IODA was established in late 2019 by Jennifer Green, Australian Orthopaedic Association (AuOA) Orthopaedic Women’s Link (OWL) Chair. IODA was born of the inspiring efforts of “Vivian” PC Chye, Malaysian Orthopaedic Association (MOA) President, Kristy Weber, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) President, and Anthony “AJ” Johnson, AAOS Diversity Advisory Board Chair, to advance the inclusion of women and under-represented minorities in orthopaedic surgery.
Vivian PC Chye, as the Malaysian Orthopaedic Association (MOA) President 2018-2019, campaigned strongly to promote women in orthopaedics in Asia. A component of her strategy was presenting data from more than 20 Asia Pacific nations on the representation of women in orthopaedics. This project resulted in Vivian PC Chye connecting with Jennifer Green, AuOA OWL Chair and also formed the basis of IODA’s first publication in the Journal of Trauma & Orthopaedics to celebrate the launch of the British Orthopaedic Association Diversity Strategy on International Women’s Day, March 2020.
Kristy Weber, as the AAOS President 2019-2020 was simultaneously promoting diversity and sharing ideas with Vivian PC Chye as their paths crossed at international meetings, setting the stage for a global collaboration. In June 2019, Jennifer Green was invited to attend the American Orthopaedic Association (AmOA) Leadership Meeting to present the AuOA Diversity Strategy to the AmOA Board. It was at the AmOA meeting that the opportunity to meet and observe in action several key US diversity advocates arose including Kristy Weber, Mary O’Connor, Anthony “AJ” Johnson, Matt Schmitz and Jennifer Weiss who became early supporters of the IODA concept.
AJ Johnson as Chair of the AAOS Diversity Advisory Board spoke passionately at the AmOA and with a depth of not only personal experience but evidence-based insights into the challenges and potential solutions for increasing the representation and the inclusion of under-represented minorities in orthopaedic surgery. The US experience indicated that the work of a global diversity advocacy group should not only advocate for women but for all under-represented groups in orthopaedics.
The British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) diversity strategy was being developed concurrently and benefited from collaboration with the AuOA and learnings passed on from the AmOA 2019 diversity symposium. Giles Pattison, Simon Fleming (the first Trainee member of IODA), Caroline Hing and Deborah Eastwood from the UK were all interested in participating in a multi-national advocacy group.
The concept of creating an alliance of orthopaedic surgeons collaborating across national and continental boundaries to advance diversity and inclusion in orthopaedic surgery
was a natural progression.
Li Fellander-Tsai (EFORT Vice President and Swedish OA Past President), Deborah Eastwood (BOA Vice President), Birgitta Ekstrand (Swedish OA President), Laurie Hiemstra (Canadian OA Vice President), Annette Holian (AuOA Vice President), Ian Incoll, (Past President AuOA), Katre Maasalu (Estonian OA President), Chris Morrey (AuOA 2nd Vice President) and Adriaan van Zyl (Past President South African OA) provided great depth of leadership and additional gravitas to IODA. Ian Incoll and Adriaan van Zyl had strongly advocated for gender and cultural diversity in orthopaedics during their presidential terms and also published together on the subject.
Caroline Hing (UK), Laurie Hiemstra (Canada) and Jennifer Green (Australia) were the drivers of IODA’s first invited publication on International Women’s Day 2020 “Diversity: Women in orthopaedic surgery – a perspective from the International Orthopaedic Diversity Alliance” in the Journal of Trauma & Orthopaedics. Contributors included Dafina Bytyqui (Kosovo), Margaret Fok (Hong Kong), Elham Hamdan (Kuwait), Magaly Iñiguez (Chile), Carrie Kollias (Canada/Australia), Philippe Livernaux (France), Violet Lupondo (Tanzania) and Margy Pohl (New Zealand).