Table 1 Medical schools with the highest numbers of Black medical students matching into orthopaedic surgery residency*Schools in bold are on the U.S. News and World Report list of Top Medical Schools for Surgery.
Source: Nsekpong et al., “Where Are All of the Black Applicants? A Cross-sectional Ranking of Medical School Applicant Diversity Based on the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic So­ciety Database.”

AAOS Now

Published 9/2/2021
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Ariel DeMaio

Study Ranks Medical Schools with the Greatest Number of Black Graduates Matched into Orthopaedic Surgery Residencies

The historically Black colleges and universities Howard University and Meharry Medical College have produced the highest number of Black medical students who successfully matched into orthopaedic residency programs, according to an analysis of an academic database. These schools and the other top 20 programs with the greatest pipeline of Black applicants into orthopaedic surgery programs could provide positive models to help other medical schools increase their diversity efforts.

The findings were presented by Tyler Blake Nsekpong, BS, from Duke Orthopaedics, during the Tuesday–Wednesday poster session.

Orthopaedic surgery has been documented as the least diverse surgical subspecialty in medicine, with only 4 percent of orthopaedic surgery residents identifying as Black, according to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Mr. Nsekpong and coauthors noted.

“One theory for this lack of diversity is the small pipeline of Black students applying to orthopaedic programs,” they continued. “However, to date, there are no individual programmatic data that show which medical schools have been most successful at maintaining an open pipeline of Black applicants into orthopaedic surgery programs.”

In this study, the researchers queried the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society (JRGOS) database for the 2019–2020 academic year for all living and deceased orthopaedic surgeons, fellows, and residents who identified as Black or multiracial with Black being one of the included races.

Of the 938 people identified, 672 met the study criteria and had available medical school data. If not already available in the JRGOS database, the name of each medical school was obtained by a search of publicly available data online or by direct communication with the surgeon, fellow, or resident.

From that list, the researchers created a list of the 20 medical schools with the highest number of Black and/or mixed-race medical students who successfully matched into an orthopaedic residency program. Next, they cross-referenced that list with the top 20 medical schools for surgery as ranked by U.S News and World Report for 2020.

As seen in Table 1, the five schools with the highest number of Black students who successfully matched into orthopaedic surgery residencies were:

  • Howard University College of Medicine (n = 105)
  • Meharry Medical College (n = 48)
  • Harvard Medical School (n = 34)
  • University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (n = 20)
  • Morehouse School of Medicine (n = 19)

“Interestingly, both the Meharry Medical College and the Morehouse School of Medicine produced many successful Black applicants to orthopaedic residencies without having a home orthopaedic training program,” the authors noted. They also observed that half of the medical schools they identified were also ranked in the top 20 medical schools by U.S. News and World Report.

As the orthopaedic profession “attempts to improve the racial diversity of its surgeon workforce, these ranking data may help in the identification of orthopaedic residency programs that have successfully created a pipeline for their minority students to successfully match into orthopaedic surgery residencies,” the researchers concluded. This study also did not include information about what factors make these programs successful, which could be adopted by other medical schools.

Mr. Nsekpong’s coauthors of “Where Are All of the Black Applicants? A Cross-sectional Ranking of Medical School Applicant Diversity Based on the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society Database” are Erica Taylor, MD; Bonnie Simpson Mason, MD; William A.J. Ross, MD; Letitia Bradford, MD; Tino Mkorombindo, MBA; Alysia Robertson, MD; Eric Ward Carson, MD; and Jaysson T. Brooks, MD.

Ariel DeMaio is the managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at ademaio@aaos.org.