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Closing the ortho gender gap: Event gives female med students a hands-on experience

The gender disparity in the field of orthopedics continues to be one of the largest in the medical profession, despite efforts to boost the number of women in the field.

To help change that, University Orthopedics providers participated in a Perry Initiative event at the Warren Alpert Medical School in Providence earlier this month where some faculty and trainees taught female first- and second-year medical students about orthopedics.

“We had more than 25 students participate in the event, which is a tremendous number,” said University Orthopedics hand surgeon Vanessa Lund, MD. “The best way to attract women into orthopedics is to give them opportunities where they not only learn about the field but also get some hands-on experience.”

During the event, several providers spoke to the students about various topics, including orthopedics as a career for Women; attaining a work/life balance; the Pathway to becoming an orthopedic surgeon; and orthopedic subspecialties and fellowships. Participants also got a chance to try their hand with some tools, practicing orthopedic procedures on sawbones.

It’s not the first time University Orthopedics has worked with The Perry Initiative — an organization dedicated to building a pipeline for women in engineering and medicine. Dr. Lund and several other UOI clinicians also brought the Initiative’s Ortho In Action program to the The Lincoln School. During the 8-week program, high school girls learned about the field and also got to practice certain skills.