How the AO can take advantage of diversity to enhance its cultural journey

Dismantling inequality

Access—diversity, inclusion and mentorship


Workplace and organizational diversity are vital for the AO's growth, sustainability, and innovation. Please join us for a webinar featuring academic diversity and inclusion leader David J Brown, MD, in academic diversity and inclusion and learn how the AO can take advantage of diversity to enhance its cultural journey.

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


The second webinar of this series is scheduled for August 11, 2020, from 15:00–16:15 Central European Summer Time (CEST). 

Learning objectives

At the end of this presentation the learner will be able to:

  1. Understand the advantages of intentional efforts to cultivate diverse teams that achieve excellence.
  2. Identify policies, practices and procedures that inhibit development of the diversity pipeline and develop opportunities to enhance flow toward leadership.
  3. Explain how biases, microaggressions, and systemic racism inhibit people from thriving.


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)

“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

AO diversity statement

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. Find out more about diversity and inclusion at the AO. 


The AO's commitment to be a diverse, and inclusive organization with equal access, opportunity, and progression for all

In 2018, the AO launched the its diversity initiative, initially called the Opportunity Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, to create transparency and awareness, and to assess whether bias and/or barriers exist for entry and/or progression of women and other underrepresented minorities in the AO (eg, as faculty, officers/leaders, and staff). The overall goal was to identify and initiate measures to ensure that the AO is a diverse and inclusive organization with opportunity for all.

The working group over the past 18 months has developed a plan for increasing diversity, equalizing access to opportunity, and building effective mentoring pathways for surgeons, scientists, and AO staff members. A large-scale survey was completed in late 2019 and the working group used the survey results to guide the development of an organizational structure for overseeing the initiative’s next phases.

The working group consists of AO VET’s Dr Amy Kapatkin, an expert who had studied this topic; Dr Clare Allen, who did her graduate work in gender inequality, is a continuing member on the AO VET International Board, and is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about this topic; Dr Matthew Allen, chairperson of the AO VET Research and Development Commission and a member of the AO Program for Education and Excellence in Research (AO PEER) cross-divisional task force; and the AO Education Institute’s Tatjana Topalovic, who brings essential knowledge and passion to managing the initiative.

With its June 24, 2020 approval of the new and visionary Project Access, the AO Foundation Board set the course for the organization’s future, demonstrating the AO’s commitment to addressing existing inequalities to entry and advancement within the AO, and to identifying and overcoming barriers. Project Access will drive these changes through implementation of pro-diversity initiatives that have already been evaluated and shown to be effective in other workplaces; interventions focused on changing people's perceptions of what is normative; and creation of a more inclusive and supportive working environment.

For any questions, please contact