AO CMF Women Surgeon Group and AO Access celebrate International Women's Day across borders

Leveraging gender diversity to cultivate dialogue and advance collaboration across the global AO surgeon community

In collaboration with AO Access , AO CMF Women Surgeons Group celebrated International Women's Day 2021 with an interactive Zoom session promoting cross-gender discussions around highly topical questions of high relevance to all surgeons.

Moderated by Dr Sabine Girod , chair of the AO CMF Community Development Commission and joining from Stanford, California, and Dr Ana Catalina Tobón Trujillo, AO CMF faculty member joining from Medellín, Colombia, the turnout for the event reflected the AO community's international reach, attracting a diverse group of more than 230 participants and featuring 14 faculty members from across the globe. Delighted with the international and gender-balanced turn-out that achieved exactly what was intended, Girod emphasizes that "cultivating allyship and fostering open conversation among all surgeons—irrespective of gender, race or background—are key to driving positive change for everyone.”

Comprising six small group breakout sessions—each with at least one male moderator to provide a balance of perspective—the program addressed some of today's most salient questions, such as how to combat Zoom fatigue, how to be a great leader, and how to achieve work-life balance in the age of COVID-19. The main session was rounded off with an expert panel discussion presenting the event's highlights and identifying key learning points.

Among the event's special guests was AO President Dr Robert McGuire, who is AO Access Steering committee chairperson and a prominent change leader in the quest for diversity, inclusion, and mentorship. "I was pleased to see the degree of interactive participation [...]. It reinforces the ideas that are being put forth by AO Access that to have a strong organization, we must make a concerted effort to have open dialogue on issues that are sometimes uncomfortable and create unconscious bias as related to gender, race, and ethnicity," he said.

Another special guest at the event, Dr Gregorio Sànchez Aniceto, AO CMF International Board chair, said "It was a fantastic experience […] AO CMF is itself an inclusive and diverse organization with surgeons from many different backgrounds striving together for excellence in patient care and outcomes, not just sharing knowledge and skills but also bonding and constructing a great and unique network, a real family whose members share science and research as well as soft skills and humaneness in a relaxed atmosphere with no boundaries, no fear, and with the common goal of becoming better people, better surgeons, and better leaders."