ROSEMONT, Ill. (May 2, 2022)—The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) announced the creation of the AAOS IDEA Grant Program, a multi-year initiative to inspire diversity, equity and access across the field of orthopaedics. With the intention of awarding a minimum of $1 million over the next five years, the program reaffirms the AAOS’ commitment to lead and prompt real, lasting and measurable change.
“The AAOS is committed to helping address decades of inertia surrounding persistent disparities across orthopaedics to better serve our patients,” said AAOS President Felix H. “Buddy” Savoie III, MD, FAAOS. “At an organization level, we have made progress towards our goal of evolving the culture and governance to be more diverse, and we will continue to move the needle forward each year. We look forward to expanding that footprint by creating robust pathways through the AAOS IDEA Grant Program for successive generations to have the support and encouragement to pursue careers within musculoskeletal care.”
The launch of the AAOS IDEA Grant Program comes at a critical time for diversity in orthopaedics. According to AAOS Diversity Advisory Board (DAB) Chair Anthony E. Johnson, MD, FAAOS, orthopaedic surgery lags other medical specialties regarding gender, ethnic and cultural diversity despite recent gains. Research shows that the key lever to ensure progress is to regularly monitor diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) metrics; communicate progress or the lack thereof to decision makers and other key stakeholders, including employees and external entities; and use that data to manage and improve DEI.
“Fostering diversity is one of the AAOS’ strategic goals designed to advance its mission of serving the profession, championing the interests of patients and advancing the highest quality musculoskeletal health,” said Dr. Johnson. “Through the AAOS IDEA Grant program, we are making strides – one step at a time – to fundamentally address the gaps across gender, culture, and ethnicity in our field. It is going to take time to break down barriers, but we believe this program will inspire further action and change.”
The AAOS IDEA Grant Program encompasses a wide net to better fund and support a diverse pipeline of individuals who choose to go into orthopaedics as a profession; foster DEI initiatives for community-based or academic orthopaedic surgeons; and expand the availability of AAOS educational and networking opportunities to diverse students and practicing orthopaedic surgeons. Diversity focus areas of the program include gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, socioeconomic, veteran status and disability. Program funds will be allocated between four tracks, each with a different DEI focus and target recipient. Additional funding from AAOS supporters may be added to extend the reach of the initiative.
- Track 1 – Touchpoints: Grants are designed to support single event programs that promote DEI initiatives in the field of orthopaedic surgery for learners and/or practicing orthopaedic surgeons. These funds may be used on a limited basis to expand programmatic offerings by traditional or established pathway programs.
- Track 2 – Retention: Grants are intended to support organizations, programs and events with a longitudinal focus on recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce in orthopaedic surgery. These funds may be used to support traditional or established pathway programs that attract diverse medical students and residents to orthopaedics.
- Track 3 – Community retention/support: Grants are intended to support programs and events with a focus on retaining and supporting a diverse workforce in orthopaedic surgery in a private, remote setting or outside of an academic institution.
- Track 4 – Academic retention/support: Grants are intended to support programs and events with a focus on retaining and supporting a diverse workforce in orthopaedic surgery within U.S. academic centers.
“We encourage any orthopaedic program in the U.S. to consider applying for these funds which can further mobilize new or current DEI programs and transform the profession to be more inclusive and representative of the patients we serve,” added Dr. Johnson.
Grant applications will remain open now through July 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. CT.
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About the AAOS
With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS is the trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal health. It provides the highest quality, most comprehensive education to help orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals at every career level to best treat patients in their daily practices. The AAOS is the source for information on bone and joint conditions, treatments, and related musculoskeletal health care issues, and it leads the health care discussion on advancing quality.