Opportunity, diversity, and inclusion

At the heart of the AO 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. This entity, "project horizon", 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 in the future 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.


Webinars on diversity and inclusion

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

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

If you were not able to join live, you can watch it on AO videos.

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

Diversity and inclusion webinar: QA summary

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


Current tactics: diversity, inclusion and mentorship

Survey reveals barriers to faculty entry and advancement for women and other underrepresented groups.

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.

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.


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.


Get to know us

The AO's Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) initiative has been working for the last 18 months to develop a plan for increasing diversity, equalizing access to opportunity, and building effective mentoring pathways for the AO community.

Mentorship, which will be an important component of making AO more diverse and inclusive, was incorporated under the umbrella of the ODI initiative in December 2019.

We are:

Amy Kapatkin DVM, MS, DACVS
Professor of Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery, University of California-Davis

Samantha Morello, DVM, DACVS
Associate Professor of Large Animal Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Matthew J Allen VetMB, PhD, MRCVS
Professor of Small Animal Surgery, University of Cambridge

Tatjana Topalovic, MSc
Senior Project Manager, Faculty Development, AO Education Institute, AO Foundation

Find out more

Stay in touch with the latest opportunity, diversity, and inclusion activities from the ODII and across the AO. If you have any questions, please e-mail the diversity, inclusion, and mentorship working group.

Diversity at the AO Davos Courses 2019


The AO Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (ODII) featured on AO TV Live from Davos. In this video, AO ODII working group members share their views on mitigating unconscious bias, coaching and mentoring, and mentoring as one of many channels to support and expand diversity across the AO.

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 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.

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