Field of Orthopedic Surgery Found Lacking in Diversity

Composition of work force differs from other specialties

FRIDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The field of orthopedic surgery is less diverse than other specialties, employing fewer minorities and the lowest percentage of women, according to research published in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Charles S. Day, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of diversity in the field of orthopedics compared with diversity in other surgical and non-surgical fields. Public registries were examined to determine the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of orthopedic residents and faculty in the United States; these diversity data were compared to those of five other specialties.

During 2006, the number of African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian-Americans, and women entering orthopedic residencies declined from previous years. Non-whites were found in lower percentages among orthopedic faculty than among residents, and proportionately fewer women and Asian-Americans were found among full professors than among faculty. Compared to general surgery residents and neurological surgeons, the researchers found that African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos were underrepresented, and there were fewer females in orthopedic surgery residencies.

"Providing more overall exposure to musculoskeletal medicine at the medical school level may improve the interest and competitiveness of minority and female medical students in orthopedics, as medical schools with required courses in musculoskeletal medicine have been shown to produce greater interest among minority and female students in orthopedics than schools without required courses," the authors write.

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Lindsey Marcellin

Lindsey Marcellin

Published on October 22, 2010

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