Thursday February 22, 1996

One-third female orthopaedists in academia: study

A survey of female orthopaedic surgeons in the United States and Canada found that more than one-third who have completed their orthopaedic training continue to participate in academic orthopaedics.

The findings come from a 200-question survey, prepared by Laura L. Tosi, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics and orthopaedics, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., that was sent to all known women in academic orthopaedics. The results are displayed in Scientific Exhibit S 02.

The survey revealed that 68 percent of female orthopaedic surgeons in academia are working in a university setting full-time, while the remainder are university-affiliated and working in the community.

Dr. Tosi found 57 percent of the women surveyed hold the academic rank of assistant professor, and 19 percent are associate professors. Only 2 percent are full professors and only 8 percent are tenured. Nineteen percent are on a tenure track, but 37 percent are on a nontenure track. A tenure track was not available for 36 percent of the respondents.

The primary interests of the female orthopaedic surgeons responding to the survey are pediatrics, trauma, arthroscopy/sports medicine, and foot and ankle. The respondents believe their best skills are clinical work and teaching.

Less than one-third have been in charge of a residency course or fellowship. About 40 percent have reviewed articles for journals, and 21 percent have been on editorial boards.

Three-quarters of the female orthopaedic surgeons had role models, and more than two-thirds said this was important in helping them choose a career in orthopaedics. Eighty percent of the respondents said their role models were men.

Only about half of the women said they had mentors. Two-thirds of the respondents said they also had served as mentors to others.

Major obstacles in the careers of female orthopaedic surgeons included "lack of protected time for research projects; increasing need to see more patients to support the financial demands of their departments; absence of rewards for clinical practice or the clinician/teacher role; and inadequate mentoring."

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Last modified 27/September/1996