Opportunity, diversity, inclusion, and mentorship

The AO's 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 that are passionate about advancing its mission and enhancing its position as a world leader in education, research, innovation, and clinical practice.

Opportunity, diversity, and inclusion initiative

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 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.  In 2018, the AO had a first kick-off meeting after the creation of the Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (ODII).

Based on a 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. This information will be used to help instruct programs to promote diversity, with an initial focus on increasing the number of women in leadership roles.

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 will allow AO to approach diversity and inclusion in a targeted and comprehensive manner. 

Upcoming events

Future events include a second meeting of the opportunity, diversity, and inclusion initiative in Davos, to share outcomes of the evidence-based and statistically relevant data identifying barriers, and how to overcome these to make the AO a diverse and inclusive organization.

The theme for OneAO AONA is "Culture" and this includes a session on "Transcultural care in medicine, diversity, inclusion, in health care and in the AO."

Diversity activities across the AO

Prior to the creation of this dedicated initiative, diversity-related activities have been underway across the AO. These activities, led by the AO's constituent entities, are continuing, and news and updates on them can be found here.

AO CMF interviews Dr Emily Nyamu about her career and achievements as one of Kenya's leading craniomaxillofacial surgeons. Read the interview.

AO Spine organized the first Women in Spine Networking Event at the 2019 Global Spine Congress in Toronto, to celebrate extraordinary women in spine from around the globe. Find out more.

On December 8, 2018, the AO CMF held its first networking event for female CMF surgeons.


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