Minorities and the orthopaedic profession

C E Ayers
Clinical Orthopaedics and related Research 1999, (362): 58-64
Orthopaedic surgery represents a specialty in which applicants are abundant, residency slots are limited, and all candidates presumably are qualified. Orthopaedic residency programs have members of the resident selection committee review medical school performance measures for the purpose of screening candidates to interview and, subsequently, include on their rank order lists for the residency match process. The performance measures universally reviewed include the United States Medical Licensing Examination scores, Alpha Omega Alpha distinction, grade point averages, class rank, personal statements and letters of recommendation. A significant percentage of the residency positions available for orthopaedic training continue to be reserved for candidates who participate in the National Residency Matching Program. Although the selection process is open to any medical student or medical school graduate, the process fails to make any substantive strides in addressing the diminutive representation of certain ethnic and racial minorities within the profession. The intent of this manuscript is to expatiate on the effect various dynamics have on the orthopaedic profession, relative to underrepresented minorities in the profession. Those dynamics comprise (1) the size of the applicant pool; (2) the applicant screening criteria; (3) the underrepresented minority specialty preference; and (4) the perception underrepresented minorities have of orthopaedic surgeons.

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