Published 12/31/2023

AAOS Announces 2024 IDEA Grant Recipients to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in Orthopaedics

AAOS recently announced 17 recipients of the 2024 AAOS IDEA Grant Program®, which aims to reduce longstanding disparities in orthopaedics and create measurable change. The recipients were selected based on the merits of their initiatives to eliminate bias and discrimination or advance diversity, equity, and/or inclusion (DEI) within the orthopaedic specialty.

The AAOS IDEA Grant Program funds educational, community, or outreach projects or programs that will create opportunities for a diverse pipeline of individuals entering orthopaedics; 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 but are not limited to gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic and veteran status, and disability.

“The response to the IDEA Grant Program has been overwhelming and underscores the urgent demand for funding to bolster initiatives that help bridge the diversity, equity, and access gap that has persisted in orthopaedics for decades,” said AAOS Diversity Advisory Board Chair Anthony E. Johnson, MD, FAAOS. “Our 2023 grant recipients have already made significant strides in paving the way for future generations of orthopaedic surgeons, and the 2024 recipients were chosen for their innovative ideas aimed at tackling the current gaps in our field.”

Program funds are allocated among four tracks—touchpoints, retention, community retention/support, and academic retention/support—each with a different DEI focus and target recipient. Funding from Stryker, one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, helped extend the reach of this grant program. Some of the 2024 awardees include recipients from Howard University Orthopaedics, the only orthopaedic program in the nation directly associated with a historically Black university; PrideOrtho, a community of proactive LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer [or questioning]) individuals and their allies in orthopaedics; and Wake Forest University School of Medicine, which seeks to broaden the national exposure and reputation of individuals from groups underrepresented in medicine.

“The Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute is greatly appreciative for the initial round of funding from AAOS to create ODySSEY in Orthopaedics (Orthopaedic DiversitY Speaker Series Educating Youth in Orthopaedics),” said Holly Pilson, MD, FAAOS, FAOA, associate professor of orthopaedics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “This initiative is a tiered strategy aimed to improve early orthopaedic exposure, boost the advancement and national reputation of early- to mid-career academic orthopaedic surgeons from diverse backgrounds, and introduce orthopaedic faculty and trainees to a series of diverse speakers. We are fortunate to have been selected for re-funding in 2024 and look forward to building opportunities for regional and national exposure for underrepresented early-career orthopaedic surgeons and planting seeds of inspiration in the minds of our local youth to consider joining our great specialty.”

2024 IDEA Grant recipients
Track 1—Touchpoints: Grants are designed to support single-event programs that promote DEI initiatives in orthopaedics. These funds may be used to expand opportunities for traditional or established pathway programs that attract diverse medical students and residents to orthopaedics.

  • American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons
  • Georgia Orthopaedic Society Foundation
  • Howard University
  • Nth Dimensions
  • Pride Ortho (two grants)
  • Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society
  • Texas Orthopaedic Association
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri

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.

  • Medical Student Orthopaedic Society
  • Nth Dimensions
  • Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic Foundation
  • Perry Initiative
  • Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society
  • Washington University, St. Louis

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.

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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.

  • University of Miami Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (two grants)
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Wake Forest

To view the list of the 2024 grant recipients and the respective funding awarded to each or to review the evaluation criteria and general application terms, visit aaos.org/IDEA. Information about the 2025 grant cycle application period will be announced in the spring.