Diversity plays a central role in the AO's future

The AO is committed to positive change in embracing diversity
AO Access, diversity

AO Foundation President Robert McGuire on the challenges that face an organization with a 60-year history as it recognizes the benefits of embracing the diversity of the AO's 215,000 strong global network of leading healthcare professionals.

Although words are important, actions matter most: Our leadership ought to look more like our members and the patients they serve.

We have created AO Access to be our vehicle to identify, train and support our community now and in the future in order to facilitate these changes.

One of my goals, as your President, has been to evolve the culture and governance of the AO’s boards, committees, and volunteer structure to become more innovative and diverse.

So when I say "diverse", you may ask "what do you mean by that?"

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 who look like them.

Young graduates are more likely to engage with organizations that have people in leadership positionsthat they can relate to, and who can serve as mentors and role models. Both aspects are important for future sustainability and success of the AO.

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 in order to further our mission for superb patient care and outcomes.

We realize there are 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 issues as well as identify and mentor our future leaders.

With AO Access we are developing intervention strategies to improve transparency and enhance opportunities for more diverse representation within the clinical divisions, unit and institutes. Furthermore, we are creating and implementing comprehensive programs, such as the mentorship program, in parallel to webinar and other educational activities. We are achieving these goals working with dedicated task forces focusing on strategic priority areas. AO Access is an opportunity for people dedicated to pursuing these goals can come together and strengthen our organization, which in the end, will improve the care we provide for our patients.