Ramon L. Jimenez, MD, (left) poses with former AAOS President Augusto Sarmiento, MD, the keynote speaker at the ALAS inaugural meeting.


Published 6/1/2008
Jennie McKee

Changing the face of orthopaedics

Ramon L. Jimenez, MD, is dedicated to promoting diversity and cultural competence

“I ask physicians to put themselves in their patients’ shoes,” says Ramon L. Jimenez, MD. “Imagine being in China or Mexico, for example, unable to speak the language, and in pain. You’d be very relieved if someone at a healthcare facility could communicate effectively with you and treat you in a culturally competent manner.”

This ability to empathize with others has made Dr. Jimenez a successful advocate of orthopaedic diversity and cultural competence—defined as awareness of and sensitivity to patients’ cultures, ethnicities, genders, and beliefs that are different from one’s own. As chair of the AAOS Diversity Advisory Board for the past 5 years, Dr. Jimenez helped create dynamic programs and educational materials to make orthopaedics a more diverse specialty and thereby reduce disparities in access to and delivery of health care.

Although no longer chair of the Diversity Advisory Board, Dr. Jimenez isn’t slowing his efforts to promote diversity and culturally competent care. He was recently elected president of the American Association of Latino Orthopaedic Surgeons (ALAS), a group he helped found during the 2007 AAOS Annual Meeting.

Leading by example
“Caucasian males make up 90 percent of the Academy’s membership, with the rest being women and minorities,” he points out. “One of the Diversity Advisory Board’s charges is to increase the diversity of the fellowship, thereby increasing the number of role models for minority medical students and encouraging their pursuit of orthopaedics.”

The following are among the board’s accomplishments under Dr. Jimenez:

  • Introducing the Diversity Award to recognize orthopaedists committed to providing and promoting culturally competent care and eliminating ethnic
  • and gender disparities in orthopaedics
  • Developing a Web site, a medical student recruitment video titled “Follow Your Path,” and a national print and broadcast media tour that promoted the importance of culturally competent care to the public
  • Increasing participation in mentoring and outreach programs that the AAOS coordinates with the J. Robert Gladden Society and the Ruth Jackson Society

“Approximately 450 to 500 mentors and about 200 medical students are involved in the mentoring programs,” says Dr. Jimenez. “These programs are ongoing and very interactive.”

In addition, the AAOS exhibit and outreach event at the Student National Medical Association’s annual conference exemplifies the Academy’s commitment to diversity.

Bringing cultural competency to the forefront
During his term, Dr. Jimenez also focused on increasing cultural competency among Academy members. He helped develop the “Culturally Competent Care” kiosk for the AAOS Annual Meeting, and served as one of the editors of the Culturally Competent Care Guidebook and the accompanying Cultural Competency Challenge CD-ROM (free copies are available at
www.aaos.org/diversity). These tools can help orthopaedists enhance their ability to communicate with patients, which can lead to more accurate diagnoses, increased adherence to treatment regimens, a reduction in healthcare disparities, and decreased medical liability.

“The 90-page guidebook has been very successful,” reports Dr. Jimenez. “Between 4,000 and 5,000 copies of the guidebook and 10,000 copies of the CD-ROM, which contains many contributions from Diversity Advisory Board members, have been distributed.”

Dr. Jimenez also volunteers his time as one of the instructors of the culturally competent care “grand rounds” training seminars that have been held at more than 20 institutions. The program helps orthopaedic residents meet cultural competency licensure and relicensure requirements.

Valerae O. Lewis, MD, a current Diversity Advisory Board member, says that Dr. Jimenez is “very inclusive” and “a true proponent of diversity.”

“His ability to select ad hoc members strengthened the advisory board and brought us new insight and talent,” she says. “In addition, he helped spread the excitement about the advisory board’s projects to a wider audience.”

According to Dr. Jimenez, the Diversity Advisory Board is in good hands with his successor, Richard J. Haynes, MD.

For his part, Dr. Haynes pays homage to his predecessors—Dr. Jimenez and Augustus A. White III, MD, PhD. “The Academy has benefited from the enthusiasm and unwavering commitment of these two leaders,” says Dr. Haynes.

“None of our projects would ever have been completed without the dedicated efforts of the advisory board members and the Academy staff,” says Dr. Jimenez.

Jennie McKee is a staff writer for AAOS Now. She can be reached at mckee@aaos.org

Helping orthopaedic diversity “spread its wings”
Dr. Jimenez is excited about serving as president of the American Association of Latino Orthopaedic Surgeons (ALAS), which was formed through the support of the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society.

Dr. Jimenez and Alberto A. Bolanos, MD, organized the inaugural meeting of ALAS, which attracted 70 attendees and featured former AAOS President Augusto Sarmiento, MD, as keynote speaker. Officers of the group include Dr. Jimenez, president; Jose A. Rodriguez, MD, vice-president; Dr. Bolanos, treasurer; and Raoul P. Rodriguez, MD, secretary.

ALAS has established the following goals:

  • promoting mentoring and collegiality among orthopaedic surgeons interested in Latino communities
  • educating physicians about how to provide culturally competent care to Latino patients
  • reducing healthcare disparities related to orthopaedics

“With the founding of ALAS, it will be easier for people who are interested in culturally competent care to find the resources they need to reach diversity goals,” says Dr. Bolanos.

Membership in ALAS is open to everyone with an interest in the Latino community. Contact Dr. Jimenez at ramon@jimenez.net or Dr. Bolanos at dr.bolanos@orthopedicinstitute.net for more information about ALAS.