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Medical students visited the Orthopaedic Learning Center and received a lesson from Pat Cichlar, RN.

AAOS Now

Published 8/1/2011
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Peter Pollack

Targeting the medical student

Internship program aims to increase diversity in orthopaedics

Census data prove it: the United States is becoming more diverse. According to 2010 census data, more than half of the growth in the total U.S. population between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase in the Hispanic population. The proportion of individuals who identified themselves as “non-Hispanic White alone” declined from 69 percent to 64 percent. The Black or African-American alone population represents 13 percent of the total population. And women—at 50.2 percent of the population—are in the majority.

But those figures certainly aren’t mirrored in orthopaedic census data. The AAOS 2010 census found that more than 88 percent of responding orthopaedists identified themselves as Caucasian, while less than 2 percent are either Hispanic or African American. Just 7 percent of all orthopaedic surgeons are women.

For the past 6 years, the Orthopaedic Summer Internship (OSI) program has been working to increase diversity in orthopaedics by attracting female and minority medical students to the field. It started with Bonnie Simpson Mason, MD, founder of Nth Dimensions Educational Solutions, Inc.—a nonprofit educational organization created to address healthcare disparities, improve cultural competency, and increase access to health care.

The program targets first-year female and minority medical students who are enrolled in mentoring programs sponsored by the AAOS, the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society, and the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society.

In 2010, AAOS began partnering with Nth Dimensions to increase program participation and expand educational opportunities. The organizations pool their resources to provide interns with an enriched program of activities, opportunities, and mentorships. With AAOS participation, the number of available intern positions has increased from 11 to 20.

The AAOS also sees the OSI program as an opportunity to increase awareness of the Academy and its Diversity Advisory Board and to generate interest in Academy programs and resources.

Match preparation
The OSI curriculum is designed to help participants compete and successfully match in an orthopaedic residency program. The 8-week program gives medical students the opportunity to work side-by-side with experienced orthopaedic surgeon preceptors. Over the term, the students shadow their preceptors in a variety of clinical and academic activities. Based on orthopaedic research conducted with their preceptors, each student eventually prepares and defends a poster presentation at a national medical meeting. In addition, the students are given the opportunity to attend the AAOS Annual Meeting the following spring.

In the past, Nth Dimensions had conducted a 2- or 3-hour orientation session via conference call with participating medical students and preceptors. When AAOS joined with Nth Dimensions to expand the OSI program, that meeting became an on-site orientation at the AAOS headquarters in Rosemont, Ill. The new format allows for an increased level of engagement and interaction by medical students, speakers, and guests.

The AAOS and Nth Dimensions hope to see an annual increase in the number of students who apply to the OSI, as well as an increase in the diversity of students who interview and successfully match with an orthopaedic residency program at the end of medical school.

Peter Pollack is a staff writer for AAOS Now. He can be reached at ppollack@aaos.org

The 2011 Orthopaedic Summer Internship
Participants in the 2011 Orthopaedic Summer Internship met each other and their preceptors on May 31, 2011, as part of a 9-hour orientation session held at AAOS headquarters. Speaking at the session were representatives from Nth Dimensions, AAOS, and the orthopaedics industry. The 2011 orthopaedic summer interns and their preceptors are:

  • Richard Abitria—Felasfa M. Wodajo, MD; Robert Hymes, MD
  • Osemelu Aburime—Bryan E. Little, MD
  • Elyse Brinkman—Mary I. O’Connor, MD
  • Isaiah Brown—Eric W. Carson, MD
  • Shaleak Brown—Anthony M. Harris, MD
  • Quentin Bolton—Jeffrey M. Kerina, MD
  • Vishwanath Chegireddy—Joel L. Boyd, MD
  • Shannon Clemons—Richard E. Grant, MD
  • Gabrielle Daniel—George V. Russell Jr, MD
  • Emmanuel Ekanem—Melvyn A. Harrington Jr, MD
  • Clare Griffis—Laura L. Tosi, MD
  • Kristen K. Goulbourne—William T. Long, MD
  • Anna King—Timothy S. Johnson, MD; David C. Johnson, MD
  • Jarrod Matthei—Marc E. Rankin, MD
  • Ashlley McNerlin—Valerae O. Lewis, MD; Robert L. Satcher Jr, MD
  • Thomas Nguyen—Michael E. Trice, MD
  • Maria Vanushkna—Charles L. Nelson, MD
  • Ashley Vaughn—Daryl G. Dykes, MD
  • Wei Wei Wu—Michael L. Parks, MD
  • Andres Zorrilla—Clarence L. Shields Jr, MD