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Revisiting the Gender Gap in Orthopaedic Surgery

Investigating the Relationship Between Orthopaedic Surgery Female Faculty and Female Residency Applicants

Munger, Alana M., MD; Heckmann, Nathanael, MD; McKnight, Braden, MD; Dusch, Marie N., MD; Hatch, George F. III, MD; Omid, Reza, MD

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: April 15, 2019 - Volume 27 - Issue 8 - p 295–300
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-17-00686
Research Article

Introduction: Although women now constitute approximately half of all graduating medical students, orthopaedic surgery continues to lag behind in its ability to recruit female applicants. One hypothesis for this discrepancy is the lack of female faculty mentors at academic institutions. The three objectives of this study were the following: (1) to quantify the proportion of female orthopaedic surgery residency applicants, (2) to quantify the proportion of female orthopaedic surgery faculty, and (3) to investigate the relationship between female orthopaedic surgery faculty at an academic institution and the corresponding number of female orthopaedic surgery residency applicants.

Methods: Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges from 2005 to 2014 were used to calculate the number of medical school graduates, the number of orthopaedic surgery residency applicants, and the number of orthopaedic full-time faculty in the United States. Institutions were excluded if they had incomplete data. A Spearman rank correlation was used to assess for a correlation between the 9-year total number of female orthopaedic surgery applicants and the average number of female orthopaedic surgery faculty members.

Results: A total of 101 U.S. medical schools were included in the final analysis. During the period examined, women accounted for 48.7% of medical school graduates, 14.9% of orthopaedic surgery applicants, and 13.2% of full-time orthopaedic surgery faculty. The percentage of female residency applicants increased from 13.91% in 2005 to 2006 to 16.02% in 2013 to 2014 while the percentage of female faculty increased from 12.26% in 2005 to 2006 to 15.79% in 2013 to 2014. No correlation was found between the average number of female orthopaedic surgery faculty at an institution and the total number of female orthopaedic surgery applicants from that institution during the study period examined (Rho, 0.0176; P = 0.5957).

Conclusions: The data presented in this study failed to demonstrate a relationship between the number of female faculty and the number of women who apply into orthopaedic surgery, which highlights the complex nature of this issue. More research is needed to examine factors influencing the recruitment of female medical students.

From the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT (Dr. Munger), and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (Dr. Heckmann, Dr. McKnight, Dr. Dusch, Dr. Hatch, and Dr. Omid).

Correspondence to Dr. Munger: dr.alana.munger@gmail.com

Funding for this study was provided by an educational grant from Arthrex.

Dr. Hatch or an immediate family member is a member of a speakers' bureau or has made paid presentations on behalf of Arthrex and serves as a paid consultant to Arthrex. Dr. Omid or an immediate family member has received royalties from Integra and Medacta and serves as a paid consultant to Integra, Medacta, and Tornier. None of the following authors or any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article: Dr. Munger, Dr. Heckmann, Dr. McKnight, and Dr. Dusch.

© 2019 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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