Mentoring the Next Generation of Female Orthopaedic Surgeons

On December 13-14, 2013, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center and The Perry Initiative, a mentoring program for high school, college, and medical students interested in orthopaedics and engineering, partnered for a two-day symposium at the The New York Simulation Center for the Health Sciences, located within Bellevue Hospital. Sixty female high school and medical school students attended the event.

“The orthopaedic surgery and engineering fields have traditionally not attracted young women," explains speaker Dr. Claudette Lajam of the Department’s Adult Reconstructive Surgery Division. In fact, women constitute only 12 percent of the academic faculty in orthopedics in the United States and 7 percent of practicing orthopaedists, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Only 11 percent of the faculty at engineering schools are women, with that percentage being lower for mechanical engineering.

"Our Department is committed to increasing the diversity in our field by helping women not only succeed in these fields but become leaders,” Dr. Lajam says. “By bringing the Perry Initiative to NYU Langone, we are honoring the legacy of Dr. Jacquelin Perry, who was a mentor to countless women and men in the orthopaedic field throughout her career.”

In addition to Dr. Lajam, the program featured faculty speakers Dr. Toni McLaurin of the Trauma Surgery Division and Dr. Donna Phillips of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery Division. Dr. Rhonda G. Acholonu, Associate Dean for Diversity & Academic Affairs in the Office of Diversity Affairs, delivered a lecture on women in leadership during the program as well.

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