)

Diversity Initiatives in the Workplace Evidence-based Approaches and Outcomes

The first webinar of a series of webinar that the Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (ODII) working group, now called AO Access has recently produced, featured two experts speakers (from both academia and industry), Molly Carnes and Gabriela Rojas and demonstrated how diversity initiatives lead to benefits in an organization including outcomes such as improved productivity, enhanced communication and better organizational performance.

A text version of the question-and-answer session from the webinar is available for you to read:

Diversity and inclusion webinar: QA summary


Please sign in with your AO login or register now to watch:

Recorded webinar here

Molly Carnes

Virginia Valian Professor, Departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Industrial & Systems Engineering Director, Center for Women’s Health Research Codirector, Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI), University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gabriela Rojas

Vice president, Global Strategic Capabilities, DePuy Synthes, Johnson and Johnson

Women’s Leadership and Inclusion Global Steering Committee, Johnson & Johnson Enterprise

Global Office of Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, Johnson & Johnson Enterprise

AO Access Steering Committee and task forces

Meet the diversity, inclusion, and mentorship working group.



Podcast: AO Access to success

Voices for change: celebrating diversity within the AO

Faculty Support Packages on AO Access

Previous activities related to AO Access

FacultyFocus articles on AO Access

Committed to opportunity, diversity, and inclusion

Research shows that diverse groups are more creative and effective in problem solving, making an organization more resilient and adaptable; leading to benefits in research and innovation, as well as increased funding opportunities; all the above leading to improved patient health care. Patients want surgeons to look like them, with young graduates being more likely to engage with organizations with people in leadership positions serving as role models that one can associate with. Both aspects are important for future sustainability and success.

The AO is committed to promoting underrepresented groups within the organization, and globally in the field of orthopedics. A proactive, evidence-based approach to understanding participation habits and obstacles experienced by members allows AO to approach diversity and inclusion in a targeted and comprehensive manner.

The AO recognizes that diversity and inclusion are increasingly important issues and is developing projects, programs and policies to increase the diversity of its leaders, faculty, learners and staff. The current makeup of the AO organization does not reflect the gender and ethnic diversity of the wider medical and veterinary orthopedic community, particularly regarding those in early career stages and in residency training programs. In 2018, the AO had a first kick-off meeting after the creation of the Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (ODII). Based on an identified lack of representation by women and other minority groups in the leadership within and beyond the AO, research was initiated to gather specific data to identify barriers. A large-scale evidence-based survey revealed barriers to faculty entry and advancement for women and other underrepresented groups. Conversations regarding gender disparity and lack of inclusion of other underrepresented groups have taken place in the AO. Identification of this problem is helpful; however, data and data analysis were needed in order to implement effective interventions in the organization.

Find out more in this edition of Faculty Focus. This data is used to instruct programs to promote diversity, inclusion and mentorship programs, trough the new entity AO Access.

Supporting our global community

As a global community of surgeons, with members from six continents and across many fields of orthopedic practice, we are committed to supporting and including all of our colleagues and peers, regardless of race, gender, culture, and religion in our AO activities so as to further our mission for superb patient care and outcomes.

We realize there are multiple global inequities that affects communities, educational institutions, and healthcare systems. In keeping with our mission at the AO, we realize we cannot provide excellence in patient care and outcomes without providing an opportunity for dialogue, education and creation of an entity to address these inequities as well as identify and mentor our future leaders.

The AO is proud to have unveiled its own Opportunity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative this past year and will now include Mentorship as a new entity. The new entity called AO Access will be dedicated to cultivating a diverse member and leadership organization, to ongoing self-reflection, and to promote those values throughout the AO community.

We look forward to providing opportunities with a series of webinars and volunteer working groups, where people dedicated to pursuing these same goals can come together and strengthen our organization. We encourage peaceful and productive progress that will help uphold the values of understanding, tolerance, and acceptance which in the end, will improve the care we provide for our patients.