AO Access Mentorship Program set for official launch in 2023

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Following a successful three-month pilot that began in late 2021, and ended in mid-2022, the new six-month AO Access Mentorship Program is now poised for full, official launch in 2023, offering both mentees and mentors a path to learning, leadership, and growth.

“The pilot was very successful. Pilot participants were selected based on an open call. We then used a software so that the applications were matched anonymously based on non-clinical competencies and their self-identified gaps. We had a very high response rate and an aim of 75 mentor/mentee pairs,” said Tatjana Topalovic, AO Senior Program Manager Diversity, Inclusion and Mentorship. “Now, we are preparing for the full program launch in late 2022, early 2023.”

To take part in the full program, prospective mentors and mentees must complete a series of continuing medical education-accredited modules on the AO learning management system, beginning in the last quarter of 2022. Mentees are expected to complete two of the modules, and mentors are expected to successfully complete four to five modules in order to gain access to the mentorship platform.

“We are hoping that by the first quarter of 2023, we will have 200 people ready to begin the AO Access Mentorship Program—starting with a self-assessment of nonclinical competencies, Lynette Spalding, AO Access Mentorship Task Force member said. “Of the 15 self-assessed non-clinical competencies, participants will be asked to choose five as priorities. Based on these two components, mentors and mentees will be matched.”

The benefits of mentorship are vast for both mentees and mentors, Marinis Pirpiris, AO Access Mentorship Task Force Lead said, noting that AO Access ultimately aims to advance diversity and inclusion across the AO.

“For people who historically haven’t had access to our network, we want to provide that,” he explained. “This program is based on needs and we know that non-clinical competencies are as important to professional development as clinical competence.”

“The modules empower both mentees and mentors, to understand what this formalized software based mentorship is about, so that once they are matched, mentors and mentees can form long lasting relationships to advance their personal and professional development. The program matches based on non-clinical competencies, which research confirms are as import as clinical competence. The program matches mentors and mentees across clinical specialties,” Claudia Medina, AO Access Mentorship Task Force member says, adding, that this approach underscores the AOs global, multispecialty orientation and its mission: promoting excellence in patient care and outcomes in trauma and musculoskeletal disorders, further bolstering access to mentorship across competencies—around the world and across clinical specialties.

“Mentees can expect to grow their knowledge, gain new non-clinical skills, expand their networks, and drive the AO forward through this process based on the values of diversity and inclusion,” David Hamlar, AO Access Mentorship Task Force members says. “Mentors can expect to facilitate mentees to come up with and drive forward their own goals. Mentors need to invest time, of course, but they stand to learn as much as the mentees who—for example—demand more diverse and inclusive attitudes.”

Learn more about the AO Access Mentorship Program here and stay tuned for more details about the official launch of the online learning modules which will be your point of entry to the mentorship program.