The UAB Department of Orthopaedic Surgery celebrated Women in Orthopaedics last month with a community event for local orthopaedic surgeons to learn more about mentorship and participate in open dialogue related to professional development for women in the field of orthopaedic surgery.

Allison Hunter, MDPYG-5 Chief Resident Allison Hunter, M.D., leads a discussion at the UAB orthopaedic surgery women's mentorship event.Hosted by UAB orthopaedic surgeon Sara Gould, M.D., MPH, the event attracted more than 40 women, including undergraduate and medical students, residents, physicians’ assistants and attending physicians from both UAB Medicine and the larger Birmingham community.

“We are proud to offer this valuable mentorship opportunity to local women interested in orthopaedic surgery and advancing their careers,” Gould said.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Chair Steven Theiss, M.D., also attended the event and discussed how providers and administrators can help support women in their practice and professional growth.

The field of orthopaedic surgery lags behind other surgical subspecialties in gender equality. According to a study from the Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, women represent only 10-13 percent of doctors in orthopaedic residencies in the United States and only 4 percent of members in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

"Having this exposure early and seeing other women succeed in such a rewarding field will ideally encourage more women to get involved."

“Opportunities like this are important because they expose medical students to the field of orthopaedics early in their training. Often the specialty goes overlooked for women because of stigmas about the ‘brute’ required to be successful. As a result, students may consider a career in orthopaedics later than their peers which can put them behind in research and mentoring opportunities. Having this exposure early and seeing other women succeed in such a rewarding field will ideally encourage more women to get involved.” said event organizer and UAB Orthopaedic Surgery PGY-5 resident, Allison Hunter, M.D.

This meeting lays the foundation for another upcoming community event for women in surgery, the Perry Initiative’s Medical Student Outreach Program, on Feb. 7, 2020. Hosted by UAB, this free educational program will feature hands-on workshops and lectures from local women surgeons. Register now to attend or email sgould@uabmc.edu for more information.