Opportunity, diversity, and inclusion

At the heart of the AO community

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.

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.


International Women's Day, diversity at the AO

The AO is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment, with gender being one of many diversities that the AO embraces. The AO has taken evidence- and research based steps to gather data on areas where progress is needed. Your feedback and conversations can further drive AO to being more diverse and inclusive in parallel to the AO working on implementing a change in processes, policies and structures. To mark IWD we asked some of our leading surgeons to share their thoughts on what diversity means for the AO.


"I think that International Women’s Day a day to celebrate all the women who took the first steps to be doing things, and being places, where there weren’t women before: in orthopedic surgery, in healthcare, and everywhere in society. It’s also a day to encourage everyone - women, men, girls and boys - to keep making sure there are equal opportunities for everyone to have a voice and be included. That sort of environment will always bring the best to the table." 

Samantha Morello, DVM, Diplomate ACVS, Clinical Associate Professor of Large Animal Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine, USA

“On this IWD we recognize the contributions of women - surgeons, nurses and healthcare professionals - to the development of Orthopaedic Surgery as a specialty. We look forward to a future in which talented individuals - irrespective of background, gender or identity - are able to participate fully in the educational activities of AO, to the betterment of everyone.”

Matthew J Allen MA VetMB PhD MRCVS, Professor of Small Animal Surgery, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.

"As Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, 'Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception.' On this IWD, I encourage AO to continue their efforts of recruiting and advancing women in all aspects of the organization because they are talented and capable."

Amy S Kapatkin DVM, MAS, Dip ACVS, Professor of SA Orthopedic Surgery, University of California- Davis, USA

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.

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.


Latest news: Diversity in the spotlight at OneAO

Every year, AO North America holds the One AO conference, as part of its work to engage with the community, develop through learning, and share the AO spirit. The 2020 event included a session focusing on culture, that included dynamic and nationally recognized expert interactive presentations, group activities, and thought-provoking discussions on healthcare cultures that drive the practice of medicine today. 

Samantha Morello, DVM, Diplomate ACVS, Clinical Associate Professor of Large Animal Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine, USAtook part in that session, and said: "I had the opportunity to present some of the work my colleagues and I have done for the AO Foundation on Opportunity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the OneAO North America Meeting in Phoenix.  This was such a unique event, to come together with orthopedic surgeons from across the US and Canada, human and veterinary, and talk about things that relate to us all as doctors, surgeons, and educators.  There’s no other organization out there like AO, and OneAO was a reminder that, even for a group with a tremendous global reach and so much breadth of expertise, you really just feel like you’re a part of a family. But it was also a chance to consider, how diverse and inclusive are we really? And are there ways we can adapt AO to become more accessible and transparent, and to provide more opportunities to a broader network of people? If we’re going to keep bringing the best people we can into AO and into orthopedic fields, and providing the best education for our trainees and care for our patients, increasing diversity in all the various forms it takes, has to be a part of our path forward."

AO CMF profiles Dr Emily Nyamu

Tackling challenges with compassion and determination in equal measure.

It's time to shine a light

With female surgeons making up as little as five percent of our membership, the gender gap is a real issue.

Trustees Meeting 2019

AO President Robert McGuire highlighted the importance of diversity as an inherent part of the AO identity.

AO Spine networking event

AO Spine organized its first ever Women in Spine Networking Event at the GSC, Toronto, May 2019

We are 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.

Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.