AORN's DEI Committees

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Perioperative Community

In our commitment to strive for continuous improvement, AORN believes there are opportunities to strengthen the value of diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace and in our association. AORN is dedicated to building a diverse team, fostering an inclusive culture and investing in equity across our organization. We are also committed to incorporating our DEI principles into our work with our members, facilities, industry partners and our community.

Mission: Increase DEI awareness for the board of directors and the nominating committee; increase  the diversity of candidates running for the board of directors and the nominating committee. 

In 2022:

  • AORN Board / National Ballot Diversity: Increased diversity of AORN national candidates from 15.8% in 2021 to 38.9% (+23 points) in 2022.  Diversity on AORN Board remained at 25% in 2022. 
  • DEI Training and Awareness: Conducted training for Board & Nominating Committee in May 2022. 
  • Transparency: The Nominating Committee developed transparent standards on how to be on the national ballot and the President appointed people of color members (29%) to various national committees to maintain awareness of diversity.

Mission: To fulfill the AORN Foundation mission through initiatives representing the community we serve.

  • Scholarships: Academic Scholarships awarded to people of color will meet or exceed membership diversity.
  • Foundation Board of Trustees: Increase diversity on the AORN Foundation Board of Trustees.

In 2022:

  • Barba Edwards Scholarship: 1) Raised $8,554 in 2022; Over $60K raised since inception; 2) Barba Edwards Scholarship highlighted for its impact during Black History Month; 3) Awarded 4 nurses Barba Edwards scholarships (2022-23 school year). To donate visit AORN Foundation Donation and note that you would like your donation to go toward the Barba Edwards Scholarship.
  • Foundation Scholarship & Professional Development Grants: 41% of 2022 Academic Scholarship recipients and 30% of 2022 Expo grant recipients identify as nurses of color.
  • AORN Foundation Board: The AORN Foundation Board of Trustees adopted the following pledge as part of the nomination process - The AORN Foundation pledges to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare. Based on this commitment, we seek out and require 50% racial diversity in the candidate pool for the Board of Trustee nomination process.

Mission: Develop and implement community activities impacting people of color and the LGBTQ+ community, in Denver, AORN's national chapters and at Expo.

In 2022: AORN and staff contributed over 190 volunteer hours and $25,100 in donations which affected more than 1,100 individuals in our communities.

  • Donated laptops and supplies to Kepner Beacon Middle School & Lansing Elementary.
  • Denver Pride 5k Run: 13 staff volunteered at the race to provide race support to 2.4k runners. $1,250 donations.
  • Denver Scholarship Foundation: 4 nursing career events for high school students of color (190); donated scholarship funds (10 ppl). $10k Denver scholarship donation (Blacks / Latinos in nursing)
  • DEI Video Interviews on “Why I became a Periop Nurse,” earmarked to encourage people of color to join the nursing profession.
  • Food Drive: November Food drive impacted 900 lives; Northwest Chicago Chapter used AORN Food Drive Playbook (40 boxes of food, 160 ppl).


  • Membership Diversity: AORN membership continues to reflect HRSA/Census/Community.
  • Membership Diversity Training: Raise DEI awareness and provide training and development resources for members.

In 2022:

  • Since capturing race demographics in June 2020, members of color have increased from 26% in 2020 to 29.8% in 2022.
  • Expo Focus Group: Gained insight from diverse members that indicated the lack of diverse representation was the biggest gap and opportunity.
  • Increasing Diverse Representation: 1) Established suggested benchmarks for diversity of Expo/ORX speakers (race/ethnicity, gender, age); 2) reviewing AORN digital education & Cine-Med videos to ensure diversity of membership represented and 3) met with internal publication teams to ensure DEI representation/alignment.

Mission: AORN is committed to building a diverse workforce and developing leaders and people to achieve their potential. We strive to promote an inclusive culture where all team members feel they are heard, valued, and accepted for their unique strengths and talents – and empowered to impact the lives of our members and the perioperative community.

  • AORN Staff Diversity: Since the launch of AORN’s DEI program in 2020, overall staff diversity has grown by more than 40%.
  • Strengthening Our Core Values and Inclusion: Integrated DEI into AORN’s core values and business operations. Partnered with outside firms to engage employees on DEI and ensure progress.
  • Career Growth and Equitable Opportunities: Standardized the process for career growth and advancement, conducted a Pay Equity Audit, piloted an emerging leader program to increase leadership candidates of color, and launched new learning programs to support employee development.
  • Education and Training: To foster a deeper understanding of other team members and culture, AORN honors diversity months through awareness and education campaigns and conducts regular DEI training with employees.
  • Inclusion and Connection: Conducted listening sessions to engage and connect with staff on racial and social injustices. Launched innovative programs to support employees working in a hybrid / remote work environment (e.g., buddy program during onboarding, regular pulse surveys).

Mission: To bridge any gaps and identify opportunities to ensure LGBTQ+ is represented in AORN's DEI efforts.

In 2022:

  • AORN Pride Month: AORN Staff Listening Session. Collaborated with DEI Community Group in Denver Pride 5k run, which reached 2,400 runners, had 13 AORN volunteers and led to $1,250 in donations to the Center on Colfax.
  • Awareness & Education: Developed LGBTQ+ webinar (500 attended live; about 1,000 views), podcast, clinical CE article and conducted Expo focus group.
  • Scholarships: Initiated two scholarships for LGBTQ+ nursing students.

    Mission: To improve the care, experience and outcomes of each patient as it relates to DEI by providing relevant information, education and resources to the perioperative team.

    In 2022:

    • DEI Position Statement on Health Care Equity and Racial Justice, published in 2022.
    • DEI at Expo: 4 sessions, 3 posters, Unconscious Bias in-booth education (~3,000 people), and 2 focus groups.
    • LGBTQ+ Patients Webinar launched in Q3 (~1,000 views; 500 attendees).
    • Microlearning Modules (Unconscious Bias): interactive e-learning course developed.

    Getting to Know Your LGBTQ+ Patient

    Dr. Julian Sanchez from Moffitt Cancer Center joined AORN for a live webinar to highlight how you can make a positive difference in providing culturally sensitive and safe care to LGBTQ+ patients.
    James L. Cousin II, CPA, MBA, the AORN CFO and Chief Diversity Officer, presents the 2022 year-end highlights of the AORN Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative to the House of Delegates at the 2023 AORN Annual Conference and Expo. Check out our DEI album on Facebook.
    To help Chapters fulfill their Accountability Standards, we've developed a playbook outlining the steps for running a successful food drive campaign for their own community.