University of Alabama at Birmingham:

22 October 2021

Overcoming perceived barriers such as work / life balance in the field is a key part of recruiting more women into orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic surgery is a medical field made up mainly of men. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons conducts a census of the profession every two years. In every survey since 2012, at least 90 percent of the orthopedic workforce were men.

In 2019, the ministry partnered with the Perry Initiative to organize a Perry UAB Outreach Program, led by Gould. The program is a one-day career exploration for young high school women interested in careers in orthopedic surgery, engineering, or both.

Gould says a total of 36 women – 18 high school and 18 medical students – attended Perry Initiative events and responded to surveys before and after the event. Gould was able to glean key information from the survey data.

Sara Gould, MD, UAB orthopedic surgeon. Gould shares that prior to the Perry initiative, 31 percent of total participants reported knowing a female orthopedic surgeon. The Perry Initiative improved the perceptions of high school and medical students regarding women’s ability to balance work / life, family life, and children during orthopedic residency.

Gould ultimately concluded that the participation of medical students in the events led to a decrease in belief in barriers regarding scheduling, family life, perceptions of an orthopedic surgeon, and perceptions of peers in a setting. health care.

“It is essential to show young women that they can be a part of this field, that there is a place ready for them here at the table, especially while they are in high school, college or faculty. medicine, ”Gould said. “These are formative years as students begin to choose their ultimate career path, and we want more women to see orthopedic surgery as a wonderful choice.”

Gould and Megan Coffin, a medical student who contributed to the research, presented at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons annual meeting, which followed all COVID-19 protocols, in San Diego, California. To read the full research report and its methods, click here.


This press release was produced by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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