The goal of these awards is to increase diversity and equitable access to spine research. To accomplish this objective, this award seeks to assist underrepresented people (see examples below) to attend the 2024 Spine Section Symposium on February 2, 2024 at the ORS Annual Meeting. Specifically, this award will provide financial assistance as well as personal mentoring opportunities for each awardee. Applicants that have not attended an ORS Spine Section Symposium or ORS Annual Meeting and likely would not be able to attend without this award are particularly encouraged to apply.

Award Details

  • $500 award to offset registration, travel and accommodation for attending the 2024 ORS Spine Section Symposium and ORS Annual Meeting in Long Beach, CA.
  • Open to both ORS members and non-members.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Spine researchers from an underrepresented population (see examples below).
  • Lack of financial ability to attend conference without award.
  • Trainee at any level (undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, residents).
  • Commitment to attend both the ORS Spine Section Symposium to be held on Feb 2, 2024, and the ORS Annual Meeting, if receiving an award.

Examples of underrepresented populations in spine research (not exclusive list): African/Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, people with disabilities, veterans, first generation college students, low socioeconomic status.

How to Apply

Single, combined PDF containing 3 items:

  1. Narrative (250 words max) from applicant that describes:
    • Under-represented eligibility status. NIH definitions of underrepresented groups (also see examples below) are: A. Individuals who are from racially/ethnically underrepresented; groups B. Individuals with disabilities; C. Individuals with disadvantaged backgrounds) following the definition in the following NIH PA-21-071.
    • Statement as to whether you are a US citizen, non-citizen US national, US lawful permanent resident, or citizen/resident of another country.
    • Commitment to attend both the ORS Spine Section Symposium to be held on Feb 2, 2024, and the ORS Annual Meeting.
    • Short statement describing an obstacle (research or other) that has limited your accessibility to research opportunities.
    • Short statement describing how attendance at the meeting will help you reach your academic and professional goals.
  1. Applicant CV
  1. Letter of support from institution (can be from your department chair or research advisor) attesting to trainee status and committing to additional financial support for you to attend (as necessary).


Zakiy Alfikri, University of Pittsburgh
Maria Astudillo Potes, Mayo Clinic
David Barreto, University of Pennsylvania
Leonardo Campos, Columbia University
Daniel Garcia, Rutgers University
Christian Gonzalez, Washington University at St. Louis
Mikkael Jozsef Lamoca, Rochester Institute of Technology
Tarek Klaylat, McGill University
Shea Middleton, Duke University
Duby Okonkwo, Vanderbilt University
Andy Ton, University of Southern California