Women are entering medical and graduate schools more now than in prior years, but only 12 percent of the academic faculty in orthopedics and only seven percent of practicing orthopedic surgeons are women, according to statistics from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Similarly, just 11 percent of engineering school faculty members are women. Now, Beaumont Health System is initiating a local program to increase those numbers.
Beaumont’s department of Orthopaedic Surgery will be hosting the only Michigan-based Perry Initiative program on Feb. 25 to encourage 36 young women from local high schools to consider a career in orthopedics or engineering. The Perry Initiative program was named in honor of Dr. Jacquelin Perry, the first female orthopedic surgeon to graduate from the residency program at the University of California in San Francisco. Dr. Perry’s academic career has spanned 60 years and she has received numerous honors for her clinical and scholarly work.
Students will be attending from: Detroit Country Day Upper School, Cranbrook Kingswood High School, Birmingham Groves High School, Troy High School, Berkley High School, Ferndale High School, Henry Ford High School (Detroit), Southfield Lathrup High School and Troy Athens High School.
Beaumont’s version of the initiative is a one-day, hands-on event designed to inform and inspire participating students. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Applebaum Surgical Learning Center at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Local orthopedic surgeons and researchers will speak to students about their personal experiences and will guide them through simulated surgical procedures like suturing, placing metal rods and screws to repair fractures and even repairing a rotator cuff.
“The goal of our program is to encourage 36 local young women to consider future careers in orthopedic surgery,” explains Rachel Rohde, M.D., Beaumont orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgeon and clinical chair of the event. “It can be difficult for young people to see themselves pursuing certain fields if they haven’t met anyone they can relate to who has ‘been there, done that.’ It will be great for these young women to learn about these opportunities from a group of energetic and enthusiastic women who are living them.”
In addition to Dr. Rohde, many other Beaumont-affiliated professional women will be volunteering their time and expertise at the event including three orthopedic surgery residents, three research engineers, one orthopedic surgery fellow and one physician assistant.
Other cities on the nationwide schedule to host Perry Initiative programs in 2012 include: Los Angeles, Kansas City, St. Louis, New York City and Silver Spring, Md.
Founded in 2009 by Jenni Buckley, Ph.D, a mechanical engineer, and Lisa Lattanza, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, the Perry Initiative began in San Francisco. It has since expanded nationally and incorporated as a nonprofit organization