August 2000 Bulletin

Letters

Write to The Editor, AAOS Bulletin, 6300 North River Road, Rosemont, Ill. 60018-4262

Diversity

I am writing in response to the article "Road to diversity tough, but possible: Chairmen tell how they’re changing orthopaedics" that appeared in the AAOS Bulletin, June 2000.

Perhaps our program was part of the 15 percent that did not turn in the survey at the time of the OITE’s last fall, but I just wanted to let you know that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is quite diverse. Dr. Freddie H. Fu has created a diverse program in the few years he has been chairman of the program.

Check out our web site: www.orthonet.upmc.edu to see a picture of the current residents and fellows.

There are six women in the program of 42 residents. We have 14 minorities represented (Asian, Latino and African-American). For such a large program, we are proud to boast 14 percent women (almost twice as much as the national average of 7.8 percent, according to your article), and 33 percent minority residents (still above the national average).

So, given the numbers in the article, we have 6/2341 women (0.26 percent women), and 14/2341 minorities (0.6 percent minorities), and 17/2341 female and/or minority (0.73 percent female and/or minority).

Mi Lee, MD
(Asian) (Female)
Orthopaedic Resident
UPMC Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery

I am writing in response to the article entitled "Road to Diversity tough, but possible" (Bulletin, June 2000). I was disturbed to read that the paucity of women and minorities in orthopaedics is attributed, at least in part, to the poor quality of the applicant pool. The women I met on the interview trail when applying for a position in 1999 (at many of the programs mentioned in your article) were as distinguished a group of candidates as their male counterpart. The vast majority was AOA, graduated at the top of their medical school class and scored above 90 percent on standardized boards. In addition, they had all made significant contributions to research and had the personal qualities necessary to make outstanding residents. We all matched at the country’s top medical centers, including the Mayo Clinic, UCSF, University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania.

Female medical students are unlikely to apply for positions in orthopaedics not because they are not "aggressive applicants," but because they have encountered few role models in the field. I can name only a handful of programs that include female faculty in their ranks. This is not as important while conducting resident interviews as it is during the third year of medical school, when students rotate through various specialties in search of a perfect match. Rather than lowering admission standards, programs should focus on recruitment at the medical school level, encouraging female and minority students to take more unusual paths.

Tamara Rozenthal, MD
Philadelphia, Pa

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