AO Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative is underway

The importance of diversity and women in orthopedics: challenge or opportunity

FacultyFocus 2-2019

Diverse groups are more creative and effective in problem solving, making an organization more resilient and adaptable, research shows. This yields research and innovation benefits, as well as increased funding opportunities, all of which lead to improved patient health care.


The AO Foundation surgeon leadership supported by the AO team recently initiated the AO Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (ODII). Proposed and led by AOVET and the faculty alignment group, the initiative aims to increase diversity and the number of women in orthopedics.


The kickoff meeting for this initiative clearly highlighted the need and motivation to raise awareness and identify barriers to promoting diversity within the organization.


Based on quantitative data analysis, the AO Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion working group identified a gap in women and minorities holding faculty, governance, and leadership roles within and outside the organization. The kickoff meeting was designed to enable group discussions and generated ideas that could help facilitate a paradigm and cultural shift in the organization and promote diversity. Ideas arising from the breakout session at the kickoff meeting were very helpful in defining the next steps forward. Patients, pet owners, and course participants like to see role models that look like them. Young faculty and participants are more likely to engage in a diverse organization. These factors represent important aspects for future sustainability and success.


The working group, with the support of the AO Foundation, the clinical divisions, and AO Foundation President Bob McGuire, will establish the next steps as the AO actively seeks to create a paradigm shift, increasing diversity and women in orthopedics and approaching diversity on a comprehensive rather than an event-based approach. In the process of seeking to increase diversity and women in orthopedics, the AO continues to collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data.


For questions, suggestions, or interest in joining the extended body of the working group, please contact Tatjana Topalovic at







Reinventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance, Ross, 2011









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